Sometimes, you just get the feeling it's not going to go the way you want it to. For me it happened when Pascal Dupuis rang a shot clean off the far post in the first overtime. Even when the Penguins beat Craig Anderson, they couldn't score. And very rarely were they able to beat him in the first place.
Game three between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators featured an entertaining, heavy-hitting, low-scoring affair that saw some great goaltending from Anderson and Tomas Vokoun, as well as a let down by the Pens.
In the last minute of the game, with Pittsburgh up 1-0, the Sens were down a man but still pushing hard for a goal. The Pens got in a weird shell- they weren't playing offense but they weren't really in a good defensive mindset either. It's definitely unusual for a team down a man to pull their goalie and push so hard for a goal, but it's what happens in the final minute of a playoff game. Daniel Alfredsson snuck behind all the Pens and went to the net and made a beauty deflection from Milan Michalek and we were tied.
Overtime saw more of the same, the Pens pushing but Anderson holding the fort. Ottawa counter-striking but Vokoun keeping it out. Rinse and repeat until 7:39 into the second OT when Penguin-killer Colin Greening collected a rebound and punched it home, ending a good, tough, intense game.
Not too much more to say, the Pens were 30 seconds away from a commanding 3 games to 0 lead in the series....Then they were just one goal away. But they couldn't get it, and now we have a series.
Some more thoughts:
- 50 shots on goal, ten of those from Evgeni Malkin. Not much more you can do. Malkin has been flashing everywhere in the offensive zone, beating defenders but not Anderson. Hopefully it's just a matter of time.
- Despite scoring the team's only goal, Tyler Kennedy only got 11:00 minutes of ice-time, by far the least on the team for every player (except Tanner Glass).
- Pens PP went 0 for 6. Tough one to take, the power play has to come through, including during an extended 5 on 3. They got some good zone time, passes, movement and even shots on goal, but again, you just have to tip your hat to Anderson, he answered the bell tonight.
- 29 blocked shots for the Pens tonight, led by Paul Martin (8), Brooks Orpik (6) and Kris Letang (4). Throw in that each of them played 35-37 minutes and you have to wonder what toll this game will have throughout the rest of the series. Luckily there's a two day break and hopefully all will have the chance to recharge, but any multiple-OT game is just going to be brutal on top defensemen.
- The hit Craig Adams threw on Jason Spezza was a thing of beauty. Clean, solid and textbook. Spezza, in his first game back since January, was really good playing 18:40, getting 4 shots on goal and winning 60% of his 25 faceoffs. Not much rust there.
- Here's something interesting: out of the 97 faceoffs that happened in the game, Sidney Crosby or Brandon Sutter combined for 79 of them. And they won 54% of them. Very clear to see who the coach is leaning on this time of year.
And so, luckily, that's that. Time to turn the page and move on to the next one. It's a tough pill to swallow for the Pens, especially given that they more or less had it in the bag in regulation, but another lesson to learn. Games are 60:00 and a full 60:00 must be played.