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Game 2 Recap: Phil Kessel's goal pushes Pens past Sens

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The Penguins win 1-0 on the strength of a 3rd period goal from Phil Kessel. Series is now tied at 1 game a piece.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pregame

Patric Hornqvist doesn't practice yesterday but he takes warmup tonight at least to test things out. Must not have been ideal, as he takes a seat and Carl Hagelin returns to get back in the lineup.

1st period

Bryan Rust keeps his head down cutting through the middle, and though hockey is a safer space nowadays, you just can't do that. Dion Phaneuf drills him. Yeah, he lifts off, but that's basically any hit. Yeah, he probably hits his head, but what else is there to hit with a guy exposing himself so bad? Nothing really to wrong with this hit in a contact sport, if this is Orpik on Semin in 2009, Penguins fans LOVE it. But it's not, so most hate it. So it goes.

Since Penguins injuries seemingly always come in bunches, Justin Schultz would also have to leave the game after going arm/shoulder first in a fairly routine looking play gone wrong.

Neither Rust nor Schultz would return in the game, leaving Pittsburgh with 11F and 5D for the majority of the game, and that's pretty much a first line forward and their most skilled defenseman too.

Shots end up 10-8 Ottawa in the first, but Fenwick is 18-14 Pens so take that.

2nd period

Not too much truly going on. The Pens take it to the Senators but can't quite break through their good defensive play and Craig Anderson's even better goaltending.

Scott Wilson goes crazy at one point and has 4 official hits on a single shift alone. Gives the crowd at least something to notice and good for him.

Jake Guentzel hits the post, then Sid feeds him right in front but he juuuust airmails the shot over the top of the net. It happens.

Phil's going crazy, talking and shouting to himself and anyone who will listen. Chris Kunitz is laughing and everyone is too.

Shots up to 20-16 Pens at the end of 2, Fenwick is 33-21 Pittsburgh. The game is shifted but the score remains tied.

3rd period

Pittsburgh keeps knocking but Anderson keeps answering.

Until.....Evgeni Malkin is a one-man zone-exit and zone-entry then centers for Phil. Kessel sticks with it and finally hits paydirt. 1-0 Pens.

The Sens put a late push on, Kyle Turris acts like a baby and starts slashing everyone within stick reach. Doesn't work

Some Thoughts

  • With all the Pittsburgh based media-driven narratives of "oh gee what has Phil done lately" kicking up, great that he scores the game's only goal.
  • Great game for the Pens overall. They pretty much controlled the whole game. Not sure Ottawa really had more than one or two actual great scoring chances. Seemed like just a matter of time before the Pens won this one, unless Ottawa got something cheesy.
  • Flip side of that, of course, is that in 6+ periods of this series so far, starting on the road Ottawa scored a total of 2 goals and still stole home ice back. Not really sure home ice actually matters, but they still won a game despite not really playing all that great with the puck. They have a good goalie and structure, but hopefully skill and a team actually trying to play hockey will prevail in the end.
But, all the Pens could do today was win, and win they did. Took some tough injuries in Rust and Schultz (plus had Hornqvist who couldn't go tonight, don't forget) so that's costly. Let's see who's ready to go but now this goes to 1-1 and the Pens will have to carry on Wednesday night in the nation's capital.