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Aftermath: Penguins 2, Senators 1

Friday, 04.16.2010 / 10:58 PM / Features
By Sam Kasan

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QUICK ANALYSIS
After dropping Game 1 against the Senators, the Penguins didn’t want to fall down 2-0 in their quarterfinals series with the next two games to be played in Ottawa. However, Pittsburgh didn’t exactly get the start it wanted in Game 2 after Peter Regin gave the Senators a 1-0 lead just 18 seconds after the puck dropped.

The Penguins showed great mental toughness in shaking off the unwanted start. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside all 19 shots he faced after that, and Sidney Crosby stepped up to show why he is the best player in the world.

Crosby tied the game halfway through the first period, made a game-changing save late in the third period when a puck was gliding toward the Pittsburgh goal line and put on a skating display before setting up the game-winning goal by Kris Letang, and the Penguins prevailed with a heart-thumping 2-1 victory.

The series now shifts to Ottawa for Games 3 and 4 all tied at one game apiece.
 
WHAT HAPPENED
PITTSBURGH - Kris Letang will go down as the hero, but those who watched Game 2 of the Penguins' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series know who really won the game for them.
 


Sidney Crosby was magnificent in the third period at both ends of the ice as Pittsburgh evened the series with a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Friday night at Mellon Arena.
 
SHOT OF THE NIGHT

The Penguins celebrate after Kris Letang's game-winning goal
(photo by Getty)
ESSENTIALS
What Went Well: Physicality
The Penguins talked about creating a healthy rivalry in this series and then took the initiative in Game 2. Pittsburgh played a much more physical contest against the Senators, outhitting Canada’s capital 52-31. Brooks Orpik led the way with a game-high nine hits. There were a lot of post-whistle scrums. The Penguins didn’t back down and took the fight right to the Senators.

What Could Have Gone Better: Strong Start
The Penguins couldn’t have asked for a worse start. The team fell behind in the contest when Peter Regin beat Marc-Andre Fleury with a wrist shot just 18 seconds after the opening faceoff. It was demoralizing, but the Penguins shook it off and responded by tying the game just eight minutes later.
 
DIFFERENCE MAKER
 
Sidney Crosby dances around Jason Spezza before setting up the Penguins' game-winning goal. Getty Images
With Pittsburgh trying to avoid a 2-0 deficit in the series against Ottawa, the Penguins captain came through, as he always seems to, for his team. Sidney Crosby showed again why he is the best player in the NHL with an unearthly performance on the ice.

The Penguins fell behind just 18 seconds into the contest. Crosby pulled the team even with his first goal of the playoffs after driving to the net and finding a loose rebound.

With the score even at 1-1 late in the third period, a puck trickled past Marc-Andre Fleury and was creeping towards the goal line. Crosby dove to the net and whacked the puck out of danger with his stick. 

His best display came on his setup of the game-winner. Crosby was a one-man cycling machine behind the Senators net, doing two complete circles and spinning as Jason Spezza chased. He then found Kris Letang, who buried a shot from above the near circle.

Crosby finished the game with 20:16 minutes, five shots, three hits and won 68 percent of his faceoffs (13 of 19).
 
SCORING SYNOPSIS
Ottawa claimed the early lead just 18 seconds into the opening period. Peter Regin carried the puck into the midpoint and shipped a wrist shot that eluded netminder Marc-Andre Fleury. Ottawa 1, Pittsburgh 0.

The Penguins pulled even halfway through the first period on Sidney Crosby’s first goal of the postseason. Crosby started the play winning a faceoff just outside the Ottawa blue line. He pushed the puck ahead to Chris Kunitz, who made a great stick move and got around Anton Volchenkov. Kunitz ripped a shot off the arm of goalie Brian Elliott. The puck fell in the crease, and Crosby beat Jason Spezza there to bang in the goal. Pittsburgh 1, Ottawa 1.

The Penguins take their first lead of the game with four minutes left in the third period. Crosby danced behind the Ottawa net, making two complete circles, before finding Kris Letang atop the near circle. Letang sneaked a shot through a screen that beat Elliott high. Pittsburgh 2, Ottawa 1.
 
INTRIGUING NOTABLES
 
In a scary play near the end of the first period, Jordan Leopold was struck in the head while skating through the neutral zone by Andy Sutton. Leopold had his head down looking at a bouncing puck when Sutton came over with full speed and hit Leopold. Leopold’s body went limp immediately as he fell to the ice. The Penguins rallied to their teammate’s defense, and after staying on the ice for several minutes Leopold was able to get to his feet and skate to the locker room. He did not return in the game. No penalty was assessed on the play. Sutton was booed by the crowd every time he touched the puck.

Maxime Talbot helped fire up his teammates with a fight after the first period whistle had sounded. There was a scrum at the buzzer, and Talbot dropped the gloves with Zack Smith. Talbot looked like a boxing veteran, landing a blow, dodging a blow, landing a blow, etc.

The Penguins made two roster changes for the Game 2 contest. Mike Rupp was inserted into the lineup on the fourth line, along with Maxime Talbot and Craig Adams, as Ruslan Fedotenko was scratched. Goaltender Brent Johnson was also scratched with “flu-like symptoms.” Recent call-up Brad Thiessen was the team’s backup goalie.
 
GAME NOTES
 
> Scoring Summary:
OTT, P.Regin (2), 0:18 1st period: Senators 1, Penguins 0
PIT, S.Crosby (1), 11:15 1st period: Penguins 1, Senators 1
PIT, K.Letang (1), 15:48 1st period: Penguins 2, Senators 1

> The series is all tied at 1-1 heading to Ottawa

> The Penguins outhit the Senators, 52-31 and won the faceoff battle (28 to 22).

> Sidney Crosby scored a goal and setup the game-winner in the third period. He now leads the NHL in postseason scoring with five points (1G-4A).

> Kris Letang tallied his first playoff goal of the year. He also had three shots, five hits and four blocked shots.

> Brooks Orpik had a game-high nine hits.
THREE STARS QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
1. S.Crosby
2. K.Letang
3. B.Elliott
“He is a special player. He is probably the best in the world right now. … You have to give him all the credit tonight.”
- Kris Letang

Author: Sam Kasan

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