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Penguins Edge Sens 1-0; Even Series – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Penguins Edge Sens 1-0; Even Series

In a taut, white-knuckle thriller played before an anxious overflow crowd of 18,610 at PPG Paints Arena, the Penguins overcame injuries and adversity to edge Ottawa, 1-0, and even the Eastern Conference Final matchup at one game apiece.

It was playoff hockey at its finest as the Pens, backs to the wall, authored an effort worthy of defending Stanley Cup champions.

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They won despite a heaping dose of early misfortune. Swooping in from his left defense position, Ottawa hammer Dion Phaneuf caught Bryan Rust with his head down five minutes in and lowered the boom. Clearly dazed, “Rusty” did not return.

At 9:30 Mike Hoffman gave Justin Schultz a shove deep in the Penguins’ zone. The ace defender tumbled awkwardly into the end boards and appeared to injure his right arm or shoulder. Schultz, too, was finished for the night.

In the immortal words of spinach-munching Popeye the Sailor, “That’s all I can stands, and I can’t stands no more.”

The Pens promptly lashed out at the Senators as if they were a collection of modern-day Blutos menacing Swee’Pea. Leading the counterassault were crash-and-bangers Scott Wilson and Carter Rowney, who made it their personal mission to thump any foe within reach. The duo delivered 17 of the Pens’ 50 hits on the night.

Wilson was particularly fierce, plowing into four Senators on a single even-strength shift midway through the contest.

The fourth-liners weren’t the only ones to show some pluck. The undermanned defense, paced by veteran Ron Hainsey, joined the attack with surprising fervor (10 shots on goal) while shielding Marc-Andre Fleury to the tune of a measly 35 shot attempts against.

Popeye couldn’t have done a better job of protecting his ‘goil,’ Olive Oyl.

Following a so-so first period the locals gradually seized control, outshooting the Sens 21-13 over the final two periods. During a particularly dominant stretch beginning late in the second period and lasting well into the third, they held the visitors without a shot on goal for nearly 19 minutes.

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Quite a change for Fleury, who’s used to seeing tons of rubber.

“I just tried to stay loose,” explained the Pens’ goalie, who posted his 10th career shutout and second in three games. “I tried to talk to the guys when they came by and tried to keep my head into it. I always expected (Ottawa) to come with a push at the end, especially after the goal there.”

The tally “Flower” referred to came off the candy-striped stick of Phil Kessel, who only moments earlier had been caught on camera venting his considerable frustration on the Pens’ bench.

When asked what his linemate said, Chris Kunitz shook his head and grinned.

“I don’t pay attention that much,” he said. “Phil is always yelling.”

Mike Sullivan elaborated.

“Phil is an emotional guy, so when he comes back to the bench, he wants a pass, doesn’t get it, he lets a guy know,” the Pens’ coach said. “I don’t have a problem with that. …It tells me he’s invested—I love that about the guy.”

Near the 13-minute mark of the final period, No. 81 got his wish. Taking a pretty feed from Evgeni Malkin in stride just inside the Senators’ blue line, he ripped a shot off the leg of Jean-Gabriel Pageau. In a flash, the fiery winger pounced on the loose rubber and reloaded. His second attempt found the net, whistling past Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson low to the glove side for the game’s lone goal.

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As he’d anticipated, Fleury had to be sharp late in order to preserve the victory. With the game clock ticking down to 30 seconds, Flower made a seeing-eye save through traffic on a Kyle Turris blast from the point, then sprawled on his belly to deny Hoffman and poke the rebound from harm’s way.

A fitting end to a great night of hockey, especially for Penguins fans.

Puckpourri

The Penguins outshot Ottawa, 29-23, and held a sizeable advantage in hits (50-36) and faceoffs (37-23).

Carl Hagelin replaced Patric Hornqvist, who sat out after participating in pre-game warmups. “Hags” registered two shots on goal, two hits and two blocked shots while flashing his old HBK form.

Following Rust’s injury, Sullivan reunited Conor Sheary with Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel. “Sid and the Kids” combined for six shots on goal, including three by Sheary.

