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Aftermath: Penguins Advance In OT!

Saturday, 04.24.2010 / 11:00 PM / 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs Coverage
By Jason Seidling
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Aftermath: Penguins Advance In OT!
 

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QUICK ANALYSIS
Can you say déjà vu?!?!

Nearly one year to the day, the Penguins overcome a 3-0 deficit in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals to eliminate their opposition on enemy ice for a second straight season. Last spring it was the Penguins defeating the Philadelphia Flyers, 5-3, at Wachovia Center. On Saturday night the Penguins disposed of the Ottawa Senators with a 4-3 overtime victory off the stick of Pascal Dupuis 9:56 into the extra session at Scotiabank Place.

We could get into why the Penguins fell behind the Senators, but instead of rehashing the bad, let’s examine how Pittsburgh made its dramatic comeback.

First, you have to give plenty of kudos to head coach Dan Bylsma for a couple of lineup adjustments he made prior to the game. Bylsma inserted Dupuis onto the third line with Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke, and that line responded by picking up three of Pittsburgh’s four goals as Cooke tallied twice in regulation. Together that trio combined for six points (Cooke, 2G; Dupuis 1G-1A; Staal 2A).

Second, Bylsma dressed the recently-recalled Chris Conner to skate on the fourth line with Mike Rupp and Craig Adams. That unit was a forechecking presence all night, setting the tone for the Penguins’ domination over the second half of the game.

The score sheet says the Penguins won this game in overtime, but in essence it was the third period which propelled Pittsburgh to victory.

During the third frame the Penguins outscored the Senators, 2-0, and outshot them, 18-4. Only more sensational goaltending by Ottawa’s Pascal Leclaire prevented Pittsburgh from coming all the way back in regulation.

Pittsburgh will have a couple days off before beginning round two, as only they and the Philadelphia Flyers have secured spots in the conference semifinal round. The only team the Penguins are guaranteed not to play is the Washington Capitals. Possible opponents include the Flyers, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins and Buffalo Sabres. 
 
WHAT HAPPENED
OTTAWA -- The Pittsburgh Penguins have completed the first step toward repeating as Stanley Cup Champions.

Pascal Dupuis scored 9:56 into overtime on Saturday night, giving Pittsburgh a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators and a six-game victory in their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series.

Pittsburgh rallied from a 3-0 deficit midway through the game, forcing OT when Matt Cooke got his second of the game with 7:36 to play.
 
SHOT OF THE NIGHT

The Senators watch the Penguins celebrate Pascal Dupuis' game-winning goal in overtime
(photo by Getty)
ESSENTIALS
What Worked Well: Quick Response
Rarely do you see teams rally in a hockey game when they fall behind their opponent 3-0, but the Penguins did so with a vengeance on this night. Such a comeback was made possible when the Penguins sapped Ottawa’s momentum just 1:08 minutes after Daniel Alfredsson scored their third goal. Following Matt Cooke’s tally the Penguins took over the hockey game.

What Could Have Gone Better: Slow Start
One of the areas the Penguins will want to work between now and the beginning of the second round is coming out with better starts. Ottawa scored the opening goal in three of the six games, including leads of 2-0 in Game 5 and 3-0 in Game 6. The Penguins overcame their huge hole Saturday, but coming back won’t be as easy as the playoffs progress.
 
DIFFERENCE MAKER
 
Two men will share this honor following the Penguins’ dramatic 4-3 come-from-behind overtime victory over the Senators. Pascal Dupuis was the ultimate hero when he scored 9:56 into overtime to send the Penguins into the second round. Dupuis also picked up a helper on Matt Cooke’s first goal. The versatile forward finished the game with two points (1G-1A), five shots and a plus-2 rating.

Dupuis’ heroics were made possible because of a career day by Cooke. The feisty forward scored two of the Penguins’ three goals during regulation, his second and third of the series, allowing Pittsburgh to overcome a 3-0 Ottawa lead. Cooke got the Penguins back in the game 1:08 minutes after the Senator’s Daniel Alfredsson staked Ottawa to the three-goal lead midway through the second period. Cooke sent the Senators reeling into overtime when he tied the game, 3-3, 12:24 into the third period. Cooke also finished a plus-3 in 17:35 minutes of ice time.
 
SCORING SYNOPSIS
Ottawa struck first 5:19 into the first period as Daniel Alfredsson made a pass from the near boards in his own zone to spring Matt Cullen on a breakaway. Cullen skated in and tossed a shot over the stick-side shoulder of Marc-Andre Fleury, who went for the pokecheck. Ottawa 1, Pittsburgh 0.

Ottawa went up by two goals 1:51 into the second period as Chris Neil knocked a Chris Kelly rebound over the outstretched pad of Fleury. Ottawa 2, Pittsburgh 0.

