-Greetings on an overcast but muggy day in Ottawa. It's a bit overcast with a few sprinkles and in the high 60s.
-If you'll indulge us, we went on a brief tour of Ottawa last last night. Parliament:
-Looking across the Ottawa River into Gatineau, Quebec:
-A walk way under bridge along the Rideau Canal:
-Downtown Ottawa reflecting off the Rideau Canal:
-Parliament over the canal:
-This Maintenant Ouvert place is now open apparently:
-All in all, we like Ottawa the city a lot. It's pretty walkable and bikeable and pretty safe, clean and fairly vibrant. The only draw back, from our perspective, is how far away this arena is from down town. Here's a map from Parliament (A) to Scotiabank Place:
-With good traffic, it takes roughly 25 minutes to get from downtown to the arena. You have to drive through farmlands and forrest to get here. It really has very little connection with the city other than a main highway.
-Former NHL tough guy Tie Domi has a phone commercial:
-These car flags are everywhere:
-There is a carnival out front:
-There are a few Penguins fans on hand:
-Tonight's giveaway towel has Chris Neil's pretty mug on the front:
-The press box/suite level has tons of cool photos on the wall including a reproduction of an Ottawa Citizen cover with former Penguins goaltender Ron Tugnutt:
-There are non-Senators photos too including a team photo of the 1980 United States Olympic hockey team:
-Part of the carnival includes a dunk tank:
-Getting to tonight's game. It appears Jussi Jokinen is set to return to the lineup and man the fourth line. Frankly, we wouldn't be surprised to see him all over the lineup. He has that ability to play in any situation. You will see plenty of Jokinen tonight.
-Brenden Morrow appears to be a bit of a question mark. We don't think he's injured, but he'd not 100 percent either. He has really put his body through a lot this this postseason already. He left practice yesterday and did not participate in a morning skate either.
-It's amazing how much a win can boost a team's spirits. The Senators had a much more upbeat presence to their dressing room the past few days in comparison to the first handful games of this series. In comparision, the Penguins have maintained a pretty even-keel throughout this series and the entire postseason regardless of wins or losses.
-The Penguins have been getting a lot of grief over the play which allowed Daniel Alfredsson to tie Game 3 and justly so. But give some credit where its due. Milan Michalek made a heck of a pass to set up Alfredsson.
-The Senators appear set to put Mark Stone into the lineup tonight in place of Cory Conacher on a line with Michalek and Jason Spezza. Stone has only appeared in four NHL games this season but had a fairly productive with the Binghamton Senators of the AHL by scoring 37 points in 54 games. He has a little size as well as a penchant for heading to the net. The Senators have needed a little more traffic in front of Tomas Vokoun this series.
-We'll have our normal collection of photos up eventually. The WiFi is still stinky here.
-The three most popular jerseys here are 1.) Erik Karlsson:
2.) Daniel Alfredsson:
3.) And Sidney Crosby:
-Once again, there are plenty of Penguins fans on hand. Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal:
-Crosby and Kris Letang:
-Mario Lemieux Dan Frawley era:
-And Mario Lemieux Tomas Sandstrom era:
-These guys flew in from Calgary to watch their former captaini:
-We hope these guys weren't allowed to board a plane of any time:
-A complicated relationship:
-Alfie is popular here:
-Jersey of the Night: Anton Volchenkov simply becaus he shook off a slapper to the head by Evgeni Malkin once:
-Brenden Morrow did not participate in warm-ups while Beau Bennett got some work work on the fourth line during warm ups. Hmm...
-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, CHris Kunitz, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik and Tomas Vokoun.
-Their scratches are Robert Bortuzzo, Simon Despres, Deryk Engelland, Tanner Glass, Dustin Jeffrey, Brenden Morrow and the great Joe Vitale.
-Bennett and Jokinen will certainly help the power play albeit on the second unit.
-The Senators' starters are Daniel Alfredsson, Kyle Turris, Jakob Silfverberg, Marc Methot, Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson.
