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Playoff Buzz: Penguins look to rebound against Senators in Game 2

Pittsburgh hopes to break through on power play, even series against Ottawa @NHLdotcom

Welcome to the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoff Buzz, your daily look at the stories impacting the 2016-17 postseason. Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators is Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). writers covering the playoffs will be checking in throughout the day to give you latest news. Here is the playoff news for Monday:


5:20 p.m.
Penguins out to even series with Senators

The Ottawa Senators have a chance to take a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Correspondent Wes Crosby has the projected lineups in his 5 keys to Game 2. Pittsburgh forwards Patrick Hornqvist and Carl Hagelin did not participate in the optional morning skate and will be game-time decisions.

Penguins center Evgeni Malkin scored the only goal for Pittsburgh in a 2-1 overtime loss in Game 1 and now has 148 career postseason points (54 goals, 94 assists), moving him ahead of Jaromir Jagr for third on the Penguins all-time list.

The Senators have limited the Penguins to one goal in each of the past three games (including regular season) and have won every game. Despite that success, Ottawa expects plenty of pushback from the Penguins in Game 2, according to staff writer Amalie Benjamin.

The Penguins need to convert on the power play after going 0-for-5 in Game 1 on Saturday. The Penguins are 1-for-12 over their past four games, which has resulted in three losses. Senior writer Dan Rosen spoke to players about Pittsburgh's power-play situation following the optional skate on Monday.


1:45 p.m.
Pittsburgh's lineup up in air

Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said "everybody will be a game-time decision" for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Ottawa Senators on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports). That was Sullivan's response to being asked about the status of right wing Patric Hornqvist, who hasn't been on the ice since the end of Game 1.

Hornqvist didn't skate in the full team practice Sunday or participate in the optional practice Monday. Left wing Carl Hagelin, who didn't play in Game 1, presumably because of a lower-body injury, could return in Game 2. Correspondent Wes Crosby has all the news.

Pittsburgh's power play, which went 0-for-5 in Game 1 and is 1-for-12 over their past four Stanley Cup Playoff games, is among the must-watch elements of Game 2. It couldn't score on a 5-on-3 for 45 seconds, although Hornqvist did have a one-timer ring off the post during that two-man advantage.

Despite their struggles, the Penguins think they might have figured something out about how to have success against Ottawa's penalty kill. Senior Writer Dan Rosen goes into detail in his pregame column.

Correspondent Wes Crosby has more news and projected lineups in his 5 keys to Game 2.


11:38 a.m.
Penguins look to even series with Senators

The Pittsburgh Penguins hope to bounce back in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Ottawa Senators at PPG Paints Arena on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

[RELATED: Fantasy picks for Penguins-Senators Game 2]

The Senators won 2-1 in Game 1 on Saturday when Bobby Ryan scored 4:59 into overtime. Ryan is the first player in Senators history to record multiple overtime goals in a single Stanley Cup Playoff year. He leads Ottawa forwards with 11 points (five goals, six assists) 13 playoff games. Staff writer Amalie Benjamin spoke to Ryan after his Game 1 heroics.

Video: OTT@PIT, Gm1: Ryan discusses the Sens' Game 1 win

History is on the side of the Senators. The team that wins the first game in a best-of-7 postseason series hold an all-time series record of 456-208 (68.7%), including a 9-3 mark this year, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Senators are 8-2 in one-goal games in the playoffs; their only multigoal win came after an empty-net goal in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Second Round at the New York Rangers.

Pittsburgh forward Carl Hagelin, who has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury, is questionable for Game 2. Correspondent Wes Crosby has the details.

Senior writer Dan Rosen spoke to Penguins captain Sidney Crosby about the importance of converting chances against the defensively sound Senators. Additionally, former goaltending coach Jim Corsi has been breaking down the action from a Senators' perspective throughout the series for, and explained how Ottawa denied Pittsburgh's speed through the neutral zone in Game 1.


11:15 a.m.
Comeback trend continues

When the Anaheim Ducks overcame deficits of 2-0 and 3-2 in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final to even the best-of-7 series, it marked the 29th comeback win of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (71 games, 40.8%) and 14th multigoal comeback win (19.7%).

