Friday, May 17, 2013
Penguins ECSF Game 1 Recap - Penguins 4, Senators 3
-This game was all about Sidney Crosby. There is no two ways about it, he was the best player on the ice just like he is for almost every game he plays in. He scored the Penguins first three goals and would have had a natural hat trick if it weren't for a lone Ottawa goal but hey I guess it could be worse, right? All told the Penguins got the win that put them up 2-0 in a series for the first time since the Eastern Conference Finals against Carolina in 2009.
-While Crosby was the story a few other guys had some really outstanding nights. Evgeni Malkin and James Neal probably had their best playoff games of the season so far and while they have been good in bursts this playoffs they were really good start to finish. The scoresheet isn't going to show how good they were as both only had an assist but their line was utterly dominating all night. They were creating turnovers and creating chances all night and while they didn't find the twine they eventually will.
-Jarome Iginla went without a point for the first time in the playoffs but it wasn't from a lack of effort. He had a team-high eight shots on goal and if he didn't shoot one of them directly into the goaltender in the second period he would have had an easy goal. He was a part of that Malkin/Neal like that dominated play so it wasn't too bad.
-The Penguins were just the better team. In the Islanders series there were games where the Islanders were the better team in the game but they didn't come out with a win. It wasn't that way today for the Penguins. In game one the Penguins were outplayed during 5-on-5 but tonight they weren't. They came out on fire and it seemed like Ottawa forgot the game started. It was a good game and something to build on.
-Tomas Vokoun was not really all that good. He gave up a couple of soft goals and gave up three in 19 shots and just didn't look good all night. While there were a few shoddy defensive plays in front of him he just looked off. Now, every player has an off day and when your goalie has one and he can still only let in three goals and give you a win you take it. This should not be a goaltender controversy as Vokoun should start next game without question but he needs to have a better game. Whatever though.
-Deryk Engelland will probably not be in the lineup for game three. He was brutal in the defensive zone tonight and when you are a defenseman that is not a great thing to have said about you.
-While the power play was outstanding in game one it was pretty bad for most of the game tonight. They had six power play opportunities and only cashed in on one of them and for at least half of them they had trouble enough just getting into the zone. As I talked about in the pregame that the Senators penalty kill was probably going to be better and boy were they. While they were passive in the first game they were ultra aggressive tonight and really tried to stand up the Penguins at the blue line and it was effective. This will definitely give the Penguins something to work on and it will need to improve if Ottawa wants to keep taking penalties.
-The Penguins did a nice job of limiting the Ottawa offense. They allowed only 22 shots and blocked 20 more led by Brandon Sutter with five blocks. They also got 42 shots on the Ottawa net as they chased starter Craig Anderson in the second period. His backup Robin Lehner came in and really did a nice job to hold the fort but the Ottawa offense just came up short.
-Ottawa outhit Pittsburgh 41-21. I talked about how that is something that Ottawa wanted and had to do in this game if they wanted to have a chance and they did that and while they got outplayed they were in the game at the end.
-Erik Karlsson was just brutally bad tonight. He still isn't near to 100% and only played 15 minutes. That has to be a concern for Ottawa going forward.
-It is really great win for the Penguins to hold serve on home ice. Really all they need to do here is split the two games in Ottawa and they will be in great shape. This isn't a place they have been in so it is nice to get back to it as a fan watching from afar.