-Their scratches are Mark Borowiecki, Cody Ceci, Cory Conacher, Stephane Da Costa, Dave Dziurzynski, Derek Grant, Eric Gryba, Mike Hoffman, Matt Kassian, Guillaume Latendresse, Nathan Lawson, Mike Lundin, Stefan Noesen, Jim O'Brien, Shane Prince, Matt Puempel, Peter Regin and Patrick Wiercioch.
18:48: The Penguins' power play gets an early chance to strike as Sergei Gonchar is called for interference against James Neal. Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, Crosby, Neal and Kunitz take the ice.
17:55: Taking a pass above the right circle, Neal chops a quick shot wide to the far side.
17:31: Well... that's not the starte the Penguins were looking for on the power play. The Penguins get sloppy with the puck and turn it over. Michalek takes a pass at the Ottawa blue line and is off to the races. Blowing by a flat-footed Malkin, he races in on the Penguins net and lifts a wrister by the glove hand of his fellow Czech Vokoun and gives his team an early lead. Yeesh. The Penguins looked half asleep on that play. Alfredsson and Benoit get assists. Senators 1-0.
16:48: Gonchar's minor mercifully comes to an end for the Penguins.
15:40: Jared Cowen drops Mark Eaton who is deep in the right wing corner with a strong shoulder check into the boards.
14:20: Off a steal by Malkin in the left circle, Malkin, Iginla and Neal each have a handful of chances but can't put one behind Anderson. One shot appeared to go off the cross bar.
14:03: Greening and Letang battle up the ice away from the puck. Greening gives Letang a one-arm shove to the ice. Officials give Greening an interference minor. Letang may have embellished that a bit. Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Kunitz and Letang take the ice.
13:49: Anderson came to play tonight. Crosby has a chance in the right circle but Anderson fights off his wrister.
13:41: Neal snaps off heavy wrister from the left circle which Anderson denies.
12:40: Taking a pass in the right circle. Letang holds the puck a bit before lifting a wrister on net. Anderson knocks it dead and covers.
12:23: A wrister by Crosby is blocked by Phillips.
12:03: The Penguins' power play comes to an end as Niskanen fails to keep a puck in the offensive zone. The Penguins look totally rattled with the man advantage.
11:05: A wrister by Stone above the left circle is blocked by Orpik.
10:36: Off a steal in the offensive zone, Jokinen lifts a writer on net. Anderson battles it away.
10:21: Dupuis thumps Karlsson into the right corner boards with a shoulder check. Karlsson responds with a shove back.
9:19: Wow.... Crosby coats up the right wing on a partial two-on-one against Marc Methot and cuts to the slot. He lifts a wrister which Anderson fights off. Crosby puts the rebound back on net and Anderson kicks that out too.
8:29: Benoit chucks a wrister from the right point at the cage. It hits a body in front and skips juuuuust wide to the far side. Yeesh.
8:23: Tyler Kennedy drops Greening with a heavy hit inot the left wing boards of hte Penguins' zone. Oof.
7:22: Malkin snaps off a wrister from the right circle. Anderson's right leg boots it away.
6:29: Turris lifts a wrister from the right point on net. Vokoun punches it away.
6:00: Anderson tries to recover a puck behind his net but Crosby sneaks in and lifts his stick to steal the puck. Crosby turns and deals to Martin in the left circle. Anderson is able to recover on the play and makes an easy glove save. What a play by Crosby.
5:09: Kennedy steals a puck at the right point and races at the net on a partial two-on-one. He elects to shoot but misses the cage.
5:04: Welcome back James Neal to the score sheet. After Iginla wins a faceoff against Zack Smith, Neals wins a puck battle in the right circle, creates a little spaces and rips a sizzling wrister by the glove hand of Anderson. It's Neal's first goal in forever and it comes at a big time. Anderson has been sharp thus far but he needs to make that save. The goal is unassisted. Penguins 1, Senators 1.
4:45: Murray thumps Neil on the left wing boards of the Penguins' zone.
4:01: Alfredsson rips a wrister fro the right of the cage wide of the net.
3:46: The Senators get it right back. Silfverberg lifts a backhander from the right half wall. Vokoun makes the save but allows an iffy rebound. Letang falls while battling for the rebound. With Vokoun on his back, Turris collects the puck and lifts it into the open cage. What a poor goal for the Penguins to allow on many fronts. Silfverberg and Karlsson get assists. Senators 2-1.