Brian Dumoulin led the Pens with 26:08 of ice time. Fellow defenseman Chad Ruhwedel played a strong game, recording seven hits and four shots on goal. Olli Maatta picked up the second assist on Kessel’s game-winner and saw action on the top power-play unit.

No word yet on the exact nature or severity of the injuries to Hornqvist, Rust and Schultz.

*Be sure to check out Rick Buker’s books,
 
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27 Comments

  1. May 17, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    defensive parings at practice today:
    Dumoulin-Hainsey
    Maatta-Daley
    Cole-Ruhwedel
    Streit-Gaunce

    • May 17, 2017 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      There is a report pens may go 7 D. Maybe they were listening to the Rick’s. Streit is supposedly in the lineup. If Streit ends up playing offense then you guys are some sort of hockey guru’s.

      I have commented that Daley’s shot looks really bad probably an upper body injury. Streit on the Powerplay, Daley regular defense? Should be interesting.

      Just thought of something even more interesting. Could the Pens throw 3 defense out there with one on offense, not saying which one just to throw off the trap?

      • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
        May 17, 2017 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        Has Streit ever played up on the wing?

        • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
          May 17, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

          Hey Other Rick,

          I think Streit’s played center. I’m not sure about wing.

          Rick

          • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
            May 17, 2017 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

            Then the Pens could use him as a utility player

  2. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    May 17, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Okay,

    If Schultz can’t play tonight, and Letang and Daley on the shelf already, who do you play? Who quarterbacks the PP? Do you let Maatta continue in that role? Or do you dress Streit and go conservatively with the experienced guy QB the PP?

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      May 17, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Hey Other Rick,

      Given our other options (Gaunce, Pouliot or Warsofsky), I’d dress Streit and let him quarterback the power play. He’s actually a very good one, and he distributes the puck very well.

      Having said that, I was not at all unhappy with Maatta’s work from the point in Game 2. He sees the ice well, generally makes good decisions with the puck, and makes nice, crisp passes.

      My lingering worry about Olli? Even though his mobility has improved to a degree, he’s still vulnerable to being trapped when forced to turn. His first strides still aren’t that good.

      Rick

      • May 17, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        Rick, Funny you should say that about Maatta, I was watching him last game once again because friends were saying he was slow again because of the Ryan goal. I think you’ve completely nailed it on the head! He isn’t a slow skater as much as he is slow out of the starting gate. That being said, he would be a tough choice as PP point guy, especially with Ottawa being really good scoring PK goals.

        I thought Maatta moved the puck fine, and would do better with more time. He does have a great shot that for some reason he stopped using.

        Also, I have no idea what Streit’s speed is at his age or even if Streit is the guy that will be playing. Can Streit keep up with the 5 on 5? It will be interesting to see.

        • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
          May 17, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

          Hey Phil,

          Being practically helpless on skates, it’s hard for me to judge someone else’s skating. But Maatta appears to shuffle his feet when he tries to get going–almost like a cross-country skier–rather than pushing off with his toe or the side of his blades.

          Kind of reminds me of an old Road Runner cartoon where Wile E. Coyote was trying to get traction on a puddle of grease but couldn’t.

          Same with Olli. The legs are moving, but he’s not going anywhere…at least for the first few strides. Of course, in the NHL that’s all the edge an opponent needs.

          I think Streit will be okay. However, with Rust out, another option would be to dress Gaunce and Streit. The former could handle 5-on-5 duty and the latter could actually play forward–where he has some experience–and man the point on the power play.

          A bit risky, I know. I probably just dress Streit and Kuhnhackl and hope for the best.

          Rick

          PS–Regarding Streit playing forward, I’m assuming Hornqvist and Rust won’t be suiting up. Hope I’m wrong.

          • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
            May 17, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

            Hey Rick,

            If the media is to be believed, the Sens are going to try and get more physical. I have no problem believing that they will try. Despite their injuring Rust and Schultz and several crosscecks to the back of Pens sending them head first into the boards, all of which drew no calls, in the first period, once Wilson and Rowney laucnhed their counter-offensive, they evaporated.

            It seems to me that they won’t want to appear to be as passive in front of their home crowd.

