The schedule is out for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators for the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals:
One thing to notice, no two-day breaks between games. It's strictly every other day starting on Saturday. The grind continues, but it sure beats the alternative..
One of the best things about the modern era is the little peaks behind the scenes. Seeing Brian Dumoulin dip, dive and feint to either imiatate Scott Wilson (or perhaps give him tips for next time) is tremendous. And the hug between the 2 goalies in Jim Rutherford and Marc-Andre Fleury is pretty special too.
Sullivan's point about playing the best period of the playoffs so far last night in the 3rd rings true. The Capitals went a LONG time in between shots on goal, and Patric Hornqvist even scored for the Pens to push the lead out to a 2-0 game that felt like it might as well have been 20-0.
Shots on goal by the #caps in third period: 3:50 (Alzner) 6:01 (Orlov) 13:19 (Kuznetsov) 15:04 (Carlson) 19:05 (Oshie) 19:51 (Ovechkin)— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 11, 2017
It was reminiscent of the G6 Stanley Cup clinching game against San Jose last year. A team against elimination in their last period just couldn't do anything against the Pens. Championship-caliber resolve and performance there.
So much to unpack about that last series. Obviously Washington has nothing to do but reflect on that performance and what could have been. But what about Pittsburgh?
Wilson and Carter Rowney were terrific last night on the 4th line, adding energy and pushing the play really well. Do they stay in the lineup? Is Carl Hagelin healthy enough to go on Saturday?
Along the lines of injury questions, what of Trevor Daley? Chad Ruhwedel as a right-shot on the right-side fared pretty well against the Caps, and you would have to think would survive against an Ottawa team that's less frightening on paper.
And, though Fleury got the shutout and deservedly getting praise because is the #1 (and probably #2) reason that Pittsburgh beat the Capitals, it's easy to gloss over that Matt Murray is healthy. A poor game or two and that's a huge storyline of what the Pens should do in net.
A lot to debate and think about going forward for Pittsburgh.
The Pens are going to take a loss today though:
Not sure what's been reported in North America. Jason Botterill will be announced as Buffalo Sabres GM today.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 11, 2017
Botterill has long been seen as an ascending star in management circles and has interviewed for many a vacant GM job (including Pittsburgh's in 2014). It's no surprise he's getting a chance to spread his wings and run his own shop. Many Pens fans would have hoped it would be in Pittsburgh, but that's not to be -- and how can you argue the direction they went in with the results under Rutherford?
Regardless, lots of folks who haven't spent one iota of time in meetings, or have knowledge of management structures, work delegation and responsibilities will chime in on what a loss this is. Botterill is a first timer with no experience- he could find success, he could struggle. No one truly knows.
But all the best to him, he definitely deserves the opportunity and hopefully he can make the most of it.
No Letang. No Murray. Missing Crosby for a game. And the Penguins are still halfway to repeating as Stanley Cup champs. Amazing, really.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) May 11, 2017
What a year, what a ride.