Ryan, Senators shock Penguins in Game 1 of East final

Ryan, Senators shock Penguins in Game 1 of East final

"They have such high-end players", said Senators coach Guy Boucher, after Ottawa took Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final 2-1 on Saturday. Sullivan wants the Penguins to be more aggressive with their shooting, rather than trying to find the ideal shot.

"We know they have a good power play", said Pageau.

A string of unexpected players can suddenly emerge in the spotlight of postseason overtime to lead a team to one nail-biting victory after another.

"After the third [period]", said Ottawa forward Clarke MacArthur, "no one was edgy".

"We're looking for that next play instead of putting pucks at the net", Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said.

Boucher installed more of a trap than they have shown in previous rounds, a system that succeeded in frustrating a potent Pens attack, snuffing out a majority of Penguins rush attempts before they became unsafe.

Pittsburgh defended home ice at the PPG Paints Arena with a 1-0 win over the Ottawa Senators to tie the series at a game apiece and avoid a daunting 2-0 deficit before hitting the road for Games 3 and 4.

But it didn't result in very many scoring chances.

It appeared that goal would be enough until Malkin redirected a Chris Kunitz shot between Anderson's legs with 5:35 left in the third.

Pittsburgh had 5:50 of power-play time in the first period, including 45 seconds of five-on-three play. "They can get something out of nothing, and that's why they're stars". The chorus has grown so loud over the last month, tuning it out simply wasn't an option no matter how many one-goal victories they pulled off in the playoffs.

The goal allowed the Senators to relax after their good fortune in seeing - and hearing - the Penguins ring a pair of shots off the posts in the opening minutes.

My observation from the Sens' game one strategy is they would often have an extra skater trapping the neutral zone, effectively making it a 1-4-0 (which explains why we saw Anderson having to play the puck a lot), and neutralizing Pittsburgh's zone transitions (pun intended). They were stymied by the Senators' defensive style, but now they've had the chance to review game tape and adjust accordingly to this new style of play. Offensively, he can provide similar physical and net-front presences as Hornqvist.

The Senators approached overtime with as much confidence as the Penguins had shown earlier in the day.

Forecheck, shoot first and go to the net. Still, Crosby hasn't scored a goal since netting two in Game 1 against Washington, and he's only had three points in the four games since his injury. Not only was there a possibility for fatigue, but it's only human nature to feel a little satisfied initially after eliminating a hated rival.

Just two days after surviving Edmonton, the Ducks had to face Nashville in an early-starting game - and they were promptly outskated and outclassed for long stretches by the well-rested Predators.

The Senators need to be ready for what they know will be coming. They have beaten the teams with the best- and third-best records in the league with this ragged defence corps that is dressing one of its top five defencemen from last year's playoffs, and that one is a one-legged Brian Dumoulin.

Jakob Silfverberg, Sami Vatanen and Ondrej Kase also scored while the Ducks cracked imposing goalie Pekka Rinne with a thrilling surge of four goals in less than 19 minutes. In fact, this loss marked the fourth loss in their past six games, even though they took the seven-game series from the Capitals.

Pittsburgh possesses the better roster, but still has to play the games.



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