Brenden Morrow hated missing Game 4 in Ottawa with an undisclosed injury.
“They’re all tough to sit out this time of year, it doesn’t matter if it’s the first game of the series or a game to clinch it out,” he said before Friday’s Game 5 in Pittsburgh. “They’re all tough to sit and watch. It’s a tough time of the year to be banged up.”
He was a game-time decision going into the contest, and it was ultimately decided he was healthy enough to play. He did, and took out all the frustration of having to watch the previous game from the press box in his first shift on the ice.
Morrow, who played left wing on the fourth line with Jussi Jokinen at center and Craig Adams on the right wing, was flying– hitting everything that moved and bringing a tremendous energy to the ice.
He translated that into the opening goal for the Penguins to get them started in dismantling the Senators for a 6-2 win to clinch the series.
With the puck moving from one side of the ice to the other, Morrow put his head down and skated in a straight line – right to the net. Matt Cooke won the puck on the boards and passed to Mark Eaton on the other wall, who centered it to the crashing Morrow. The puck deflected off his stick, then his skate and in, and after a video review the play stood.
“I actually lost the puck, and (Jared) Cowen skated by it,” Cooke said. “I stopped on it, ‘Mo’ drove the net and Mark was the late guy coming – late option. He was the easiest pass for me. He made a great pass to Mo and it went in the net.”
The goal, scored 6:25 minutes into the first period, was Morrow’s second of the playoffs and of the series.
His goal is a prime example of Pittsburgh’s unparalleled depth and how it has players who can all contribute on any given night no matter how the roster looks. The Penguins won Game 4 handily – 7-3 – without him, but he made a big impact once he got back in on Friday in Game 5.