Desperate Ottawa tries to avoid elimination by Penguins
- Author: Julie Sanders May 24, 2017,
May 24, 2017, 9:14
Blueliner Olli Maatta took the charge for the Pens scoring his first career playoff goal in the game 4 while working off of a rush play with just 46 seconds left in the first period to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead.
On the first shot he faced, Scott Wilson snuck one through Anderson's wickets from behind the goal line.
The Penguins, who won the Stanley Cup last season, can clinch a return trip to the final as soon as Tuesday, when Ottawa hosts Game 6.
Pittsburgh is 4-2 SU in its last six games.
Maatta opened with scoring 8:14 into the game and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby followed with a power-play goal just 3:49 later. They can simply hang back, play in their own zone and focus on slowing the Penguins while waiting to pounce on any mistake.
Craig Anderson made 25 stops in the Senators' net.
Maybe that's why I'm not the Penguins' head coach and Mike Sullivan is.
In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals, the Ottawa Senators came out unrelentingly, blanking the Pittsburgh Penguins, sending the defending Stanley Cup champions' goalie to the bench and stealing a series lead in commanding fashion. In the second period of an elimination game the Penguins were rolling over the Senators, and then Malkin shrugged off Smith and scored a goal that the CBC's Jim Hughson described as "Malkin, from Malkin and Malkin". He survived some early pressure by Ottawa - including stopping a good chance by Mike Hoffman and two Viktor Stalberg follow-ups from the doorstep less than two minutes in - and prevented the Senators from jumping out to a first-period lead as they did in Game 3. Five more and the 2007 record of 51 one-goal games will fall.
The first period Tuesday did not include a four-goal outburst like Game 5, but the Penguins were mostly solid, creating offense from deep in the zone, something they lacked in the first three games of the series. "He played well, I've got to give him credit, but I know we've got better".
"I think Anderson was the reason that they got this one, he played big for them", said Murray.
Where we saw this as an elimination game, Boucher saw it as a great opportunity for Ottawa to push the Penguins to a deciding seventh game just as his Tampa Bay Lightning did to them in the first round of the 2011 playoffs. They also played four games without defenseman Trevor Daley, who sustained a lower-body injury in Game 6 of the second round against the Washington Capitals, missed four games and returned for Game 3 of the conference final May 17. "In a month of Sundays he couldn't get a real puck past me".
Murray was making his second start after missing most of the postseason because of injury.
Central to their woes is a power play that is 0-29 over the last 10 games.
Guy Boucher teased us with a potential major lineup change by having Colin White take the warm-up in game five before choosing to roll with seven defencemen.
The 21st overall pick in the 2015 draft, White has played only two National Hockey League regular season games in his career - the first of which came on April 3. He was able to tip a Daley shot from the top of the circle past Anderson on the stick side. They can do it again here in Ottawa.
To wonder about the freakish coaching decision to take goaltender Craig Anderson out of the game, then then throw him back in before he yielded his worst goal of the post-season? Carter Rowney had three assists on a day flawless for the Penguins to pile up the points.
Burrows is obviously buoyed by getting a two-year, U.S. $5-million contract extension from the Senators, who had to part with prime prospect Jonathan Dahlen to complete the swap.