With the Eastern Conference Final even at 1-1, we preview Game 3 of the Sens series against the Pittsburgh Penguins which is set for tonight at Canadian Tire Centre at 8 p.m.
The Sens are no strangers to returning to Canadian Tire Centre after a loss in these playoffs as they suffered a pair of 4-1 defeats in Games 3 and 4 in the second round only to bounce back with a strong game in front of their home crowd. It's been that type of resiliency that Sens head coach Guy Boucher expects from his team as the Eastern Conference Final shifts back to Ottawa.
"It's the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Every game is difficult," Boucher said to the media yesterday from the team's hotel in Pittsburgh. "We're playing the best team in the league, we're playing the Stanley Cup Champions and every game is going to be hard fought. We're going to need everything we've got to win another game."
"Right now, nobody thought that we'd be here and we're still fighting. It's 1-1 and I can't be more proud of our guys."
The Sens have played well at home during these playoffs compiling a record of 4-2 during the first two rounds against the Bruins and Rangers and will be looking to feed off a ruckus Canadian Tire Centre crowd in Game 3 tonight.
"We have an opportunity now to head home and play in front of our great fans," said Marc Methot during his media scrum yesterday. "The building will be rocking and that's something that we're really looking forward to."
No concrete injury updates on Viktor Stalberg or Mark Borowiecki but the coach did confirm that they're both "closer" to making a return.
"They could be coming in at any moment," Boucher relayed on his injured players. "I'll talk to our therapists and see where we're at with that."
Video: May 16: Guy Boucher - Off-day Media
The Sens put forth another soild defensive effort on Monday night limiting the Penguins to just one goal for the second consecutive game. Unfortunately, that's all that Pittsburgh would need to even the series as they beat the Senators 1-0 in Game 2. Craig Anderson was marvelous in goal and turned aside 28 of the 29 shots he faced in defeat but the Sens offence just couldn't seem to get going.
Check out some of the great saves by Anderson and a few big hits by Dion Phaneuf in the full highlights from Game 2...
Video: ECF, Gm2: Senators @ Penguins
Sens to watch
I thought we'd look past just point totals today and focus on some of other statistics from this series. For starters, the Sens had some issues generating shots on goal in Game 2 and while Erik Karlsson is currently tied for the team lead in shots during the Eastern Conference Final it's a bit surprising to see him even with Jean-Gabriel Pageau at 7 shots apiece. Pageau also leads the Sens' forwards in shorthanded time on ice (3:01/GP) which seems about right but he's been playing an increased role on the power play in this series and is averaging 1:03/GP which actually has him ahead of Bobby Ryan (0:41/GP) and Mike Hoffman (0:33/GP). Sticking with Pageau, he also leads the team in blocked shots with 6.
The battle in the face-off circle has definitely been a story in this series and almost directly correlates to each team's success. Every goal so far in the Eastern Conference Final has been scored in a period where their team had the edge in face-offs. Take a look...
- 1st Period: Pageau scores / Sens won 54% of the face-offs
- 3rd Period: Malkin scores / Penguins won 76% of the face-offs
- Overtime: Ryan scores / Sens won 80% of the face-offs
- 3rd Period: Kessel scores / Penguins won 68% of the face-offs
The Red Zone opens at 5 p.m. and is staying open for tonight's game as well as Game 4 on Friday. Fans not able to attend the game can still cheer on the Sens from the Red Zone and catch all the action on the 10' x 20' screen.
Click here for more details about the Red Zone.
Can't make it to CTC tonight? Catch all the action on CBC and TVAS starting at 8 p.m. or if you are in need of a great spot to watch the game with other rabid Sens fans (besides the Red Zone) check out our list of official Sens Army Headquarters for the playoffs here.