Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Penguins Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 4 Preview - @ Ottawa Senators

Ottawa Senators

7:30 p.m., Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, Ontario

The Penguins had a chance to really put this series away on Sunday night and with a minute left it looked like they were going to do so. They were up 1-0 and had just gone on the power play. They were a man up with less than two minutes to go so you assume to just play keep away and not let anyone get behind you and you were goign to be up 3-0 in the series and really put Ottawa away. Well, the Penguins couldn't keep the puck and someone did get behind him and the Penguins are only up 2-1 in the series rather than 3-0. It was a double overtime game that was lost and while it sucked that is playoff hockey for you. You never know what is going to happen.

Tonight the Penguins can accomplish their goal, I assume, which would be to split in Ottawa after winning both games in Pittsburgh and go back to the CONSOL Energy Center up 3-1. I talked about how rare sweeps were in the last preview (14 since the last lockout) so to think the Penguins were going to sweep this series would have been a little optimistic.

Ottawa needed their goaltender to come out and steal a game and he did. He made 49 saves and only a second period goal from Tyler Kennedy found the back of the net. I don't think that Anderson will be that good for too many games but he most certainly will be better than his first two games in this series, one of which he was pulled in.

Not too many changes expected in the lineup. Jussi Jokinen looks to be the only new face in the lineup as he will center the fourth line in place of Joe Vitale. The Penguins were worked in two of the three periods on Sunday in the faceoff circle and Jokinen came come in and make an immediate impact in that aspect. The Penguins lost a ton of defensive zone faceoffs on Sunday and when you are playing a tight checking close game every chance you have to get an extra possession could mean the difference between a win and a loss. If Jokinen can come in and win a few of those that would be pretty huge, epecially if they have a lead late.

Ottawa was much more physical in game three and I would only assume that they will try and do the exact same thing this game. The Penguins are the more talented team and I don't think you would find many that would even begin to challenge that notion but one way you can take them off their game is to get in their face as much as possile. While talented there are some players (Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang) that are easy to get off their games and that will take a dumb penalty. If the Senators can continue to throw the body it will only help them but they have to first make sure to keep the game close or they won't be able to do that.

A guy that really needs to step up is Brandon Sutter. He was pretty outstanding during the regular season but so far this playoffs he has been somewhat invisible. There are some that are saying he might be hurt and nursing an injury but since we don't hear much about stuff like this until after the fact you can only assume he is healthy and he needs to be better. If the Penguins want to make a charge at the cup they need to have four solid lines and that success of that third line really falls on the shoulders of Sutter.


Probables

Pittsburgh (6-3 in playoffs) (via Empty Netters)

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

Defense
Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin
Kris Letang - Matt Niskanen
Mark Eaton - Douglas Murray

Goaltender
Tomas Vokoun


Ottawa (5-3 in playoffs) (via Empty Netters)

Forwards
Jakob Silvferberg - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Mark Stone
Zack Smith - Mika Zibanejad - Chris Neil
Colin Greening - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Erik Condra

Defense
Marc M├ęthot - Erik Karlsson
Chris Phillips - Andre Benoit
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar

Goaltender
Craig Anderson


The Series (Pittsburgh leads 2-1)

May 19, 2013 - Ottawa 2, Pittsburgh 1 (2 OT)

May 17, 2013 - Pittsburgh 4, Ottawa 3 May 14, 2013 - Pittsburgh 4, Ottawa 1 The Stats:

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