-Greetings on another beautiful day in mid-May. It's in the low 80s with few clouds and a little humidity. This isn't spring. This is summer. Dahntahn:
-The Penguins have a chance to get the always rare (for them) 2-0 series lead tonight against the Senators. For whatever reason, the Penguins just can't take that kind of advantage in a series in recent seasons. Part of us wants to blame it on the coaching staff just not adjusting to changes by the opposition (Remember how the Islanders broke up their first two lines in the quarter finals?) but we also realize that there is so much parity in the NHL these days. There isn't much of a difference between the first seed and the eighth seed. Getting a sweep is much more difficult these days.
-Craig Adams and Kris Letang did not practice today. The team won't address any lineup or health questions during the postseason. That said, everything seems to indicate they should be available tonight. Both players practiced yesterday seemingly without issue. Unless Adams had an emergency lecture to give at Harvard or Letang hurt his shoulder brushing his hair, we'd be shocked if they're not in the lineup.
-The same goes for Senators forward Milan Michalek who skipped practice.
-The Senators will be without Eric Gryba tonight. He appeared to suffer some sort of head injury during Game 1 when Brooks Orpik stopped him in his tracks with a body check. Gryba didn't have a great game, but his absence will make things easier for the Penguins around the Ottawa net. Gryba is a big boy who plays physical. His presumed replacement, Andre Benoit, isn't nearly as physical.
-Another replacement for the Senators is expected to be winger Guillame Latendresse in place of Matt Kassian on the fourth line. Like Kassian, Latendresse has size. Unlike Kassian he offers more scoring ability but nearly the same aggression. Latendresse will go to the net and offer a little more scoring punch than the ham-fisted Kassian.
-The Senators have talked a lot about going to the net the past few days following Game 1. They simply didn't do that enough Tuesday. They need to make life a little more difficult for Tomas Vokoun who made a ton of easy saves on shots from the perimeter with little traffic in the way.
-Craig Anderson needs to be better for his team to have a chance. He was okay in Game 1, but he needs to be nearly perfect for the Senators to advance.
-The Penguins appear intent on putting Chris Kunitz back on the left wing with Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis on the right wing. That would mean James Neal returns on the left wing with Evgeni Malkin and Jarome Iginla at right wing. Kunitz seems to benefit Malkin more than Crosby. Additionally, the Neal-Malkin-Iginla trio never seems to click just right. That said, any malfunctions that line has aren't nearly as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Neal-Malkin-Iginla have been fair but hardly great. If nothing else, they're a better line than any of the Senators' lines.
-If any Pitt basketball fans are at the game, you better hope Iginla scores. Before each game, the game entertainment staff at Consol Energy Center does a dry run with all their videos and sound clips just to make sure everything is working. It sounded like they have keyed up Bill Raftery's iconic "Send it in Jerome" call for Pitt forward Jerome Lane amazing dunk with broke a backboard at the Fitzgerald Field House 25 years ago:
-You can see the fake smoke collecting in the rafters:
-This looked like the first Douglas Murray Penguins jersey we've seen on Washington Place:
-Before most of its broadcasts, Hockey Night in Canada "collects" fans so they can read off a promo in segments. This cameraman lured in few Penguins fans as well as a handful of Senators fans:
-Fans entering the barn:
-Remember when the Penguins wore those purple warm-up jerseys which were auctioned off for charity? Well this guy bought the Steve MacIntyre one:
-Ogie Oglethorpe Syracuse Bulldogs:
-The jean jacket vest over the late 1980s Penguins jersey is a bold choice:
-There are a handful of Senators fans here. Erik Karlsson:
-And a pair of Chris Neil fans:
-A much better shot of a real life Douglas Murray jersey:
-Kris Letang Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Matt Niskanen from one of those "Black/Gold" scrimmages they hold in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton:
-Senators killer Gary Roberts:
-There's a bigger crowd for the big screen:
-Former Penguins and Senators goaltender Tom Barrasso:
-Jersey of the Night: Former Penguins/Senators forward Martin Straka:
-Adams, Letang and Michalek all warmed up.
