Penguins knot series with 1-0 Game 2 victory over Senators

The Ottawa Senators might still be considered underdogs in their series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but their Game 1 victory Saturday night has put them in the driver's seat.

The Senators opened the Eastern Conference final according to coach Guy Boucher's plan by frustrating the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, including holding them to 0-for-5 on the power play, as Bobby Ryan scored the victor to give Ottawa a 2-1 overtime victory at the PPG Paints Arena.

A day after they slowed, stalled and ultimately outlasted the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on the road in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final, the Ottawa Senators found much of the narrative surrounding them carried a hey-how'd-you-do-that tone.

Whew, this is going to be a blazing Eastern Conference championship series as the Pittsburgh Penguins are looking to make it back into the National Hockey League finals and defend the Stanley Cup. Ottawa's physical play directly lead to the Senators taking seven more shots than Pittsburgh. While the game ended 2-1 in overtime thanks to one Bobby Ryan, the underlying numbers behind the loss for the Penguins aren't great.

Through two series, Craig Anderson has a 2.49 GAA and a 91.4% Save Percentage.

Evgeni Malkin is leading the Penguins in the postseason with five goals and 13 assists.

Pittsburgh only had 72 hours to recharge following a draining seven-game series against Washington. While Pittsburgh insisted it would have no problem hitting reset with a spot in the Stanley Cup finals on the line, there was a dip in intensity both on the ice and in the stands.

“We got slapped quite hard in the forehead in that third game in (New York) and at least we have an image of what it could be, and (the pushback) might be even worse because (the Penguins) have such high-end players. It also provided some early hope for the Senators that they might be able to find some openings in the softest part of the Penguins lineup. Here's a video of the Penguins playing with a carefully clogged neutral zone-just how the Senators like to play it.

Instead, Pittsburgh's issues came after it gained the offensive zone. After scoring a measly 25 points in 62 regular-season games, he's now got 11 points in 13 playoff contests. The Pittsburgh Penguins are the defending champs, and took down top-seeded Washington, and are trying to become the most lopsided team to win a Stanley Cup since Sidney Crosby was 4 years old.

He had gotten help earlier when Ron Hainsey's shot from the point was tipped by Jake Guentzel off the crossbar.

But Bobby Ryan, who was a big factor in overtime wins against Boston in the first round, came through once again, slapping the puck cross ice and beating a Olli Maata to backhand it by Fleury.

Saturday marked Ottawa's seventh (!) overtime game this post-season, with the club improving to 6-1 in those affairs. Ovechkin was moved to the third line midway through the Penguins series but said that had nothing to do with the injuries.

Pittsburgh was held to 18 even-strength shots over the course of its game, with an additional 10 coming during five power plays. Erik Karlsson is solidifying his status as the NHL's best defenseman, and players like Jean-Gabriel Pageau are proving their worth. Chris Kunitz sent a shot from the boards toward the net, where Malkin was camping out and deflected the puck past Ottawa's Craig Anderson to make it 1-1. It also lifted Malkin past Jaromir Jagr into third place on Pittsburgh's all-time playoff points list with 148.