Penguins get emotional win, series heads to Ottawa tied 1-1
Following Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to open up the series, Sidney Crosby admitted the level of hate wasn’t enough against the Senators.
In game 2 that surely ended and the series has the look of being an emotional one from here on out.
Ottawa scored 18 seconds into the game on a goal from Peter Regin who blistered a wrist shot past Marc Andre Fleury just inside the blue line but Crosby and the Penguins would stay composed, battle and get a must needed win Friday night as the series now shifts to Ottawa.
Crosby was the catalyst for Pittsburgh, scoring a first period goal off of a Chris Kunitiz rebound, preventing a goal mid-way through the third period and setting up defensemen Kris Letang with great individual play for the game winning goal with 4:12 left in the third as Pittsburgh prevailed 2-1.
“He was the best player on the ice and he showed what he is able to do. When they needed a goal, he made a big play, ” Senators head coach Cory Clouston said.
More talk after the game was not about Crosby’s first period goal or his game winning assist but his goal line save in the third period as Crosby prevented an Anton Volchenkov shot from trickling across the goal-line and giving Ottawa a 2-1 third period lead.
“I said a big,….thank you’ to Sid, ” Goaltender Marc Andre Fleury said, who made 19 saves in the win.
The “will” to win was there from Pittsburgh all night and the Penguins controlled the play for much of the game after the Senators took an early 1-0 lead.
Senators head coach Cory Clouston said that the Sens early goal gave them a false sense of security.
Pittsburgh outshot Ottawa 31-20 and outhit the Senators a staggering 52-31. Defenseman Brooks Orpik led the Penguins with a game-high 9 hits and set the tone early with an open ice on Senators star forward Jason Spezza who has been quiet in the series.
Pittsburgh played with urgency and looked like a team that didn’t want to fall down 2-0 in the series.
The intensity of the game went to a new level when Senators defenseman Andy Sutton leveled defenseman Jordan Leopold with an elbow hit late in the first period. Leopold was caught with his head down skating through the neutral zone and Sutton delivered a crushing blow.
Leopold laid on the ice for several minutes and did not return. He was suffering from concussion like symptoms after the game. There was no penalty on the hit and league officials say that Sutton will not be suspended.
Pittsburgh appeared to build that hate for the Senators, which Sidney Crosby had previously said they lacked, following Sutton’s hit.
There were numerous big hits from both teams in game, including scrums after the play and a Max Talbot- Zack Smith fight that happened just as the first period ended.
Special teams did not play a big part in game two after both teams combined for 4 power play goals in game 1.
Ottawa and Pittsburgh were both 0-for-2 on the night.
Marc Andre Fleury rebounded with a solid performance, making 19 saves in the win. However, Fleury was not tested much.
Pittsburgh played extremely well defensively, playing most of the game with 5 defensemen. The Penguins kept Ottawa to the permiter and limited their opportunities. Sergei Gonchar led Pittsburgh with 25:01 of ice time.
Fleury is now 9-2 in his playoff career following a game in which he allowed four or more goals.
Fleury’s counterpart Brian Elliott was even better in goal, making 29 saves in the loss. Elliott didn’t look rattled in game 2 and played very composed.
Game 3 is Sunday.
Notes: Winger Ruslan Fedotenko who had 7 playoff goals in 2009, was a healthy scratch for Pittsburgh.
Goaltender Brent Johnson missed Friday’s game due to an illness.