Daniel Alfredsson gave the Senators a commanding 3-0 when he took a cross-ice pass from Cullen and beat Fleury to the glove side as Ottawa took advantage of a faceoff win in the Penguins zone midway through the second period. Ottawa 3, Pittsburgh 0.

Matt Cooke answered 1:08 minutes later when he cashed in on a rebound in front of Pascal Leclaire. Cooke was the third Penguin, following Pascal Dupuis and Jordan Staal, to get cracks at the rebound of Sergei Gonchar’s one-timer from the right point. Ottawa 3, Pittsburgh 1.

The Penguins got within one of the Senators on a power play midway through the third period as Bill Guerin walked into a pass from Alex Goligoski at the top of the left circle and blew a shot over the shoulder of Leclaire. Ottawa 3, Pittsburgh 2.

A faceoff win by Sidney Crosby to the right of Leclaire allowed Mark Eaton to pinch in and fire a shot from the left circle off the pad of Leclaire. Cooke was Johnny-on-the-spot to backhand the rebound into the cage from the top of the crease. Pittsburgh 3, Ottawa 3.

Dupuis sent the Penguins into the second round when he took a Staal centering pass from behind the net and zipped a shot from the left dot over the glove of Leclaire for his first goal of the postseason 9:56 into the first overtime. Pittsburgh 4, Ottawa 3.
 
INTRIGUING NOTABLES
 
Head coach Dan Bylsma shook up his forward units yet again. Chris Conner, who was recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Thursday, took Ruslan Fedotenko’s spot in the lineup and skated on the fourth line with Craig Adams and Mike Rupp. The rest of the Penguins lines looked like this:

Kunitz-Crosby-Guerin
Ponikarovsky-Malkin-Talbot
Cooke-Staal-Dupuis

Two more potential goals had to be reviewed by the NHL war room in Toronto, bringing the total number of reviews in the series to six. At 7:20 of the first period the Penguins Mike Rupp was robbed by the right pad of Pascal Leclaire, who kept the puck from crossing the line with a toe save. While some angles showed the puck possibly crossed the line, none of the available replays could confirm that the entire puck was in the net. Ottawa also had a goal taken away with 3:41 remaining in the second period. The Senators Mike Fisher tossed a Matt Cullen rebound under Marc-Andre Fleury, but the puck went in after the net came off its moorings.

While this one didn’t require replay, Pittsburgh had a second goal taken away at the 14:18 mark of the third period when it was ruled that Evgeni Malkin interfered with Pascal Leclaire as Alexei Ponikarovsky was throwing a shot over the shoulder of the Senators netminder. No penalty was called on the play as Malkin was pushed into Leclaire by a Senator. Malkin not getting a penalty proved to be a huge break as Bill Guerin scored the Penguins’ second goal 1:21 later.
 
GAME NOTES
 
> Scoring Summary:
OTT, M. Cullen (3), 5:19 1st period: Senators 1, Penguins 0
OTT, C. Neil (3), 1:51 2nd period: Senators 2, Penguins 0
OTT, D. Alfredsson (2), 9:48 2nd period: Senators 3, Penguins 0
PIT, M. Cooke (2), 10:56 2nd period: Senators 3, Penguins 1
PIT, B. Guerin PP (2), 7:03 3rd period: Senators 3, Penguins 2
PIT, M. Cooke (3), 12:24 3rd period: Penguins 3, Senators 3
PIT, P. Dupuis (1), 9:56 Overtime: Penguins 4, Senators 3

> The Penguins closed out the Ottawa Senators, 4-2, by winning all three contests at Scotiabank Place, where the Penguins now have a five-game postseason winning streak.

> Pittsburgh has now clinched five consecutive playoff series on the road dating back to last season.

> The Penguins improved to 13-11 all-time in Game 6s, with a 6-6 mark on the road. 

> Head coach Dan Bylsma improves to 20-10 all-time in the postseason, moving him within two victories of tying Eddie Johnston for second place on the team’s all-time wins list.

> Matt Cooke picked up the first two-goal performance of his postseason career, giving him four points (3G-1A) in the series.

> Pascal Dupuis, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime, notched his first two-point (1G-1A) effort of the postseason. Dupuis finished the series with four points (1G-3A).

> Bill Guerin’s power-play goal in the third period extended his scoring streak to five games. During the span Guerin has picked up six points (2G-4A). 

> Evgeni Malkin extended his scoring streak to four games with an assist on Guerin’s goal. Malkin has five points (2G-3A) during the streak.

> Jordan Staal picked up two helpers against the Senators to give him three points (1G-2A) over his last two contests.

> Defenseman Kris Letang celebrated his 23rd birthday on Saturday.
THREE STARS QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
1. P. Dupuis
2. M. Cooke
3. M. Cullen
"That goal at the end of the third period by Matt Cooke
gave us a big boost. In overtime, I think we kept
playing our game. We didn't force
too much, like we did last game."
- Pascal Dupuis

Author: Jason Seidling


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