It was late in the first period of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators. The Pens were leading 2-0, with their foot on the gas pedal, looking for more. They got more — and then some. A complete onslaught and a dominant shift from the Penguins gave them a 3-0 lead, and broke the Senators.
“Those guys are dynamic offensive players, and I think that's obvious,” Sullivan said. “I think where this coaching staff has tried to challenge them is to improve their overall game, and what I love about those guys is that I think they care about the Penguins, and they care about winning, and I think they make concerted efforts in meeting us halfway, to use our language with them as far as their play away from the puck and the decisions they make when they have the puck.”
Alright, let’s get at this. Grab a coffee, grab a cold beer, grab a glass of wine, or whatever you choose. This is a good one and this one might take a while.
It all started with a dump in from Sidney Crosby. The Sens tried to clear the puck but it came to Olli Maatta at the half-wall, who dumps it back in deep into the Ottawa zone.
As the puck goes past Marc Methot and behind the Senators’ net, Craig Anderson leaves his crease to try and slow down/play the puck, but nothing really comes of it.
The puck heads to the corner, where Chris Wideman and Evgeni Malkin are both headed.
Wideman moves the puck up the wall towards Bobby Ryan, who for some god damn reason decided to play it back to Wideman. That’s the wrong way? I guess it’s fitting for Bobby Ryan, who agrees with moving the puck in the same direction that he agrees our country should move in (the wrong way).
This put Wideman in a bad spot, who had Phil Kessel lurking nearby, forcing him to keep the puck deep instead of clearing.
Kessel pins Wideman, who chips the puck to Methot.
It was a bad pass. Methot couldn’t reach it in time.
By the time he is able to get to the puck, he’s being pressured by Scott Wilson, on this new makeshift Penguins line.
Wilson cycles the puck deep to Kessel behind the net, while Evgeni Malkin moves into the slot, ready to shoot.
Kessel does a little shake-and-bake move behind the net and looks to Malkin.
Malkin takes a half-second to corral the puck before trying to put it on net, but no such luck.
The puck misses wide and rims around the boards, where Ron Hainsey is waiting patiently for it to come to him.
Hainsey takes the puck on his backhand and in one motion, chips it back deep again. Every hockey player ever rejoice at the Penguins ability to repeatedly *very Canadian voice* GET PUCKS DEEP.
Hainsey’s dump-in is received by Scott Wilson, who wins a 50/50 puck battle against Kyle Turris.
Wilson moves the puck back along the boards as Malkin is coming to join the party.
The two Pens play a little pitch-and-catch and confuse Ottawa a bit.
Malkin gets away with a little subtle interference that gives Wilson room to get him the puck.
Malkin uses his size to possess the puck and turns back to Hainsey, still out at the point on the blue line.
Hainsey holds it for a second before moving the puck over to his partner, Brian Dumoulin.
Dumoulin does a little half-dump-in, half-shot that goes wide, but he doesn't lose possession for the Penguins.
The puck rims around past Malkin and back to Scott Wilson. This line, man.
Wilson turns with the puck, back to Ron Hainsey yet again.
This time Hainsey takes the opportunity to try and put a shot on net.
Bad news for Ron though, the shot gets blocked. Scott Wilson to save the day, however. He turns and puts the puck towards the net.
It takes a deflection and goes to the corner, where Brian Dumoulin goes for it.
Dumoulin makes a simple play, getting it deep behind the net to Phil Kessel.
Kessel skates away from the net to the corner, while Malkin cycles back down low behind the goal.
Malkin looks for Wilson, moving in front of the net, who gets off a harmless shot.
Gotta love Wilson’s relentless pursuit here. He missed the net, but chased down his own shot.
He and Kessel play the back-and-forth game again in the corner, while Chris Wideman is looking for a nearby oxygen tank.
The two of them keep rotating the puck and trying to keep possession while their teammates are able to go for a change. At this point, the Ottawa players are just standing still, mainly because they can’t do anything else. They’re out of gas.
Enter Malkin’s beast mode. He takes the puck, and literally just controls it while going nowhere. Neither Kyle Turris nor Bobby Ryan are able to shake him loose from the puck. More Penguins make a line change.
Malkin gets it deep to Kessel, while Ian Cole and Brian Dumoulin jump back up into the play.
Kessel makes a move to get a pass into the slot where Brian Dumoulin is stepping up.
He gets a good shot off but it misses and goes out to Anderson’s right.
Right here, you would think that Marc Methot would be able to clear the puck.
You would also think he would be able to clear the puck here.
A terrible play lands the puck at Kyle Turris’ feet, where Carter Rowney steps up into it and chips it back behind him.
The puck comes to Brian Dumoulin, who makes a fantastic play under pressure from Clarke MacArthur.
His attempt to keep it in takes a little bounce off of Bryan Rust.
As it bounces off of Rust, it comes right to Bobby Ryan, who will surely be able to clear this puck, right? Wrong. Bobby Ryan completely fouls this up. He doesn’t try to use his stick at all. I get that he’s gassed at this point but use your damn stick. He tries to kick it and it’s an epic fail.
Rust steps right up into a wide open slot with possession of the puck.
As he gets ready to shoot, Nick Bonino is lined up to come into the play with a second wave of attack, as is Carter Rowney, who is behind Rust.
Rust’s shot attempt is blocked, and maybe the Senators are gonna get out of this — or maybe not.
The blocked shot is headed right for Nick Bonino...
....who shoots the puck, that takes a perfect and exact bounce off of Bryan Rust’s penis and into the net to give the Penguins a 3-0 lead. This is not up for debate. It’s exactly what happened. I’m an expert. Trust me.
Seriously though, what a goal and what a moment. I was at Game 5 on Sunday afternoon, and this goal might have been the coolest I’ve been in attendance for, save for Bonino’s goal in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final last year. The way the crowd and the noise level and the anticipation built little-by-little was intense. Every time the Pens kept the puck in, it would ramp up a little more. You’d have a cheer start when the Pens players went for a line change and held possession. Each shot that was followed up by another save in possession, more noise. It felt like the pressure in the building grew more and more, and it was either going to blow the roof off with a goal, or let the pressure out if the Senators cleared the zone. What a moment, what a shift, what a goal.