The Penguins (46-29-6) returned home from Columbus last night following a thrilling 5-4 OT win. Waiting for them were the lowly Ottawa Senators (28-41-11). Even in Game 82, the Penguins had something to fight for: home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. All they needed was a single point to reach that goal.
45 seconds into the game, Sidney Crosby was sprung on a breakaway, but Craig Anderson would have none of it and would keep the game in a scoreless tie.
With 8:17 left in the first period, Evgeni Malkin was penalized for slashing and cross-checking Zack Smith. The double-minor would be wiped out, as Ottawa was caught with too many men on the ice with 18 seconds left on the the man-advantage.
The Penguins’ time with the power-play was uneventful. With 5 seconds left on the PP, Patric Hornqvist was penalized for slashing, giving the Sens another power-play.
The Senators had 44 seconds left on their third power-play, but Ryan Dzingel was called for high-sticking Riley Sheahan. This penalty was a double-minor.
The period would come to an end and the Penguins would take 2:37 of carryover power-play time into the second period. Scoreless after 20 minutes.
Stats after period one:
At 1:25, Sidney Crosby banked the puck off Anderson to take a 1-0 lead on the power-play.
Sidney Crosby: one of the most creative goal scorers pic.twitter.com/uAsio9lI3q— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 7, 2018
At 5:26, Josh Jooris was hooked while he was driving to the net. Ottawa’s Filip Chlapik was the culprit. This penalty was killed. But right as the power-play ended, Jake Guentzel banked another shot right off the pad of Anderson to go up 2-0.
Right after the goal, Brian Dumoulin was high-sticked by Mike Hoffman, giving Pittsburgh another chance on the power-play. The penalty would be killed by the Senators.
With 8 minutes left in the second frame, Carl Hagelin was called for boarding Ben Harpur. The Penguin PKers would get the game back to 5v5 with their 2-0 lead still intact.
For the sixth time on the night, the Penguins were sent to the power-play. Alexandre Burrows was cited for tripping Jake Guentzel.
The horn sounded to end the second period with the Penguins taking a 2-0 lead into the locker room.
Stats after two:
Here are your stats through 40 minutes. Let's keep it up! pic.twitter.com/rObzs39cQX— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 7, 2018
The Pens brought 57 seconds of power-play time with them into the third and final period. The Burrows penalty expired with no goal to show for it.
The period’s pace died down until the 6:55 mark. Craig Anderson lost his footing and Phil Kessel would bury his 34th goal of the season to extend the lead to 3-0.
KESS-GOAL!— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 7, 2018
Phil Kessel has 7 points in his last 4 games (4G-3A)... NBD. pic.twitter.com/cDouyWp8d5
Time continued to bleed from the clock, as both teams were eager for the game to end for two very different reasons.
With 3:07 left, Sidney Crosby delivered the puck to Patric Hornqvist to score the fourth goal of the game.
The final horn sounded and the Penguins would take the final game of the regular season by a score of 4-0.
- The second seed in the Metropolitan Division officially belongs to the Penguins. It’ll be nice to have the home-ice advantage for the first round, considering the Penguins won 30 games at PPG Paints Arena this season.
- The extra days of rest will certainly help the team ahead of Game 1 on either Wednesday or Thursday. Let’s hope Derick Brassard is all set to go as well.
- It’s also a positive sign that (to my knowledge) no one suffered any major injuries against the Senators.
- Casey DeSmith was very solid tonight. Stopping all 35 shots he faced to earn his first NHL shutout.
- Enjoy the ride, Pens fans. It’s not often a team has a chance at three straight Stanley Cups. The next time the puck is dropped, the journey will begin. #3lieve.