Sometimes, one bounce can prove deadly in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Ottawa Senators were the recipients of such a scenario Tuesday night en route to a hard-fought 2-1 win over the Penguins at Mellon Arena in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
The Senators’ break came on the first goal of the evening. Jason Spezza’s centering pass deflected off a Penguins defender, popped in the air and floated into the Penguins goal past Marc-Andre Fleury 3:25 into the game for a power-play goal and a 1-0 Senators advantage.
“I didn’t see it; I lost it in the air. It was just bad luck I guess,” Fleury said. “I lost it on the shot and it went up and I couldn’t find it and then it was in the net.
“The guys played hard all game. It was just too bad we lost.”
Pittsburgh’s Jordan Staal stuffed a rebound past Ray Emery with 11:52 left in the second period. Behind the net, Michel Ouellet sent a pass out to Staal at the bottom of the near circle. Emery stopped Staal’s initial shot and Roberts slammed it back into his pads. Staal crashed the net and flipped the loose puck into the goal for a 1-1 tie.
“It was just a playoff goal, I guess,” Staal said. “It was a scrum in front and Gary did a great job of keeping the puck there.”
Anton Volchenkov put the Senators ahead, 2-1, 9:12 into the third period when he wristed a shot past Fleury.
Despite a furious Penguins charge, Emery and the Senators held on for the victory.
“Emery played well and made some big saves. Marc played well, too,” Crosby said. “They both had good games. It was just a matter of whoever got the next goal wins and they did.”
The series shifts back to Ottawa as the two teams meet Thursday at 7 p.m. The Senators lead the series, 3-1.
“It’s tough to lose, especially when you play like that,” Staal said. “It’s too bad we didn’t start that first game like we did [Tuesday night]. We have to come back for the next game.”
ICE CHIPS: Joel Kwiatkowski, Erik Christensen, Chris Thorburn, Georges Laraque and Alain Nasreddine were the Penguins’ scratches…Jeff Glass, Kelly Guard, Tomas Kudelka, Lawrence Nycholat, Jeff Heerema, Brian McGrattan, Josh Hennessy, Patrick Eaves and Danny Bois were the Senators’ scratches…The announced attendance was 17,132…Anton Volchenkov (No. 1), Jordan Staal (No. 2) and Ray Emery (No. 3) were the three stars.