            Regardless of what else is going on I hope Hornqvist is able to play. However, with that in mind it is doubly important for the Pens to have Hornqvist in the line-up, and maybe even Kunhackl too.

            On a side note, I read in several places yesterday people complaining about the hit on Rust wondering why there was no penalty or review by the league. At first I didn’t think too deeply on it, not consciously anyway. There was something that must have been gnawing at my subconscious. Now that I have been thinking about it, it seems to me that Letang devlivered a similar type of hit in last years playoffs, but he got a 1 game suspension for his hit. What a difference aa year makes. Last year the league, in the first couple of series at least, paid some attention to player safety, this year, that went out the window, midway through March.

            Mind you I am not saying that hockey be reduced to petting kitty cats, just that there is absolutely no consistency in officiating all the way through the league office.

            • May 17, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

              I will definitely watch Maatta closer. Knowing the problem is half the battle right?

              There seems to be a huge difference when you go from one ref to another. Usually the biggest is whether they call interference or not.

      • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
        May 17, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        Hey Rick,

        Interesting observation about Maatta. Flat out foot/skate speed is different from agility or turning speed.

        Hey Phil.

        I had the same idea about Streit, I don’t doubt his play making ability but I worry about his ability to fill the role of a D man. I can’t say I paid that much attention to his play during the regular season until he came to Pgh but in his time in Pgh he was very inconsistent on D.

      • May 17, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        Daley practiced with the squad today, Rust, Hornqvist & shultz skated earlier but not with team practice. So maybe the answer is none of the above, it’s Daley.

        • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
          May 17, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          He does have a cannon of a shot, maybe not an Iafrate or Suter shot but one that may cause some to be less anxious to block the shot after a couple of blocks.

    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      May 17, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Okay,

      I just saw that Rust, Hornqvist and Schultz are definitely out for tonight, Streit QBed the PP in the morning skate and although the article I read said it wasn’t definite that Daley will play, he did skate with Maatta during the practice.

  3. Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
    May 16, 2017 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Hey all,

    Sorry to be so out-of-pocket. Crazy day today.

    Jim, got a big chuckle of out of your Keenan-Dead Russian comment. Believe it or not, Iron Mike was actually listed among possible candidates to replace Dan Bylsma a few years back. Can you imagine?

    Phil, I did see that Steigerwald was replaced by Mears. I may be squarely in the minority, but I really didn’t mind Steigy. In fact…aside from his tendency to whine a bit…I liked him.

    Other Rick, I agree wholeheartedly about Kunitz. Contrary to some of my comments a few posts back, he still does a lot of the little things that help you win. And my goodness, is he tough. Kuny’s always the first guy to join a scrum, regardless of the size and rep of the foe.

    A reinforcing shout-out to our defense. They played really well, especially considering they were down a man. I thought Hainsey had a particularly strong game. Two bonehead plays and an occasional lapse aside, I think he’s been a solid addition.

    Rick

    • Jim's Gravatar Jim
      May 16, 2017 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      Hey Rick
      With regards to Steigerwald on TV. Compared to a lot of other NHL teams TV play by play announcers he certainly is a “homer”. He has a flare for the exaggeration in terms of saves made or scoring chances by the Pen’s.
      Being an outsider and watching many different teams play, I agree he certainly was a “whiner” from time to time. Up to this season, I often turned on the Pen’s TV feed, turned down the volume and then listened to Pen’s Radio host, Mike Lange call the game. Call me crazy, but Lange called a pretty fair game and he gave credit when credit was do. Meaning when the Pen’s were getting out played he would compliment the other team.
      I used to get the Radio feed for free and since the new 2016 NHL-Pens agreement I can not now. Every time we scored a big goal, Lange had something funny to say.. I miss his phrases !
      May be the new guy will be better.

      * Speaking of Dead Russian, did NBC show the outburst from Geno. What ever happened he was ballistic …. Sully just put his head about 12′ inches away from Geno and held up that score card he carries to his face so you could not tell what he was saying to Geno…Sully was impressive…

    • May 17, 2017 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      Hey Rick, I didn’t have a problem with Steigerwald at all. I am the opposite of Jim. It completely annoyed the crap out of me when Mike Lange would kiss other teams players ass. I think he had a huge thing for Eric Lindros at one point, I always just turned the volume off. I’ve always like that Steigy was a homer and not trying to get a job on a national TV broadcast the whole time.