Here are some notable numbers provided by Elias Sports Bureau:

* The 14 multigoal comeback wins are one shy of matching the NHL record for most such wins in a playoff year set in 2014 when 15 of 93 games (16.1%) were won by a team that erased a deficit of at least two goals.

* The Ducks have had four multigoal comeback wins this postseason, marking the sixth time in NHL history that a team has earned at least four such victories in a single postseason. The other instances: the Montreal Canadiens in 1973 and 1979 (four in each), the St. Louis Blues in 1986 (four), the Philadelphia Flyers in 1987 (five) and the Los Angeles Kings in 2014 (four).

* The NHL record for comeback wins in a postseason was set in 1990, when 45 of 85 games (52.9%) had the winning team erase a deficit of at least one goal.


9:06 a.m.
Ducks rally -- again -- to tie Western Conference Final

The Anaheim Ducks appeared to be in trouble early Sunday, but showed their trademark resiliency and are heading to Nashville with the Western Conference Final tied 1-1.

The Ducks were down 2-0 8:32 into Game 2 of the Western Conference Final against the Nashville Predators, but scored three times in the second period and won 5-3.

It was the 29th comeback victory of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs in 71 games, and the 14th multigoal comeback win. The Ducks have four of those 14 wins.

The 14 multigoal comeback victories are one shy of tying the NHL postseason record, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. In 2014 there were 15 games won by a team that trailed by at least two goals during that game.

Game 3 is Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena and it's a big one. When best-of-7 series are tied 1-1, the winner of Game 3 has a series record of 205-99, including 3-2 this postseason.

Video: Ducks rally past Preds to win Game 2 and even series


Here is look at what happened Sunday:

Anaheim Ducks 5, Nashville Predators 3

Ducks forward Nick Ritchie is starting to make a habit of scoring big goals. He broke a 3-3 tie at 17:07 of the second period, helping the Ducks even the Western Conference Final at 1-1. Ritchie took a pass from Ryan Getzlaf and fired a wrist shot over Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, who allowed four or more goals for the first time this postseason.

Ritchie also scored the deciding goal for the Ducks in their 2-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round.

Correspondent Dan Arritt wrote about Ritchie's big goal.

Of course, if the Ducks didn't overcome an early 2-0 deficit in Game 2, Ritchie never would have been able to play the hero. Staff writer Lisa Dillman wrote about what the Ducks did to shift the momentum in the first period.

One of the key battles during the game was between Ducks center Ryan Kesler and Predators center Ryan Johansen. Staff writer Tim Campbell wrote about Johansen and his comments on Kesler's game.


Here are some things we learned on Day 32 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs:


No lead is safe

At least that's the way it seems against the Ducks in the playoffs. They rallied from a 4-1 deficit against the Calgary Flames to win 5-4 in overtime in Game 3 of the first round. In Game 5 of the second round they scored three times in the final 3:16 of the third period and won 4-3 in double-overtime against the Edmonton Oilers. On Sunday they came back from being down 2-0 in the first period. 

There is little middle ground for John Gibson

Ducks goalie John Gibson is 23 and because of his youth is subject to occasional big swings in play. His ups and downs especially have been striking through two-plus rounds of the playoffs. He allowed two goals in the first 8:32 on Sunday, and looked especially out of sorts on the Predators' second goal, by forward James Neal. But Gibson got better as the game went along and didn't allow a goal after the 7:59 mark of the second period.

Video: NSH@ANA, Gm2: Neal extends lead, ties club record

Pekka Rinne is mortal

Predators goalie Pekka Rinne came into Game 2 against the Ducks with a 9-2 record, a 1.41 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage. But he allowed four goals on 16 shots in the first two periods, his toughest night of the postseason. His bounce-back ability now will be a focus for Game 3 in Nashville on Tuesday.

Predators are fast starters

The Predators have set a definite trend in the series, starting quickly in Games 1 and 2. They had two goals in the first 8:32 of Game 2 on Sunday, again setting the Ducks back on their heels early in the game. The continuation of that execution is going to keep the heat on the Ducks during the series.

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