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Aftermath: Senators 4, Penguins 3 3OT

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

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It took the Penguins and Senators 107:06 minutes to decide that another 60 (at least) will be needed to finish their quarterfinals series showdown.
Ottawa’s Matt Carkner helped the Senators avoid elimination and forced a Game 6 in Canada’s capital Saturday night when he scored at the 7:06 mark of the third overtime period, ending the fourth-longest game in Penguins’ history.
The Penguins knew Ottawa would open the game strong with their season at stake. The Senators caught the Penguins early and jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Head coach Dan Bylsma called a timeout to settle his troops down.
Pittsburgh responded by tilting the rest of the play in its favor. The Penguins eventually pulled ahead, 3-2, with less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation. However, Peter Regin scored to tie the game and force, not one, not two, but three overtime sessions.
The 47-plus minutes of overtime play were the most intense and thrilling that I’ve seen in a while. Scrapping the typical conservative approach, both clubs played to win. Each squad traded scoring chances, hits, shots, penalties, odd-man rushes and sacrificed their bodies in an incredible display of hockey.
But it was the Senators who prevailed in the end. Now the series shifts back to Ottawa for Game 6.
The Penguins were in this situation twice last season. Against Philadelphia and Washington, Pittsburgh failed on its first attempt to close out the series at home. But in both occasions they got the job done in their next opportunity. The Penguins are hoping history repeats itself Saturday night.
( Matt Carkner scored 7:06 into the third overtime to give the Ottawa Senators a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night, extending their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series to a sixth game.