2:54: Iginla rips a wrister from the right of the cage which Benoit blocks.
2:48: Circling around the offensive zone, Neal lifts a wrister from the center point. Anderson fights it off.
0:05: Off a turnover by Malkin, Jean-Gabriel Pageau puts a wrister on net which Vokoun denies.
0:00: End of period. Senators 2, Penguins 1.
-Overall, that was a pretty strong period for the Penguins. They controlled play in the Senators' zone most of the period and had a ton of quality scoring. They just happened to make two huge mistakes which led to goals.
-Neal's goal aside, Anderson is tuned in. He challenging the Penguins' shooters quite a bit.
-Someone needs to get Kris Letang a warm glass of milk or something. He's been involved on both Ottawa goals.
-The Penguins' power play looked just rattled that period.
-It would be a stretch to say Jokinen or Bennett stood out a bunch that period.
-The Penguins have a 16-11 lead in shots.
-Neal leads the game with four shots.
-Turris, Michalek and Pageau each lead the Senators with two.
-The Penguins have a 13-8 lead in faceoffs (62 percent).
-Crosby is 7 for 8 (88 percent).
-Pageau is 3 for 7 (43 percent).
-Chris Phillips leads the game with two blocked shots.
18:52: And just like that, the Penguins tie the game again. Cherry picking a bit at the blue line, Kunitz takes a pass from Dupuis, turns towards the net and attacks. He moves in on Anderson and snaps a wrister low by Anderson for a goal. Heck of a pass by Dupuis. Dupuis and Letang get assists. Penguins 2, Senators 2.
18:12: The Penguins take their first lead of the game 40 seconds later. Off a cross ice pass from Neal, Letang snaps off a shot from the right half wall to the net. Anderson kicks it out but Iginla is able to tap in the rebond by Anderson's left leg for another goal. The Penguins seemed to make some adjustments during the intermission. Letang and Neal get assists. Penguins 3-2.
17:46: The Penginsg et another chance. Kennedy gets some free space on the left wing and lifts a wrister from the faceoff circle. Anderson eats it up and freezes play.
17:17: Bennett lifts a wrister from the right half wall. Anderson punches it away.
16:28: Silfverberg tries to chip and chase a play by Letang on the right half wall and is knocked into the boads by Letang.
16:15: Alfredsson hammers Eaton with a strong check behind the Penguins net but appears have lost a skate blade. He limps to the bench baldly and heads down the runway to the dressing room.
14:48: Sutter floats a wrister on net. Anderson gloves it. A small scrum ensues.
12:19: Neal appears to away with a hold on Michalek in deep on the right wing.
12:03: Karlsson snaps off a wrister from the right wing. Pageau stops the shot with his forehand then taps it by Vokoun's left skate with a backhand. It clunks off the far post. Argh.
10:05: A wrister by Cowen is denied by Vokoun.
9:42: Malkin attempts a wraparound which is denied.
8:38: Murray has a wrister blocked by Phillips.
7:15: Off a neutral zone steal, Alfredsson snaps off a sneaky wrister using Eaton as a screen from the left circle. Vokoun covers it up. Alfredsson jabs for a rebound. Crosby gives him the business afterwards.
6:26: Anderson denies a backhander by Martin.
5:39: Michalek and Phillips each have a few chances in tight but no dice.
4:34: Stone has a wrister denied by Vokoun.
4:28: Gonchar cranks a laser of a slapper from the slot wide to the right of the cage.
2:58: Turris has a chance with a loose puck in the slot but fans on the shot.
2:50: Niskanen appears to get away with a bit of hook on Turris on the right half wall.
1:28: The Senators get their first power play as Matt Cooke is called for slashing Greening in the neutral zone. Dupuis, Sutter, Martin and Orpik take the ice.
1:14: Phillips whacks a slapper from the right half wall which hits a body in front.
0:29: Spezza releases a heavy wrister from the right point. It sails through traffic and clinks off the far post. A few lights flash to signal a goal but an official immediately
0:09: Gonchar puts a wrister on net from the center point. Vokoun smothers it to freeze play despite a screen by Stone.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Senators 2.
