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Aftermath: Penguins 7, Senators 4

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins

Coach's Corner | Sidney Crosby

Evgeni Malkin | Max Talbot
Photo Gallery | Game Highlights
Staal Excited To Be Nominated For Selke Trophy
Penguins Flip Script On Senators
Head coach Dan Bylsma likes to call each series a race to four. Following the Penguins’ 7-4 victory over the Senators in Game 4 they can see the checkered flag as they hold a commanding 3-1 series lead. 

In a game that was pretty close to a ‘must-win’ for the Senators, Pittsburgh came out and thoroughly dominated the first period, outshooting Ottawa, 14-6, and taking a 1-0 lead on an Evgeni Malkin power-play goal. If not by great play in goal by Brian Elliott, the contest could have been over within the opening 20 minutes.

However, the Senators unraveled in the middle frame, spotting the Penguins the first three goals of the period, chasing Elliott from the net. The Penguins picked up five goals in the period, establishing a new franchise postseason record for most goals in one period on the road. Ottawa did manage to pick up three goals of their own during that time, but they all came as the Penguins experienced a bit of a letdown which sometimes occurs when one team dominates another like the Penguins did.

Ottawa continued a trend which has evolved over the last three games by constantly losing their cool at inopportune times. Pittsburgh made them pay by going 2-for-7 on the man-advantage. Sidney Crosby was once again the best player on the ice, picking up four points (2G-2A), giving him 11 points (4G-7A) through the first four games.
KANATA, Ont. – Sidney Crosby continued his brilliant playoff performance, scoring 2 goals and assisting on two others as the Pittsburgh Penguins moved one win away from a spot in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Chris Kunitz had a goal and 2 assists, Maxime Talbot had a goal and an assist, and Sergei Gonchar dished out 3 assists as the Penguins topped the Ottawa Senators 7-4 in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series Tuesday night at Scotiabank Place.

Sidney Crosby watches Evgeni Malkin's shot sail past Brian Elliott
(photo by Getty)
What Worked Well: Agitating the Senators
Pittsburgh has done a ton of things well all over the ice in taking a 3-1 series lead on the Senators. One of the biggest areas they have succeeded is forcing the Senators to lose their composure. Three Senators who enjoy playing on the edge, Chris Neil (16 penalty minutes), Jarkko Ruutu (14) and Andy Sutton (4), have been totally taken off their game as Sidney Crosby and Co. have established themselves with a vengeance.

What Could Have Gone Better: Penalty Kill
The Penguins allowed the Senators to score twice on the man-advantage for the second straight game. Yes, both goals came when the Penguins were down by two men, but the fact is the Senators have gone 6-for-14 (43 percent) on the man-advantage in the series. It’s the only thing which has kept Ottawa relatively in this series.
This honor could be bestowed upon Sidney Crosby yet again and there probably wouldn’t be any arguments. Instead we are giving the nod to Maxime Talbot. Not only did the ‘Superstar’ pick up a goal and an assist against the Senators, he made sure to pick his points up when the Penguins needed them the most.

Talbot intercepted a Brian Elliott clearing pass in the corner just seconds after Crosby staked the Penguins to a 2-0 lead. Talbot quickly fed the puck in front to Matt Cooke for the goal which gave the Penguins a 3-0 lead and all but crushed the Senators. As Ottawa recovered and was in the midst of making a comeback, Talbot drove the net shorthanded and steered a Craig Adams pass behind Pascal Leclaire with one hand to increase the Penguins’ lead to 5-2. Talbot finished with two shots, a 4-1 mark on faceoffs and a plus-1 rating.
With the Penguins on a power play midway through the first period Sergei Gonchar laid a pass into Evgeni Malkin’s wheelhouse and the center fired a one-timer over the glove of Brian Elliott from almost the identical spot he scored in Game 1. Pittsburgh 1, Ottawa 0.

Pittsburgh increased their lead just under four minutes into the second period as Chris Kunitz won a battle to a loose puck at the top of the Ottawa zone and guided the rubber ahead to where Sidney Crosby could catch up with it. Crosby snapped a shot through the legs of Elliott. Pittsburgh 2, Ottawa 0.

The Penguins forced Ottawa to use their only timeout when Matt Cooke capitalized just 12 seconds after the Crosby goal. Elliott gave the puck away behind the net to Maxime Talbot, who found Cooke standing alone in the slot. Pittsburgh 3, Ottawa 0.

Crosby sent Elliott to the showers when he stormed down the right wing into the Senators zone and beat Elliott to the stick side with a twisted wrister from the top of the right circle off the rush. Pittsburgh 4, Ottawa 0.

Chris Neil stopped the bleeding for the Senators when he nudged a Chris Campoli rebound behind Fleury 54 seconds after the Cooke goal. Neil proceeded to take a needless roughing penalty on Kris Letang as he celebrated. Pittsburgh 4, Ottawa 1.

Ottawa breathed life into the home crowd at 10:59 of the second period as defenseman Erik Karlsson sent a cross-ice pass to Daniel Alfredsson at the top of the left circle. Alfredsson one-timed a shot into the back of the net before Fleury could slide across his crease. Pittsburgh 4, Ottawa 2.

Maxime Talbot quickly quieted Scotiabank Place when he picked up a shorthanded goal at the 12:38 mark of the second period. Craig Adams skated the puck down the left seam and threw a backhand pass to the net where Talbot re-directed the biscuit over Pascal Leclaire with one hand on the backhand. Pittsburgh 5, Ottawa 2.