-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik and Tomas Vokoun.
-Their scratches are Beau Bennett, Robert Bortuzzo, Simon Despres, Matt Eaton, Tanner Glass, Dustin Jeffrey and Jussi Jokinen.
-The Senators starters are Chris Neil, Jakob Silfverberg, Mika Zibanejad, Erik Karlsson, Marc Methot and Craig Anderson.
-Their scratcehs are Mark Borowiecki, Cody Ceci, Stephane Da Costa, Dave Dziurzynski, Derek Grant, Eric Gryba, Mike Hoffman, Matt Kassian, Nathan Lawson, Mike Lundin, Stefan Noesen, Jim O'Brien, Shane Prince, Matt Puempel, Peter Regin, Mark Stone and Parick Wiercioch.
-Jeff Jimerson does what he does best:
19:00: Iginla is on the left wing with Malkin at center and Neal on the right wing.
18:22: Malkin steals a puck on the left wing and deals a backhanded pass to Neal in the right circle. Neal has an acre of ice and a year of time to shoot but his release is wide to the far side.
17:02: Letang races for a puck in the left wing corner with Colin Greening. Letang sticks a shoulder into Greening and claims the puck. Letang skates it up ice out of danger.
16:44: Wow. Just wow. The Penguins take another ealy lead. Taking a simple pass in his own zone from Paul Martin, Crosby races up the left wing, fends off Silfverberg in the neutral zone then blows by Karlsson with a paralyzing move. He attacks the net and snaps off a wrister through Anderson and into the cage. Wow! That will be an iconic moment in these playoffs. We know Karlsson isn't 100 percent but he looked like Derian Hatcher on that play. Martin and Niskanen get assists. Crosby records his 100th career postseason point. The "Hey Song" is always iconic. Penguins 1-0.
15:32: Off a turnover by Martin, Zack Smith puts a wrister on net from the left half wall. Vokoun kicks it out and is cheered with "Vooooooo...." chants.
15:20: After Iginla steal a puck off Benoit on the right half wall of the Penguins' zone, he deals it to Malkin glides up the left wing on a one-one-one against Chris Phillips. Malkin elects to shoot and lifts a wrister which glances off the cross bar.
14:35: Marc Methot takes a pass at the left point and cranks a slapper on net. Vokoun eats it up. More "Voooooo...." chants.
14:11: After Morrow dumps Gonchar into the end boards while racing for a puck. Matt Cooke collects the puck from behind the net and immediately deals it back to Morrow who tries to jam it in by Anderson's left skate. Anserson holds his skate into the post and keeps it out. Gonchar gives Morrow the business afterwards.
14:02: The Penguins try their "quick draw" faceoff play. The great Joe Vitale wins a faceoff in the left circle. Kenned is directly behind him and snaps off a wrister which Anderson snags despite traffic.
13:39: Things just get worse for the Penguins as Kyle Turris is nabbed for holding Crosby. That's two minutes. Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Neal and Letang take the ice.
12:59: Neal lifts a wrister from the left circle. Anderson stops it with a thud.
12:01: Niskanen whacks a slapper form the left point wide to the far side.
11:44: Iginla releases a slapper from the right half wall which Anderson boots out.
11:37: As the power play expires, Iginla chops another slapper from the right half wall wide to the far side.
9:41: The Penguins get another power play as Methot held up Dupuis who was chasing for a puck up th e left wing. That's two minutes for roughing. Malkin, Crosby, Kunitz, Neal and Letang take the ice.
9:34: Another post for Malkin. He lifts a wrister from the right circle which hits off the near post.
8:41: After Letang loses a puck in his own left wing corner, Condra deals a pass to Greening in the left circle, Greening chips a weak wrister on net which Vokoun fends off.
7:41: The Methot minor is killed.
7:18: Karlsson collects a puck at the left point and whacks a slapper wide to the far side.