One young Pens fan toughed it out through three overtimes
(photo by Getty)
What Went Well: Shots
The Penguins put the puck on the net early and often. They racked up 59 shots through the five-plus periods of play. But Pittsburgh also had 46 shots blocked and 20 sail wide of the net. In all, the Penguins sent the black rubber towards the goal 125 times. If you keep doing that, good things will happen.
What Could Have Gone Better: Falling Behind Early
The Penguins knew they had a chance to end this series at home with a victory in Game 5. They also knew that the Senators would open the game with passion as their season was on the line. Ottawa came out strong and took an early 2-0 lead. Head coach Dan Bylsma called a time out to address his team. The Penguins settled down after that and responded with a strong performance.
Bill Guerin didn’t look a day over 30 years old the way he was flying up and down the ice at full speed. The veteran winger looked like a rejuvenated man as he was beating players a decade younger to loose pucks and winning battles along the boards.
Guerin helped set up two of the Penguins’ three goals and has a four-game scoring streak (1G-5A). He finished the night with a team-high (tied) eight shots in 28:30 minutes of ice time.
Ottawa scored the all-important first goal with a power-play tally halfway through the opening period. Erik Karlsson took a shot from the far boards. The puck deflected twice, off the skate of Mike Fisher and then off the skate of Sergei Gonchar, before gliding over the goal line. Ottawa 1, Pittsburgh 0.
The Senators increased their lead with another goal just 1:08 minutes after taking the lead. Nick Foligno made a centering pass from behind the Penguins net. The puck hit off Alex Goligoski and Marc-Andre Fleury’s pad. The puck died in the crease and former Penguin Jarkko Ruutu slammed in the rebound. Ottawa 2, Pittsburgh 0.
The Penguins broke through with a man-advantage goal with just 1:55 left in the first period. Evgeni Malkin tried to pass the puck to Bill Guerin in the slot. He couldn’t get off a shot, but the puck caromed to Kris Letang in the far circle. Ottawa netminder Pascal Leclaire dropped to his knees, and Letang lifted a shot over his shoulder and into the net. Ottawa 2, Pittsburgh 1.
The Penguisn tied the game with 1:26 remaining in the second period. Sidney Crosby put a shot on net from the far corner. Leclaire made the save, but the puck was loose in his feet. Chris Kunitz took two whacks at the puck, knocking it into the goal. The net had been moving as the puck crossed the line, and the goal was initially waved off by the referee. But a review of the play indicated that the post never fully came off the mooring. Pittsburgh 2, Ottawa 2.  
The Penguins gained their first lead of the game at the 9:01 mark of the third period. Evgeni Malkin forced a turnover in the offensive zone, collected the puck and drove to the net. Leclaire stopped Malkin’s shot, but Crosby swooped in and snapped the puck into the netting. Pittsburgh 3, Ottawa 2.
Ottawa struck back just 1:23 after Pittsburgh took the lead. Karlsson found Peter Regin above the circles. Regin drove a slap shot into the near side of the goal to even the contest. Pittsburgh 3, Ottawa 3.
The Senators survive to play for one more game as Matt Carkner ended the game with a goal 7:06 into the third overtime. Carkner sent a shot on net from above the near circle. The puck hit Matt Cooke and re-directed under the arm of Fleury. Ottawa 4, Pittsburgh 3.
OT HIGHLIGHT: There was a scary moment two minutes into the overtime when the Senators appeared to score a goal. Jason Spezza put a shot on net and Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out the rebound. Nick Foligno kicked the rebound into the goal with his skate, and the referees waved off the goal.
OTHER OT HIGHLIGHTS: The Penguins were forced to kill two penalties in the first overtime session. Key moments was Matt Cooke’s stick check on Nick Foligno, preventing the Senators forward from tapping the puck into an easy empty net. Evgeni Malkin hit the post five minutes into the second overtime. With 4:23 left in the second overtime Fleury made a sprawling save on Foligno to the right of the net.
Kris Letang scored the Penguins’ first goal on a power play, but it was a marvelous shift by Ruslan Fedotenko, Jordan Staal and Cooke. The trio possessed the puck for nearly a minute in the offensive zone and created a number of scoring chances, including a wraparound attempt by Fedotenko where he nearly angled the puck into the goal.
Fleury made a clutch save 7:18 left in the first period and his team already trailing by a 2-0 count. Matt Carkner took a shot from inside the near circle. Fleury made the save, but Daniel Alfredsson took a hack at the rebound. Fleury did a split to get his right pad on the puck and prevent a 3-0 deficit. The Penguins got on the board minutes later.
Forward Tyler Kennedy did not play in the game due to a lower body injury he sustained late in the first period of Game 4. Ruslan Fedotenko, who hadn’t played since Game 1, took his place in the lineup. The Senators made a switch in net, starting Pascal Laclaire for the first time in the series.
> Scoring Summary:
OTT, M.Fisher PP (2), 10:25 1st period: Senators 1, Penguins 0
OTT, J.Ruutu (2), 11:33 1st period: Senators 2, Penguins 0
PIT, K.Letang PP (1), 18:05 1st period: Senators 2, Penguins 1
PIT, C.Kunitz (2), 18:34 2nd period: Penguins 2, Senators 2
PIT, S.Crosby (5), 9:01 3rd period: Penguins 3, Senators 2
OTT, P.Regin (3), 10:24 3rd period: Penguins 3, Senators 3
OTT, M.Carkner (1), 7:06 3OT: Senators 4, Penguins 3
> Pittsburgh now holds a 3-2 lead in the series. They will look to close out the Senators when the series shifts back to Ottawa for Game 6 on Saturday night.

> Head coach Dan Bylsma has an all-time postseason record of 19-10, leaving him three victories shy of tying Eddie Johnston for second place on the team’s all-time wins chart.

> Crosby now has an NHL-best 13 points (5G-8A) through five games. Crosby’s eight assists lead the league while his fives goals tie for the most.
> Evgeni Malkin picked up two assists and now boasts seven points (4G-3A).
> Chris Kunitz extended his scoring streak to four games a goal against the Senators. Kunitz has six points (2G-4A) during the stretch.
> Bill Guerin picked up an assist to run his scoring streak to four games with two assists (1G-5A).
> Kris Letang scored his second postseason goal of the playoffs.
1. P.Leclaire
2. M.Carkner
3. S.Crosby
“If you keep doing the right things you’ll get rewarded. If we do that we’ll get the result we want.”
- Sidney Crosby

Author: Sam Kasan

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