-First things first. Kunitz has not recorded a shift since there was 7:45 remaining in the. There is no word on his status.
-The Penguins started that period like a totally different team. Something was said during that first intermission.
-The Senators have gotten plenty of shots on net but they aren't exactly high quality chances.
-We guess that Neal-Malkin-Iginla line is working.
-Anderson looked like he was fighting the puck a bit more that period.
-The Penguins have a 29-22 lead in shots.
-Neal leads the game with six shots.
-Turris, Neil and Karlsson lead the Senators with three shots.
-Martin leads the game with 16:42 of ice time.
-Methot leads the Senators with 14:58.
-Faceoffs are tied, 21-21 (50 percent).
-Crosby is 9 for 12 (75 percent).
-Spezza is 7 for 10 (70 percent).
-Phillips leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Murray and Orpik each lead the Penguins with two blocked shots.
-Signs are hard in Ottawa:
20:00: The Senators will start the period with 32 seconds of power-play time on fresh ice. Kunitz will start the period on the bench.
19:28: The Cooke minor is killed.
18:53: Gonchar is nabbed again. This time for high sticking Cooke. He really kind of cross checked him in the back of the head while battling in front of the Ottawa crease. Cooke sold it a bit. Crosby, Malkin, Martin and Letang take the ice.
18:01: James Neal. Goal scorer. Off some superb passing in the offensive zone, Crosby cranks a shot from the right circle off the end boards. The puck deflects to Neal to the left of the cage. He rips the rebound into the cage by the blocker of Anderson who was slow to react off the shot by Crosby. Neal has found his scoring touch. We wonder if Crosby was playing the bank there. Phillips deflected the shot by Crosby wide.. Crosby and Letang get assists. Penguins 4-2.
15:46: Silfverberg lifts a wrister on net from the left circle. Vokoun knocks it down with his glove and covers the rebound.
15:27: A wrister by Neal from the left circle is fought off by Anderson.
13:39: The Senators will get a chacne to get back in it with a power play. Niskanen hammers Stone into the left wing boards of the Penguins zone. Stone falls to the ice in a heap. He recovers to his skates and limps to the bench. Niskanen is called for tripping. Adams, Crosby, Martin and Orpik take the ice. This is do or die for the Senators.
11:52: Matt Cooke. Senators nemesis. Blocking a shot by Gonchar at the blue line, Cooke races after the rebound deep on the right wing of the Ottawa zone. He recovers the puck with a Gonchar in chase, sweeps behind the net and emerges on the left wing. As Anderson swipes his stick at Cooke on a pokecheck attempt, Cooke is able to deal a pass to Dupuis just to the right of the blue paint. Dupuis taps the puck into the open cage despite having Turris right in his grill. It's a back-breaking short-handed goal. Cooke made a tremendous play there. He gets the only assist. Penguins 5-2.
11:21: The rout is on. Coasting up the left wing one-on-one with Phillips, Crosby drags the puck towards the slot. Phillips falls to his knees and Crosby is able to lift a slick backhander by the glove hand of Anderson. What a display of skill. What happened to Phillips there? Anderson is pulled in favor of Robin Lehner. Kennedy gets the only assist. Penguins 6-2.
10:59: This just keeps getting better for the Senators as Neil is called for slashing Malkin along the left wing boards of the Ottawa zone. Crosby, Malkin, Letang, Neal and Martin take the ice.
10:12: Off some slick passing, Neal whips a heavy wrister from the right circle. Lehner dives to his right and smothers the shot.
10:07: The Penguins pile it on. This time the J.V. power play cashes in. Off a faceoff win, Jokinen deals a pass from the right half wall to Iginla in the slot. Iginla has his stick cocked and swipes a one-timer by a helpless Lehner. That was pretty. Jokinen and Letang get assists. Penguins 7-2.
8:39: Bennett is manning Kunitz' spot on the first line with Dupuis and Crosby.
6:48: Another power play for the Senators as Martin is called for slashing Turris. Adams, Dupuis, Murray and Orpik take the ice.