Matt Cullen answered Talbot’s goal 41 seconds later when he converted a Jason Spezza pass from the far side of the net as the Senators were enjoying a two-man advantage. Pittsburgh 5, Ottawa 3.

Pittsburgh established a new franchise road record when they picked up their fifth goal of the second period with just 1:49 remaining in the frame. Crosby hustled after his own missed shot and centered a pass to a wide open Kunitz in the slot. Kunitz one-timed a drive into the upper corner for his first goal of the playoffs. Pittsburgh 6, Ottawa 3.

Another two-man advantage for the Senators resulted in Jason Spezza picking up his first goal of the postseason off a great setup by Karlsson 7:37 into the third period. Pittsburgh 6, Ottawa 4.

Jordan Staal finally rounded out the scoring as he picked up a power-play goal by tossing home the rebound of a Kunitz shot 12:27 into the third period. Pittsburgh 7, Ottawa 4.
Goaltender Brent Johnson returned to the lineup as the backup to Marc-Andre Fleury. Johnson was scratched from Games 2 and 3 due to flu-like symptoms. Rookie Brad Thiessen served as the backup to Fleury while Johnson was out.

The Penguins played a majority of the contest without the services of forward Tyler Kennedy, who saw just 3:37 minutes of ice time. Kennedy took a heavy hit from Andy Sutton behind the Ottawa net in the first period. Maxime Talbot and Mike Rupp split time with Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke in Kennedy’s absence. Head coach Dan Bylsma said after the game that Kennedy will be re-evaluated on Wednesday.

Brooks Orpik knocked a pane of glass out of place at the 7:56 mark of the second period when he drilled the Senators Matt Cullen against it in the far corner of the Penguins zone. There was a second stoppage one minute into the third period when another pane of glass had to be worked on.
> Scoring Summary:
PIT, E. Malkin PP (4), 11:50 1st period: Penguins 1, Senators 0
PIT, S. Crosby (3), 3:47 2nd period: Penguins 2, Senators 0
PIT, M. Cooke (1), 3:59 2nd period: Penguins 3, Senators 0
PIT, S. Crosby (4), 6:12 2nd period: Penguins 4, Senators 0
OTT, C. Neil (2), 7:06 2nd period: Penguins 4, Senators 1
OTT, D. Alfredsson (1), 10:59 2nd period: Penguins 4, Senators 2
PIT, M. Talbot SH (1), 12:38 2nd period: Penguins 5, Senators 2
OTT, M. Cullen PP (2), 13:19 2nd period: Penguins 5, Senators 3
PIT, C. Kunitz (1), 18:11 2nd period: Penguins 6, Senators 3
OTT, J. Spezza PP (1), 7:37 3rd period: Penguins 6, Senators 4
PIT, J. Staal PP (1), 12:27 3rd period: Penguins 7, Senators 4

> Pittsburgh now has a commanding 3-1 lead in the series. They will look to close out the Senators when the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Thursday night.

> The Penguins have now won five consecutive Game 4s. They are 21-24 all-time in Game 4 and 13-12 on the road in Game 4.

> The Penguins have won five of their past six postseason contests at Scotiabank Place dating back to Game 2 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. 

> The Penguins are 19-17 all-time in Game 5, including an impressive 12-5 mark at Mellon Arena. Pittsburgh has won two of its last three Game 5s at home.

> Head coach Dan Bylsma has an all-time postseason record of 19-9, leaving him three victories shy of tying Eddie Johnston for second place on the team’s all-time wins chart.

> Pittsburgh established a new franchise road record by erupting for five goals during the second period behind two goals by Sidney Crosby and one each from Matt Cooke, Maxime Talbot and Chris Kunitz. The Penguins had twice gone off for four goals in a period (4/9/81 at NY Rangers; 5/8/93 at NY Islanders).

> The Penguins and Senators combined to tie a team record for most goals by two teams in one period on the road with eight during the second period. Pittsburgh scored five times while Ottawa tallied three times. Pittsburgh and the New York Islanders each scored four times apiece on May 8, 1993.

> Sidney Crosby tied his single-game postseason high by picking up four points (2G-2A) against the Senators. Crosby also had four points against the Senators on April 11, 2008 when he picked up four helpers.

> Crosby now has an NHL-best 11 points (4G-7A) through four games. Crosby’s four goals are tied for second behind Detroit’s Henrik Zetterberg while his seven assists rank first.

> Crosby and Bill Guerin are tied for the postseason lead with a plus-7 rating.

> Evgeni Malkin scored his fourth goal of the postseason and his league-leading third on the power play. Malkin finished the game with nine shots on goal.

> Bill Guerin picked up an assist to run his scoring streak to three games (1G-3A).

> Sergei Gonchar finished the contest with three helpers, giving him six in four games to rank second in the league behind Crosby.

> Chris Kunitz extended his scoring streak to three games with a three-point night (1G-2A) against the Senators. Kunitz has five points (1G-4A) during the stretch.

> Maxime Talbot finished the night with a goal and an assist, giving him four points (1G-3A) in the series and seven points (3G-4A) in his last seven postseason games dating back to last season.
1. S. Crosby
2. S. Gonchar
3. D. Alfredsson

Author: Jason Seidling

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