6:57: On a strong backcheck, Latendresse steals a puck off Malkin in Ottawa's right circle. Malkin gets his stick up into Latendresse's hands and is called for hooking. Great play by Latendresse. Crosby, Cooke, Martin and Brooks Orpik take the ice.
6:45: Ouch. Alfredsson controls a puck in the left circle then swings a pass down lot Turris along hte gloal ine. From th left o the cage, Turris is able to sweep a shot through the five hole of Vokoun. That was inexcusable to allow. Vokoun can't give that up. Alfredsson and Gonchar get assists. Fire Ray Shero. Penguins 1, Senators 1.
6:17: After playing a puck out of his left wing corner, Kunitz smacks Cowen into the boards.
4:57: The Malkin minor is killed.
4:38: Silfverberg steals a puck on the right wing wall of the Penguins' zone and puts it on net. Vokoun fights it off.
4:28: Turris snaps off a wrister from the right half wall. Vokoun gloves it and freezes play and that leads to a television stoppage to break momentum. The Penguins need a break here. Ottawa was controlling play in the offensive zone quite a bit.
3:53: Move over Ron Francis. On a three on-two rush, Crosby takes pass on the left wing wall. As Karlsson kneels down to prevent a pass, Crosby tosses a pedestrian shot at the blue paint. It clunks off Anderson's legs and into the five hole. Ouch. Anderson allows his own sloppy goal. Kunitz and Letang get assists. The "Hey Song is played" Penguins 2-1.
2:23: A wrister by Iginla is kicked out by Anderson.
1:43: Greening lifts a wrister wide of the cage.
0:22: Driving the puck up the left wing, Kunitz veers towards the slot and lifts a wrister on net. Anderson boots it out.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Senators 1.
-The Senators are lucky to only be down by one in this. The Penguins have totally outclassed them. If not for a few shots off the post, this is a lot uglier.
-What is it about Chris Kunitz? If you have him on your line, you score goals apparently. In Game 1, Malkin has Kunitz primarily and had two points. Tonight, Malkin doesn't have him and has two shots off the post.
-Outside of a few spurts by the Senators, most of this game has been played in Ottawa' zone.
-There really hasn't been nearly as much hitting in this game as there was in Game 1.
-The goaltending has been poor for both teams. The last two goals scored were inexcusable.
-Karlsson was defending Crosby on both of his goals and did not look good either time.
The Penguins lead in shots, 18-7.
-Iginla leads the game with four shots.
-Turris leads the Senators with two.
-Orpik leads the game with 7:41 of ice tme.
-Phillips leads the Senators with 7:17.
The Penguins lead in faceoffs, 14-9 (61 percent).
-The great Joe Vitale is 5 for 6 (83 percent).
-Turris is 5 for 8 (63 percent).
-No one has more than one blocked shot.
19:11: Another power play for the Penguins. Pushing a puck into the offensive zone, Sutter deals a pass from center point to Cooke in the left circle. COoke has a chance at the shot by Karlson hook his righ arm and forces the shot well wide. That's two minute sfor hooking. A rough game for Karlsson thus far. Iginla, Kunitz, Letang, Crosby and Malkin take the ice.
19:05: Off a faceoff win, Iginla booms a lspaper form the left point. Anderson eats it up.
18:54: Malkin feeds a pass from the right half wall to Letang at center point. Letang chops a on-eimt eon net. Anderosn eats up
18:45: Hat trick. Malkin controls the puck above the right circle then taps it to Letang at center point. Letang fakes a one-timer then swings a pass to Crosby above the left circle. Crosby takes the pass and chops a slapper which beats Anderson on the far side. It's a hat trick, the second of Crosby's career. Senators coach Paul MacLean has seen enough and pulls Anderson for Robin Lehner. Letang and Malkin get assists. The "Hey Song is plaed. Penguins 3-1.
18:05: Not so fast. Neil pushes a puck up the left wing and taps a pass to Smith at center point. Smith forwards a pass to Greening in the left circle. Greening races in on net and lifts a wrister by Vokoun's glove hand on the near side and hits twine. Ouch. Another bad goal by Vokoun to allow. Smith and Neil get assists. Penguins 3-2.