5:16: The Senators get one back. Their captain isn't going down with out a fight. After Letang makes a poor clearing attempt from behind the net, Karlsson settles the puck at the right point and swats a slapper to the crease. Alfredsson reaches out and deflects it behind Vokoun. Karlsson gets the only assist. Penguins 7-3.
4:35: Another power play for the Senators. Jokinen is called for slashing. Orpik, Dupuis, Adams and Martin take the ice.
4:31: That power play lasts all of four seconds as Alfredsson is called for holding Oprik behind the cage. He appeared to hook up Orpik who fell with little resistance. Four on four for 1:56.
3:37: Orpik and the Penguins play keep away with the puck in their own zone. Orpik is heckled anytime he touches it.
2:39: Methot chucks a wrister fom the left point which deflects wide.
2:31: Play returns to five on five.
2:25: Malkin spins off a check in the right circle and whips a wrister which hits a body and hops on net. Lehner fight sit off. Jokinen has a chance at the rebound but can't get a clean shot off.
0:40: The Senators fans who remain offer a standing ovation for their team as they know this might be the last home game of the season.
0:00: End of game. Senators 7, Penguins 3.
-First things first, there is no update on the status of Chris Kunitz. He recorded only 2 shifts in the 3rd period and none past 13:39 remaining in game. If he is injured, we suppose the luxury of sitting him was available with a huge lead in the third period.
-After the game, Paul MacLean did something we've never seen a coach do before. He came to this press conference holding a copy of the score sheet in his hand. He held it up and said, "7-3. Everything is right here and he pointed to the page. MacLean then sort of pointed to the media members and said, "See you in Pittsburgh. We're going to Pittsburgh, and we're coming to play. Have a good night." After that, MacLean walked out without fielding a question.
-Seriously, watch this thing:
-Daniel Alfredsson had a very different take on things. When asked if his team could win three consecituve games against the Penguins, He simply said, "Probably not. They have too much depth."
-Suffice it to say, things are a tad messy for the Senators at the moment.
-Nothing is messy with the Penguins who came back from a rough start and routed the Senators. They adjusted something in the first intermission and just took over the game with their superior talent. The Penguins weren't at their best, but they were pretty darn close and it was impressive.
-What an up and down game for Kris Letang. He was directly involved in all three Ottawa goals but recorded four assists which tied a franchise record for a postseason game. (The record had been set eight times previously). It was hit or miss for Letang tonight. Thankfully for the Penguins, it was mostly hit.
-James Neal and Jarome Iginla found the net. Both of Neal's goals and Iginla's first score came in key moments in the game. The Penguins need them to score in order to reach their ultimate games.
-Paul Martin did have a single point tonight but he might have been the Penguins' best player overall. He was all over his own zone and just kept things calm and composed when he was on the ice. The fact that Letang was the first star and Martin wasn't even recognized just illustrated how bogus of an "honor" the three stars are.
-Tomas Vokoun was strong. He allowed one iffy goal but he held the Senators at bay during their spurts off offensive activity. He earned a win tonight.
-Craig Anderson was strong early on but eventually the Penguins just broke him.
-Matt Cooke keeps endearing himself to the Senators huh? He had a tremendous play to create Pascal Dupuis' short-handed goal which proved to be a back breaker. And he tormented the Senators players with his usual antics.
-Brooks Orpik's strong play continued. He had a few strong hits as well as a few strong positional plays. He has been outstanding this series.
-Jussi Jokinen and Beau Bennett weren't huge contributors but the Penguins seemed to have a little more life throughout the entire lineup as a result of their returns.
-Plus/minus is a bogus stat but Sergei Gonchar was a minus-4. Oof.
-The Penguins led in shots, 42-33.
-Neal led the game with nine shots.
-Silfverberg and Karlsson led the Senators with five.
-Karlsson led the game with 25:05.
-Orpik led the Penguins with 23:42.
-The Penguins led the game in faceoffs 34-31 (52 percent).
-Spezza was 11 for 17 (55 percent).
-Crosby was 13 for 20 (65 percent).
-Phillips led the game with five blocked shots.
-Orpik led the Penguins with four.