-This game was close for the first period as the Senators took advantage of some Penguins mistakes to take a 2-1 lead after one period. Craig Anderson was outstanding and made some ten bell saves almost every other shot and nothing was going right outside of a snipe goal from James Neal. You might have thought that the Senators played a pretty good first period but they really didn't. The Penguins dominated nearly the entire game and while they were getting robbed by Anderson in the first period you knew that if they kept getting the same chances they were getting in the first period that they would break through and win. That is exactly what happened. In a big way.
-Coming in Ottawa had outscored its opponents 14-1 in the third period of games. Tonight they got outscored 4-1 in the third period with their goal coming after the game was already 7-2 in favor of the Penguins with five minutes left. The Penguins held a one goal advantage after two periods and they really put it away in the third with all four goals coming in the first 9:53 of the period. They scored a power play goal just two minutes in to give them a two goal advantage and then scored a pair of goals 40 seconds apart at about the eight minute mark. You could tell they had enough and wanted this game over and that is exactly how they treated it.
-The best player on the ice tonight for the Penguins was James Neal. He has played a pretty good series but really hasn't been able to find the back of the net but tonight he scored a pair of goals and racked up nine shots on goal. Moreover he was great on the forecheck and was a little more physical than he usually is and you can tell that he is in the zone and it is great to see.
-Second best player on the ice tonight was Paul Martin. He didn't do anything flashy and you might not have noticed him but the little things he does in the defensive end just shuts down possible scoring chances and he is quietly good on the point of the power play. Despite his outstanding season he is still wildly underrated.
-Jarome Iginla hasn't been very good in the playoffs so far despite his point total but tonight he was all over the ice. He scored a pair of goals and just looked good overall.
-To be honest the whole second line was great. The only guy seemingly on the team who didn't record a point was Evgeni Malkin but he played another strong game and was the motor for that line that was the best on the ice.
-The Penguins specialty units were good. I know that people are going to think that is a ridiculous statement as they gave up a shorthanded goal to give the Senators a 1-0 lead early but after that they were really good. The power play was good as they connected on 2-of-5 attempts and while they didn't score on three of those attempts it wasn't for a lack of chances. The second power play of the game was probably their best of the night but it didn't result in a goal. They had about five prime scoring chances but Anderson was there to stop them all and they probably would have scored on all five of those chances on most goaltenders. Pascal Dupuis scored a shorthanded goal thanks to some great work from Matt Cooke and the PK overall killed three of the Ottawa four power play chances.
-Kris Letang was a roller coaster tonight. He played one of his worst periods of the season in the first but I think he gave himself a stern talking to at the intermission and came out worlds better in the second and third. He ended up with four points on the game and played decent defensive hockey so I am going to chalk this one up as just having a bad period. There are plenty who are going to suggest that they bench him or trade him or whatever but you can't match his talent on the blue line and he is going to be good more often than he is going to be what he was in the first period today.
-Coming into the games in Ottawa the Penguins had a 2-0 series lead and I think most people thought a split would have been perfect going back to Pittsburgh. They lost a heart breaker in double overtime on Sunday and it got a lot of people down for some reason. They got a win tonight that really makes that loss a moot point and have the Penguins right where they thought they should be. Close it out on home ice on Friday.
-To be honest with you the Penguins have dominated nearly this entire series. Sure Ottawa has a win but if I had to put a time stamp on it I would say Ottawa has been the better team for maybe 5-10 minutes this entire series.
-Want to know how they feel about this in Ottawa? Check out what Daniel Alfredsson had to say:
Alfie when asked if they can come back. "Probably not. They have too much depth." #SensYikes.
— Erin Nicks (@erinnicks) May 23, 2013