17:19: Michlaek tries to rush the puck up the left wing and is dropped by Orpik just insdie the Penguins' blue line on a hip check. There appeared to be some knee on knee contact but it was hardly malicious.
16:54: WOW!!!! Neal push the puck up the left wing on a mini two-on-one. He draws in Cowen taps a pass to Iginla driving to the net. Iginla has a seemingly wide open net but Lehner dives to his left and fights off the puck with his glove hand. What a save!!! That might save the game for Ottawa.
16:34: Letang and Neil mix it up near the penalty boxes. Officials send them off for two minutes. Neil is giving a cross check minor while Letang is nabbed for roughing.
16:07: Taking a cross-ice pass from Crosby, Martin is in deep on the left wing and snaps off a low wrister which Lehner fights off.
15:29: Methot snaps off a wrister from the left point but hias blocked Sutter.
14:50: Malkin has a chance on the left wing but his wrister is blocked partially by the stick of Karlsson.
14:04: This game is getting chippy. Battling for a puck on the left wing wall of his own zone, Malkin is hit from behind by Latendresse. Malkin crashes into the boards head first. Play is halted. Latendresse accuses Malkin of diving with a hand gesture. Officials aren't buying it and send him off for boarding. Kunits, Crosby, Letang, Neal and Malkin take the ice.
13:12: Battling for a puck in the Ottawa zone, Iginla appears to have the stick chopped out of his hands on the right wing wall by Cowen. No call.
12:05: Niskanen chops a slapper from above the left cirlce which Lehner gets a piece off.
11:56: Just as the power play end, the Penguins get their fourth goal. Colletin a loose puck which slides out to the leftp oint, Martin steps up and Hammers a one-timer which Morrow appears to re-direct it in. Lehner protests by signaling a high stick. Officials aren't having any of it. Morrow gets credit. Neal and Martin get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Outside, the top of the Gulf Tower downtown, which is normally a color coded weather beacon, is flashing red for the goal. Penguins 4-2.
-The Gulf Tower:
11:38: This is just keeps getting worse for the Senators. Neil is called for slashing Sutter. Another power play for the Penguins. Malkin, Crosby, Letang, Kunitz and Iginla take the ice
11:33: Off a faceoff win, Iginla booms a slapper from the slot. Lehner boots it out.
10:00: Whoa! Short-handed, Greening pushes the puck into the Penguins' zone and drives to the cage down the slot. Fending off Malkin, He goes backhand but is denied by Vokoun's left leg. Greening crashes into the cage and dislodges. Heck of an effort by Greening and a big save for Vokoun.
9:38: The Neil minor is kiled. The Penguins had a few chances.
8:53: Cowen swats a shot/apss from the right point. Michalek re-directs it on net from the slot. Vokoun fights it off to "Voooooo...." chants.
7:52: Chasing after a puck behind the Penguins' net, Cory Conacher tries to hold up Murray behind the cage. The results were similar to a monkey trying to jump on the back of a stampeding rhinoceros.
6:06: Off a cross-ice pass from Kunitz, Letang lifts a wrister on net from the right wing. Lehner gloves it.
5:17: Attendance is announced as 18,645. It is the team's 283rd consecutive sellout.
4:52: Off a faceof win, Engelland swats a one-timer from the left point. Lehner kicks it out with his left skate.
3:54: Picking up a loose puck above the left circle, Dupuis grips and rips a wrister on net. Lehner fights it off.
3:13: Martin races into the offensive zone, gains the Ottawa blue line at center point and veers towards the right circle. He lifts a wrister which Lehner fights off.
2:54: Another big save. Stealing a puck off Letang at the Ottawa right point, Conacher races up the left wing, gains the Penguins' blue line and attacks the net. Fending of Letang, he lifts a wrister. Vokoun goes old school with the double pad stack on and fights off. As Letang and Conacher crash into him, Vokoun is able to cover the puck and freeze play. Wow!