      My huge problem with Lange was when on TV during regular season games he would completely put me asleep. I remember watching the games changing the channel and completely forgetting there was a game even on. He makes incredible goal calls but used to go off on long tangents that had nothing to do with the game when he did TV.

      I’ve always said any announcer can announce a great game. It takes a great announcer to make a boring game good.

      • Jim's Gravatar Jim
        May 17, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

        Hey Phil,
        I really appreciate your opinion about Lange on live TV.
        I never had the chance to see him do a live TV broadcast as you did.
        Did he do it for very long?
        Steigy is all I have ever known.
        I stand by what I said above, and Lange does a great radio broadcast, but I could understand on live TV the skill set is much different than on radio.Since I have never seen Lange do a television broadcast you could be 100% correct in what you say, but I can only rely on my experiences to date.
        I am interested in knowing why Lange was taken off of Pen’s TV and given the Radio assignment.? Did people complain? Advertisers maybe? His age? haha….
        Thanks for the opposite viewpoint Phil. I would have never known…

        We win tonight….right?…Lets Go Pen’s… 🙂

        * Also your comment is correct about a boring game being difficult to broadcast…It takes a certain skill set as well to do it properly.( That is where all the hours of background research is needed to “spice up” the broadcast.)

      • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
        May 17, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        Hey Phil,

        I agree with your sentiments about Steigy and Mike Lange. On the rare occasions when I listen in on radio, it sounds like Lange tries almost too hard to play it up when the other team scores.

        Once upon a time I used to really enjoy Mike on TV. Then, around the early 2000s, I felt like he lost his edge and started screwing around too much.

        Understandable in a way, given how bad (and boring) some of those Penguins teams were. But I almost felt like I was watching a telecast of a baseball game, with all the fill-in blather.

        I liked the tone of Steigy’s voice, not to mention his sense of drama and the way he called a game. Being a homer myself, his obvious rooting for the Pens didn’t bother me at all.

        I, for one, will miss him.

        Rick

  4. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    May 16, 2017 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Hey Rick,

    I have to say that was quite a game. There have been several people extolling the virtues of Wilson and Rowney here on these boards, and those boys showed exactly why they have some supporters here. What I liked best about those two was that their hits weren’t those excuse me hits that the Pens were registering a couple of years back when they were getting there late and getting more boards than opponent, they were thundering body on body hits, quite often. And let’s not forget Wilson is not exactly Bluto. I am glad he ate his spinichk before the game.

    I would also like to throw some Kudos of Kunitz’s way. He threw some pretty good hits himself. And let’s face it that line with Geno and Phil was really flying, they could have had several more goals if not for some timely goaltending from the other side.

    And speaking of which, Guentzel worked his tail off too, he could have had 2 or 3 goals himself; that post ringer and then missing over the net after a beautiful Crosby feed to send him in alone on goal to name two.

    One thing that did have me a little upset was NBC announcer crew, listening to them you would have thought the Sens were odds on favorite to win the cup and their hyena laughing at the Malkin-Keesel-Kunitz line, stoked my anger. How long does NBC’s contract last? I hope it ends soon and some other network picks up the contract with different announcers. I am so glad Kessel and Malkin got that WG.

    I said it after the game, as you noted the D finally played a gem, limiting opponent offense and the O had lots of zone time. I do like some of their new strategy, dump cross corner, and intead of pressing the net immediately, take advantage of the Sens willingess to concede the outside of the ice, skating the periphery and draw them out. At the very least, the patience they showed wore down the Sens adding to the exhaustion from the beating Wilson and Rowney gave them.

    Getting back to that beating, it was nice to see opposing D panicking, looking over their shoulder every time they chased a loose puck.

    But how pathetic were the refs, Turris cross-checks Malkin in the head prior to the last face of the game and yet they throw Malkin out of the circle. No wonder a fight ensued, the moron was emboldened by the absolute lack of officiating. If the league had any credibility that officiating crew would at least get a severe dressing down for allowing that game ending scrum to occur.

