Friday, May 17, 2013

Penguins Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 2 Preview - vs. Ottawa Senators

Ottawa Senators

7:30 p.m., CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Penguins started the series off against the Senators the same way they did against the Islanders. They came out and really took the play to the Senators and came away with a convincing game one victory that has a lot of people feeling really good about the way the series is going to go. Last series the Penguins did the same thing against the Islanders only to have them come and steal game two in Pittsburgh and then play the Penguins to an even series through four games even though they were probably outplayed in three of the games. Will this series be the same way? Who knows but tonight will go a pretty long way in seeing how the series might unfold.

I am not sure that Ottawa is going to be able to come after the Penguins like the Islanders did just for the fact that they don't have the speed and quickness that New York had but one thing I expect to change is the physicalness of Ottawa. While they were somewhat physical in game one I think they really sat back more almost afraid to take penalties against a Penguins team that has been lethal on the power play. While it might cost the Senators a few penalties I think they need to try and get more physical with the Penguins if they want a chance to win. The Penguins are just too talented offensively for Ottawa to play a mainly shell defensive system and hope the Penguins make enough mistakes to win. Ottawa had the best penalty kill during the regular season and if they don't have any confidence in that then they are in a lot of trouble.

A guy that I expect to step up better for Ottawa is Craig Anderson. This guy was one of the best in the league between the pipes in the regular season and while he was really sharp early on the Penguins were able to get to him as the game went on. It didn't help that his defense broke down in front of him but he needs to play better if Ottawa wants to have a chance. He is going to have to steal multiple games in this series if the Sens want to win the series because lets face it the Sens aren't going to score goals at a high clip. I don't think Anderson is quite as good as he showed during the season but I do think he is better than he was is game one.

On the Penguins side they just really need to do what they did last game. They need to create some turnovers and take advantage of them which is exactly what they did in game one of the series and that is why they are up 1-0. They effectively eliminated the Senators forecheck and while they got a lot of shots on net a good portion of them were low percentage and they did a nice job of giving Tomas Vokoun some space to see the shots.

The one portion where the Penguins need to clean up is taking penalties. They sent the Senators to the power play five times and while the penalty kill continued to be really good you can't continue to rely on your PK like the Penguins did for long stretches of the game on Tuesday. If they continue to do that then the Senators will win a few hockey games in this series and sometimes when it rains it pours and that is not what you want.


Probables

Pittsburgh (5-2 in playoffs) (via Penguins website)

Forwards
Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis
James Neal - Evgeni Malkin - Jarome Iginla
Brenden Morrow - Brandon Sutter - Matt Cooke
Craig Adams - Joe Vitale - Tyler Kennedy

Defense
Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin
Kris Letang - Matt Niskanen
Deryk Engelland - Douglas Murray

Goaltender
Tomas Vokoun

Ottawa (4-2 in playoffs) (via Ottawa website)

Forwards
Cory Conacher - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Milan Michalek - Mika Zibanejad - Jakob Silfverberg
Guillaume Latendresse - Zack Smith - Chris Neil
Colin Greening - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Erik Condra

Defense
Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips - Andre Benoit

Goaltender
Craig Anderson


The Series (Pittsburgh leads 1-0)

May 13, 2013 - Pittsburgh 4, Ottawa 1

The Stats:

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