#56 Ottawa Senatorsvs.#55 Pittsburgh Penguins
Written by Valdis Pans
Pittsburgh Penguins (59-25-8-5) vs. Ottawa Senators (54-32-7-4)
When: 8:00 PM ET, Friday, May 19, 2017
Where: Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario
Lines: Pittsburgh -110 / Ottawa +100
The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to get back on track in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final after trailing the series 2-1 against the Ottawa Senators following the first three contests…
Once again scoring just one goal for the third outing in a row, the Pittsburgh Penguins (59-25-13) found themselves humiliated in front of a sell-out crowd at Canadian Tire Centre on Wednesday, losing 5-1 to the hosting Ottawa Senators in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final. Playing without the injured Patric Hornqvist, Bryan Rust and Justin Schultz, the Penguins dressed seven defensemen. But that hardly made the job in their own any zone easier for the visitors, who conceded four goals in the first period alone. Sidney Crosby (54 markers, 152 points in 138 post-season fixtures) netted Pittsburgh’s solitary strike during the man-advantage for his first point of the series and his first snipe in the past eight games.
Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who has posted a 62-51 career playoff total with a 2.65 GAA and a .908 save percentage, allowed four goals on just nine shots, taking his ongoing post-season tally to 9-6 with a 2.56 GAA, a .924 save percentage and two shutouts. Matt Murray, who helped the Penguins lift the Stanley Cup last year with a 15-6 playoff performance on top of a 2.08 GAA, a .923 save percentage and one shutout, made 19 saves in relief. The Penguins have dropped to the 2nd place in most goals netted per outing during the current playoffs (2.93), ranking 8th in most goals allowed on average (2.53). They are 6th in power play with a 19.1% success rate (9-for-47) and 10th in penalty kill with 83.3% proficiency (35-for-42).
The Ottawa Senators (54-32-11), who were coming into Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final, having won eight of their nine playoff triumphs this season by a single goal difference, have sometimes been called too defensively cautious. They did, however, show offensive masterclass against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Canadian Tire Centre on Wednesday, grabbing their first four-goal win since Dec. 18. The 5-1 victory saw the Sens score four consecutive goals in the opening frame, including three in a span of 2:18 minutes, setting a franchise post-season record for the fastest trio of markers. The game’s opening goal by Mike Hoffman (6 snipes, 12 points in 21 post-season outings), who netted just 48 seconds into the contest, meanwhile, was the 3rd fastest tally in Ottawa’s playoff history.
Marc Methot (3 goals, 9 points in 34 post-season matchups), Derick Brassard (22 goals, 55 points in 74 playoff appearances) and Zack Smith (2 goals, 9 points in 41 post-season contributions) rounded off the scoring in the first period. Kyle Turris (13 goals, 25 points in 42 playoff contests) got on the score-sheet in the second, while Bobby Ryan (17 goals, 30 points in 47 post-season games) registered two assists, taking his current playoff tally to career-high 13 points (5 snipes, 8 helpers). The Senators won 65% of faceoffs, but went 0-for-4 on power play, taking their recent man-advantage misadventures to 0-for-21. Goalie Craig Anderson, who is 22-19 in his post-season career with a 2.29 GAA and a .930 save percentage, made 25 saves and has now gone 10-5 for the current playoff term with a 2.20 GAA, a .923 save percentage and one shutout. The Senators, meanwhile are 7th in most goals scored per outing (2.73), 6th in least goals conceded on average (2.40), 3rd worst in power play with a 12.5% turnaround (6-for-48) and 4th best in penalty kill with 88.0% efficiency (44-for-50).
It is unclear, which goalie the Penguins will stick with for Game 4, but either way the current Stanley Cup champions shouldn’t allow a repetition of the horror of the previous contest’s first period. The Pens haven’t been able to score more than one goal in a game against Ottawa during the series so far. And while the Sens have allowed 19 markers in their seven home outings in this year’s playoffs (2.71 per game), they still have given up just five goals in their last four matchups (1.25 per contest)…
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Valdis got his first ever article published when he was 13, and has rarely stopped. He has worked for FHM, MTV Baltics and has done loads of freelance (from columns for Cosmopolitan magazine to helping with organization of Macy Gray’s shows in the Northern Europe). Speaks five different languages, loves pizza, American Horror Story and pipe organ music, and knows European soccer better than dates of his family members’ birthdays. Is an avid fan of ice-hockey too. He is a Latvian after all...