2:30: A one-timer by Niskanen from the left point hits Alfredsson stick and deflects into the end boards.
1:52: A backhander by Adams is off the mark.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 4, Senators 2.
-So many things are going the Penguins' way in this game. But there's still a sense of uneasiness about this lead. The Penguins have been sloppy at times. Fortunately for the Penguins, Vokoun was up to the task with some tough saves that period and the Senators just aren't fully capitaliizing.
-In comparison to last night's tight defensive affair between the Bruins and Rangers, this game has been all over the ice. Neither coach can be happy with the overall defensive play.
-If Colin Greening is your best player, that's a bad.
-For only having one secondary assist, Evgeni Malkin might be having his best game of the postseason. He's creating so much for the Penguins and has been strong defensively.
-Erik Karlsson is having a rough night. He was toasted by Crosby twice and took a penalty as well.
-Anderson just didn't have it at all tonight. Lehner seems like he's playing on adrenaline and came up with some tough saves.
-The Penguins lead in shots, 33-16.
-Iginla leads the game with seven.
-Greening leads the Senators with four.
-Gonchar leads the game with 15:42 of ice.
-Fire Ray Shero.
-Crosby leads the Penguin swith 15:19.
-The Penguins have a 28-23 lead in faceoffs (55 percent).
-Sutter is 8 for 10 (80 percent).
-Turris is 10 for 17 (59 percent).
-Martin, Sutter and Gonchar each lead the game with two blocked shots.
-Iginla recorded only one shift in the final 10 minutes of the period and none in the final 5:17.
17:59: What as that? After Benoit knocks Iginla off the puck on the right wing wall, Condra rips a wrister from the slot. It hits a body and rolls around. Vokoun is terribly out of position above the blue paint. The puck rolls to the right of the crease where Jean-Gabriel Pageau plunks it in for an easy goal with a backhander. Another poor effort by Vokoun. We have a one-goal game once again. Latendresse and Condra get assists. Penguins 4-3.
16:47: Orpik sklams Smith from behind into the right wing corner. Smith crashes into the boards. Neil goes after Orpik. Play is halted. Orpik gets a boarding minor. It's another inconsistent call. Sutter, Cooke, Martin and Letang take the ice.
15:24: Gonchar pounds a slapper from the right half wall. Murray kneels down to block it. Dupuis recovers the rebound and flings it down ice for a clear.
15:04: Phillips chops a slapper from center point and has it blocked by Sutter.
14:48: The Orpik minor is killed. Big time effort by the Penguins' special teams.
13:49: Crosby coasts up the right wing wall and booms a slapper on net. Anderson eats it up.
11:47: Kennedy snaps off a wrister from the left half wall wide to the far side.
10:53: HUGE save. Off a cylce by Crosby below the goal line, he dels a pass to Kunitz in the left circle. Kunitz booms a one-timer which Lehner fights off.
10:22: Neal snaps off shot from the left circle which Lehner fights off despite having Iginla parked int he blue pain.
10:13: Niskanen cranks a slapper from the left point which Lehner gets a piece off.
10:02: Iginla grips and rips a wrister from the right circle. Lehner fights it off. Lehner has come to play.
9:05: Karlsson tees up a slapper from the right point which is blocked by Iginla.
8:50: Neal steals a puck from Methot in the right wing corner of the Ottawa zone and taps a backhanded pass Malkin in the slot Lehner reads the play all the way and kicks it out. WOW!
6:08: Orpik smacks Condra into the Penguins' end boards while battling for apuck.
5:11: Crosby and Conacher collide in the slot. Conacher gets his stick up into Crosby's face. Crosby jerks his head back to sell the call. That's two minutes for high sticking. Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Letang and Martin take the ice.
3:11: Two minutes later, t he Penguins did little with that chance. They're content to sit on this lead.
2:55: Off a give and go with Kennedy, Suter lifts a wrister from a badla ngle ont he right wing. It hits off Lehner's body and bounces wide of the net.
