GAME 3 FALLOUT
The Ottawa Senators are back in the series with a thrilling 2-1 double overtime win on Sunday night. Do the Senators have momentum in the series? I wouldn’t go that far, that was a game that could have went either way, and I still question whether Ottawa has the offense to win three of the next four games to win this series, but the way the Penguins loss is the type of loss where you give an inferior team life and the series can suddenly start tilting.
With two days off in between games, the NHL is really dragging this series out, all of the talk is centering around the Penguins collapse in the final minute of regulation when they held a 1-0 lead and were on a power play. The Senators scoring a goal in that situation would have been looked at as a miracle and that’s what happened as Daniel Alfredsson scored shorthanded with 29 seconds left in the third period to force overtime.
What went wrong for the Penguins? They went into dump and retreat mode.
In explaining the shorthanded goal against, Bylsma made no sense. First he said the Penguins were looking to have a possession power play there, but then he said in the same sentence that the Penguins needed to dump in the puck.
“We went to a possession power play there with the time, but we gave up possession with the dump in, which we needed to do,” Bylsma said.
Based on how the Penguins players played the situation, it appears they were instructed to dump the puck in and just sit back. If that was the case, that brings into the question as to why the Penguins best defensive players weren’t on the ice. On the ice for the goal were two centers, Evgeni Malkin and Brandon Sutter, winger Chris Kunitz and defensemen Paul Martin and Kris Letang.
The Penguins had no forechecking presence once they dumped the puck in and they let the Senators gain the offensive zone which is just inexcusable for the situation. Ottawa coming down the ice with 37-38 seconds left, the Penguins should have been aggressive in the neutral zone and forcing the Senators to dump the puck in, not gain the zone at ease.
Evgeni Malkin wasn’t the only player at fault on the goal as Kunitz never stayed with Alfredsson in the neutral zone and Malkin, Sutter, Martin and Letang all ventured towards the right side (defensive zone).
“They got some space with the change of goalie 5-on-5 and were able to come with speed and come into the zone there and were able to make that play and obviously tie the game up,” Bylsma said.