    • May 16, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Hey tOR, I was thinking when I saw the montage of Kessel on the bench angry that NBC had been saving it up to show the Penguins angry on the bench in their loss! Why else did they put it together. It was on twitter not to long after the goal, they must have showed it right after and had it ready the whole time.

      • Jim's Gravatar Jim
        May 16, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        Hey Phil,
        Interesting you can televise the same game by 2 different networks and depending on the announcers spin, you can get 2 different and opposite conclusions. HNIC was showing Phil ranting away several times after he came off a shift and often Kunitz was in the frame just smiling and letting Phil go on and on. They interviewed Kunny and asked him about it and he made a very sensible comment about it. ” That is just Phil…That is what makes him great.He is a very competitive guy who takes the game seriously”.
        Phil, that was an excellent answer and one that I would say is the truth. Then after the game they interviewed Kessel about his winning goal,other things as well and the talking on the bench. Kessel answered ” It is play off hockey,things get a little emotional, that is just me “. HNIC spun the story as that emotion on the bench is what makes the Pens champions. It was a strength and not a weakness. Then they showed a quick clip of Crosby and Hornqvist arguing with each other in last years final. So from my vantage point the incident was portrayed as very positive.
        One thing last night, and I do not know if NBC showed it, was GENO yelling on the bench, MAD !!! and Sully very patiently listening to him. Went on for 30 seconds or more. He was upset at something..Sully never lost his cool. Very professional .
        I just kept thinking,Geno you are a very lucky man to have Sully,because if that was Coach Iron Mike Kennan… there would be one dead Russian …
        That is why Sully continues to impress me.
        Funny thing Phil is in many interviews I have seen Sully gives a lot of credit to his closest friend and mentor John Tortellini. ( as you called him), for teaching him the skills to be a successful NHL coach.
        Go figure.

        Lets go Pen’s

        • May 16, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

          Hey Jim,

          There have been many times in the regular when the arena is quiet that I have heard Kessel yell profanities, and I sit in peanut heaven. He may be a pass to me pass to me i’m open all night kind of guy, I’ve played hockey with tons of those guys, but he seems to have the interest of team winning first. It really looked like in the montage that he was mostly mad at himself.

          Was the yelling after the 10 minute penalty? He probably got told he was dumb for joining in a fight and wasn’t happy about it. I imagine when your leading the playoffs in points and you make 10 million a year, you probably don’t like being told stuff.

          Tortellini is probably a do as I say, not as I do kind of guy.

    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      May 16, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      They started laughing at the Malkin line at the end of the first period suggesting that the line was snake bit and would not score a goal and flashed headlines that the line was frustrated. One period is hardly frustration.

      They have both Pens goals in the series.

      Even the bubbleheaded bleach blond (to paraphrase Don Henley) in between the first and second periods got into the act. Milbury, Jones, and Tkachuk are the worst anti-Penguin commentators in the business.

  5. May 16, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Hey Rick, was it me or did the Pens decide that they would beat the trap with a trap? I’ve seen the shot totals, but wow it really didn’t look like Ottawa had many real scoring chances at all. Incredible coaching!

    Hagelin looked better. He threw a few checks, but still stayed clear of traffic areas. Still better!

    Did you happen to see Steigerwald has been replaced with Steve Mears? They’ve been talking about it for years and finally did it.

    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      May 16, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Agreed, Sully, Martin, and Tocchet made some great adjustments.

      I had the same though about Hagelin, he did look a little better, but I think I would still play Kunhackl. I think one of the best things the Pens did came from the 4th lines bruising forecheck, wearing down the Sens D. Kuhnhackl is leading the team in hits. Pitting him out there with Hornqvist on the thrid line would only help wear down their D.

      I would give Hagelin a couple more days rest, and then after 2 or so games more of beating the Sens D, and those days of rest, Hagelin would look like the Flash or Quicksilver out there. Almost like a boxer pounding on the arms of his opponent in the first couple of rounds so that the Boxer’s arms are heavy and of little use in latter rounds so that the he could then pound at will against an unprotected opponent.


            

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