Four-straight goals are tough to overcome – especially against the Ottawa Senators.
The Pittsburgh Penguins faced that problem Sunday night as Ottawa posted a 4-2 win at Mellon Arena in Game 3 of their Stanley Cup playoff series.
The Senators lead the series, 2-1, heading into Tuesday night’s Game 4 in Pittsburgh.
“We just had some times where we made some mental mistakes and we paid for them,” Penguins center Sidney Crosby said. “We have better and we have to bring better.”
Gary Roberts punched in a rebound 52 seconds into the game. Colby Armstrong sent a cross-ice pass to Crosby on the far post. Crosby was able to drop the puck back to Roberts at the top of the crease. He flipped it past Ray Emery for a 1-0 lead.
However, the Senators scored late in the first and rattled off three second-period goals and added another in the third.
“We made a lot of mistakes with the puck in the second period that gave them opportunities they shouldn’t get,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. “We’re going to have to play a lot better defensively. We’re going to have to play a lot better with our transition game.
“I am concerned, there’s no doubt. This is three games in a row. We all know what happened in the first game and you thought we’d move on. Second game, we were not capable of playing 60 minutes and we were not able to have concentration for 60 minutes,” he continued. “We’re going to have to show more character than that. For me, this performance is unacceptable. To me, some guys, we haven’t seen them yet. Some guys, I am watching tape and they are on the ice, but they are not in the picture. Some guys are going to have to start to pick it up pretty badly.”
Ottawa’s Dean McAmmond swept in a loose puck with 1:56 to play in the period to knot the score at 1.
Mike Comrie slipped in a deflected shot 2:13 into the second period to give the Senators a 2-1 advantage.
Daniel Alfredsson’s wrister through a screen and sailed into the net with 12:40 left in the period for a power-play goal and a 3-1 Senators lead.
Alfredsson fired a one-timer past Fleury with 2:48 left in the period for a 4-1 Ottawa advantage.
Crosby sliced the Penguins’ deficit in half, 4-2, when he scored an acrobatic goal with 5:20 to play. Along the near boards, Evgeni Malkin sent a saucer pass to the slot and Crosby dove and swatted it past Emery. Mark Recchi earned an assist on the play.
However, the Penguins were unable to get any closer as Ottawa held on for the win.
Emery stopped 17 of 19 shots to earn the win, while Fleury made 21 saves.
“It was tough,” Fleury said. “It was good to be back home. Our fans were in it from the start. It was just tough.”
ICE CHIPS: Joel Kwiatkowski, Chris Thorburn, Georges Laraque, Nils Ekman and Alain Nasreddine were the Penguins’ scratches…Lawrence Nycholat, Brian McGrattan and Oleg Saprykin were the Senators’ scratches…The announced attendance was 17,132…Daniel Alfredsson (No. 1), Dean McAmmond (No. 2) and Mike Comrie (No. 3) were the game’s three stars.