|The Penguins fell behind in the “race to four” after dropping Game 1 of the opening round series against Ottawa in a 5-4 setback at Mellon Arena. |
The Senators did a great job of collapsing their five players tightly around novice goaltender Brian Elliott. When the Penguins had open shots from the point, the Senators were able to block them.
Ottawa managed to establish a zone presence and twice took two-goal leads. The Penguins fought back valiantly and made it a one-goal contest. However, they just didn’t have enough to pull even in the contest.
|WHAT HAPPENED |
|(AP) PITTSBURGH -- Peter Regin and Erik Karlsson had goals in their NHL playoff debuts, and goalie Brian Elliott -- another playoff newcomer -- made 17 saves to backstop the Ottawa Senators to a 5-4 victory in Game 1 of the teams' Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff series Wednesday at Mellon Arena. |
|SHOT OF THE NIGHT |
Craig Adams celebrates after scoring his first goal since last year's Eastern Conference Finals
(photo by Getty)
|What Went Well: Power Play |
The importance of special teams is heightened in the playoffs. The Penguins power play came to play. The unit scored two goals in the contest, both from Evgeni Malkin, and went 2 for 5 in the game.
What Could Have Gone Better: Penalty Kill
Despite the great play of the power play, the Penguins finished even in the special teams battle, because they surrendered two man-advantage goals against. One of the goals was off an unfortunate bounce off the glass that is no way indicative of the Penguins’ play. The Penguins penalty killers have been playing unbelievable hockey lately and will likely bounce back strong in Game 2.
|Evgeni Malkin looked like a man on a mission. He always seems to find a way to elevate his game during the playoffs. Last year’s Conn Smythe winner got off to a great start with two goals, both scored on the power play, and an assist for a three-point night. |
|SCORING SYNOPSIS |
|The Penguins carried the play early and connected with a power-play goal three minutes into the game after Max Talbot drew a penalty. Sergei Gonchar held the puck at the midpoint with Sidney Crosby and Bill Guerin screening novice goalie Brian Elliott. Gonchar passed the puck to Evgeni Malkin at the top of the near circle. Malkin blasted a slap shot through the screen and past the helpless Elliott. Pittsburgh 1, Ottawa 0. |
Ottawa pulled even at the 8:45 mark of the opening period. Jason Spezza carried the puck down the far side and sent a shot on goal. Marc-Andre Fleury kicked out the rebound. Unfortunately the rebound hit Gonchar’s skate and died atop the crease. Peter Regin batted the puck into the goal. Pittsburgh 1, Ottawa 1.
The Senators gained their first lead with six minutes left in the first period. Anton Volchenkov took a shot on goal that popped into the air. Chris Neil grabbed the airborne puck, settled it on the ice and snapped a shot past Fleury on the short side. Ottawa 2, Pittsburgh 1.
The Senators scored a power-play goal on a fluke play just 1:20 into the second frame. Chris Campoli dumped the puck into the offensive zone off the glass. Fleury skated behind his net to play the puck. But the rubber hit a divot and fluttered into the slot. Chris Kelly deposited the puck into the vacant net. Ottawa 3, Pittsburgh 1.
The Penguins cut into the lead with a man-advantage tally halfway through the second period. Malkin had the puck in the lower far circle. His wrist shot hit a stick in front and re-directed into the netting. Ottawa 3, Pittsburgh 2.
The Senators opened another two-goal lead with their second power-play goal of the game. Mike Fisher took a slap shot from the midpoint. The puck hit something in front and caromed to rookie Erik Karlsson, The 19-year-old pulled the puck from his backhand to forehand and lifted it behind a prone Fleury. Ottawa 4, Pittsburgh 2.
Pittsburgh made it a one-goal game five minutes into the third period thanks to Craig Adams. The Harvard graduate, who went goal-less in 82 regular-season games this season, went wide around Matt Carkner down the far side. He then whipped a backhander over the shoulder of Elliott. Ottawa 4, Pittsburgh 3.
The Senators answered the Penguins’ goal with their own score 4:24 later. Neil found former Penguin Jarkko Ruutu skating down the near side. Ruutu sneaked a shot through the legs of Fleury. Ottawa 5, Pittsburgh 3.
The Penguins made it interesting with a late goal with only 2:24 left in the game. Crosby had the puck behind the net and made a no-look, behind-the-back pass to Alex Goligoski, who was sneaking down the far side. Goligoski snapped a shot through a Guerin screen and into the goal. Ottawa 5, Pittsburgh 4.
|INTRIGUING NOTABLES |
|The Penguins had great news prior to the game on the injury front. Three players returned to the lineup in forwards Chris Kunitz (undisclosed) and Matt Cooke (head injury) and defenseman Brooks Orpik (thigh laceration). All three missed the team’s final regular-season game, while Kunitz has been sidelined for the last four games. |
Craig Adams, who went goal-less in 82 regular-season games this year, scored his first goal of the playoffs. The last time he scored a goal was in last year’s postseason on May 26 in the Eastern Conference Finals.
|GAME NOTES |
|> Scoring Summary: |
PIT, E. Malkin PP (1), 3:03 1st period: Penguins 1, Senators 0
OTT, P. Regin (1), 8:45 1st period: Penguins 1, Senators 1
OTT, C. Neil (1), 14:08 1st period: Senators 2, Penguins 1
OTT, C. Kelly PP (1), 1:20 2nd period: Senators 3, Penguins 1
PIT, E. Malkin PP (2), 10:22 2nd period: Senators 3, Penguins 2
OTT, E. Karlsson PP (1), 13:14 2nd period: Senators 4, Penguins 2
PIT, C. Adams (1), 5:16 3rd period: Senators 4, Penguins 3
OTT, J. Ruutu (1), 9:40 3rd period: Senators 5, Penguins 3
PIT, A. Goligoski (1), 17:36 3rd period: Senators 5, Penguins 4
> The Senators take a 1-0 series lead.
> Pittsburgh went two for five on the power play.
> Evgeni Malkin scored two goals in the contest, both on the power play, and added an assist.
> Sidney Crosby posted three assists.
> Craig Adams scored his first goal since May 26, 2009.
> Sergei Gonchar notched two assists.
> Alex Goligoski scored his first career postseason goal.
|THREE STARS ||QUOTE OF THE NIGHT |
| || |
|1. C.Kelly |
|"It's a long series. We just have to go out there |
and keep battling.”
- Alex Goligoski