Game 4 Analysis: Desperation enters the Penguins Game
Is Mike Sullivan still being out-coached?
The Pittsburgh Penguins evened up the Eastern Conference Final with 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators in Game 4.
And in the process the Penguins started looking like the Penguins again in Game 4.
Pittsburgh outshot Ottawa 35-26 in the game and the Penguins established a more aggressive attack after feeding off some early saves from Matt Murray who answered the call.
Murray weathered the storm in the early moments turning away a barrage of chances from Ottawa.
Pittsburgh then began dictating the play.
They pushed the tempo and an Olli Maatta goal with 45 seconds left in the first period was an unlikely source for sure and a bad goal given up by Craig Anderson who was off his angle but the key development leading up to the goal was the Penguins ability to attack on the rush off a turnover created in their own end.
“I think our desperation was a little bit higher,” Sidney Crosby said as the Penguins play in Game 4. “That’s something last game that we felt wasn’t there. That was kind of a point of emphasis for us going into this game, a better start and little more desperation in our game, and with that we got some good results.”
Ottawa won Game 3 in the first period, Pittsburgh won Game 4 in the first two periods.
Pittsburgh outshot Ottawa 28-17 through two periods and held a 3-1 lead after two on goals from Maatta, Sidney Crosby, and Brian Dumoulin.
Senators coach Guy Boucher said it best after the game in that it’s a 2-2 series and the better team has won each game.
“They were the better team tonight, for two periods, and they deserved the game,” Boucher said. “We deserved two games and we got two games, they deserved two games and it’s 2-2. That’s how it is.”
Root for the Logo?
— Overall this was just a really nice complete road game performance for the Penguins. Sure, they got bounces and goals from some unlikely sources that might mean nothing moving forward in the series, but they created a lot of the bounces they got.
Upfront Sidney Crosby looks to be starting to find his game with a goal, assist and 6 shots in the Game 4 win, and the Penguins played with more speed throughout the forward group, especially in the bottom-6 with Carl Hagelin more noticeable with his speed game tonight as a foot injury has lingered him all playoffs and Josh Archibald being inserted into the lineup gave Pittsburgh another needed speed dimension.
The blueline had one of those nights where they came together again in having to play with five ‘D’ after Chad Ruhwedel was lost with a concussion late in the first period.
And at the end of the day, Mike Sullivan doesn’t look so crazy for going back to his No. 1 goaltender as Murray turned in a strong performance.
How fired up the fan base got over the goaltender decision and even the media, many in the Marc Andre Fleury media friends group is what makes sports so great.
There were some folks I heard from who were rooting for the Penguins to lose Game 4 so Sullivan would look bad for benching Fleury.
If Fleury’s always going to root for the logo and be as classy as he always is in putting the team first, then I guess every other Penguin fan should just sit back and root for the logo as the Penguins chase another Stanley Cup and have a great opportunity in front of themselves again this spring.