2:09: Greening lifts a wrister from the left half wall. Vokoun fights it off but allows a rebound to his left. Phillips drives to the net but misses the puck.
1:56: Dupuis pushes a puck up the right wing on a partial two-on-one against Karlsson. He deals a pass to Morrow on the left wing. The puck bounces a bit and Morrow fails to get a shot off.
1:21: Morrow controls the puck down low in the left wing corner and pins it against the boards to eat some clock. Fans offer an appreciative cheer.
0:30: Lehner is pulled for an extra attacker.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 4, Senators 3.
-It's pretty easy to figure out this game. Look at the score sheet. The Penguins got goals from Olympians. The Senators got goals from borderline AHL players, mostly. The Penguins best players led the way for them tonight while the Senators' best players watched the bottom six forwards carry the offense.
-The starting goaltending was rough for both teams. Tomas Vokoun and Craig Anderson each gave up poor goals. the only difference was Anderson gave up more. Robin Lehner came in for Anderson and gave the Senators a chance. Paul MacLean would not commit to Lehner for Game 3 but it's hard to imagine him going to back to Anderson after that effort.
-Special teams weren't quite as lopsided for the Penguins tonight. In fact, they did worse from a percentage point of view than the Senators. The Penguins were 1 for 6 while the Senators were 1 for 2. That said, the fact that the Senators had to spend that much time on the penalty kill limited their offensive chance.
-That Sidney Crosby guy is good. The puck just found a way into the cage anytime he released it. It's amazing how much more freedom he seemed to have with Chris Kunitz back on his left wing.
-Even if he only had one secondary assist, Evgeni Malkin had one of his best overall games of the playoffs. He created so many offensive chances and was strong in his own zone. If not for a few bad bounces off posts, he has a more impressive game from a statistical standpoint.
-Erik Karlsson was brutal tonight. Just brutal. Head coach Paul MacLean even called him out. In response to a question about Karlsson only getting 15:37 of ice time, MacLean said, "On our team, the best players play. He didn't play well."
-Karlsson, who was toasted by Crosby on the game's first goal, was asked what happened on the play. With a scowl, Karlsson asked the reporter, "Are you blind?"
-We really liked the quietly strong game Paul Martin had. He recorded two assists but his best effort came in moving the puck up ice and in his own zone. He just seemed so confident and calm tonight.
-Brandon Sutter seemed to ahve a strong defensive game tonight. He blocked a handful of shots and had a solid game in his own zone.
-Colin Greening has been the Senators' best player this series. Good for Greening. Bad for the Senators. Greening has been strong on the forecheck and has created some issues for the Penguins by simply being relentless.
-This game wasn't nearly as chippy or physical as Game 1. Both teams showed a lot more composure.
-Stepping in for the injured Eric Gryba, Andre Benoit had a solid game. He offered a little physicality and was involved a bit on the offense. His hit on Jarome Iginla set up the Senators' third goal.
-The Penguins led in shots, 42-22.
-Iginla led the game with eight shots.
-Greening led the Senators with four.
-Martin led the game with 26:14 of ice time.
-Sergei Gonchar led the Senators with 24:16.
-Fire Ray Shero.
-The Senators had a 35-31 edge in faceoffs.
-Kyle Turris was 15 for 24 (63 percent).
-Sutter was 9 for 16 (56 percent).
-Sutter led the game with five blocked shots.
-Gonchar led the Senators with two.
-Fire Ray Shero.
-Crosby recorded his second career hat trick and the 12th in the Penguins' postseason history.
-With 102 points, Crosby surpassed Ron Francis (100) for fourth most in the franchise's postseason history.
-The only other Penguins player to record multiple postseason hat tricks was Crosby's one-time landlord, Mario Lemieux. He had three.
-Crosby also became the 84th player in NHL history to record 100 career postseason points.
-Brenden Morrow scored his first career postseason goal for the Penguins and his first since 2008 when he played for the Stars.