May 14, 2017
The Pittsburgh Penguins who advanced the last two rounds after enduring a physical style of Hockey from the Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals now trail for the first time in a series for this years’ Playoffs courtesy of the Ottawa Senators. The Penguins are trying to become the first team to repeat since the Hardened Salary Cap Era that has been implemented since 2005. After watching last night’s game, the Penguins seemed to be mishandling passes and as a result, 17 turnovers. The Senators took an early 1-0 lead back in the First Period with 5:28 left to go by Jean-Gabriel Pageau. They nearly added a 2-0 deficit by Alexandre Burrows with seven minutes left to go in the Second Period, but it got ruled to a no goal call.
Evgeni Malkin would tie the game late in the Third Period, but they would fall in Overtime by Bobby Ryan. The key for the Senators in this opening game victory was shutting down the Penguins Power Play. They entered this matchup against the Pens with the third-best Penalty Kill Percentage vs the Pens fifth-ranked Power Play. Even more so, “Sid the Kid,” Sidney Crosby gets held to two shots for the night. If the Penguins are going to win this Series, they need to get more from Crosby and Kessel. Jake Guentzel who is a rookie out of Nebraska-Omaha is tied with Bobby Ryan for most game-winning goals.
“It’s just heightened awareness and mindset to put the puck on the net,” Head Coach, Mike Sullivan said. “When we had our film session, we showed them a number of different opportunities where we could have put the puck on the net and chose not to. I think it’s something that’s crept into our game for the last few weeks and I think we have to simplify our game a little bit.” For the most part, he’s dead on. If not, they will trail this Series 2-0 and so far throughout the Playoffs when trailing in a game, the Pens are 1-5.