Bobby Ryan scores victor, Senators beat Penguins in overtime in Game 1

Rufina Vignone
Mag 19, 2017

To reach the Stanley Cup Final the Senators have to win four out of seven games against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the defending Stanley Cup champions who just beat the Washington Capitals, the Presidents' Trophy winners, in seven games.

If the Senators thought the New York Rangers had strong pushback in a 4-1 win in Game 3 of the last series at Madison Square Garden, they likely havent seen anything yet because the Penguins are going to come out with all guns blazing.

(AP Photo/Gene J.Puskar). Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) knocks the puck out of the crease against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs, Monday, Ma.

"We've got to just make sure we keep our eye on the right ball", Sullivan said. And then Phil Kessel made all that irrelevant. Ron Hainsey hit the crossbar early and Patric Hornqvist dinged the left post but that's as close as Pittsburgh would get to slipping one by Anderson.

Consider the message delivered.

Malkin tied it up at 14:25 of the third period when he tipped a Chris Kunitz shot by Anderson to break his shutout bid and get the Penguins on the board.

As is Ottawa's custom, once they gain even a one-goal lead, they try to wrap the game in duct tape - sealing off the neutral zone, chipping pucks out and away, dumping in and barely bothering to chase.

"Our players are really good at not fearing the outcome, and we play the way we play", Boucher said.

That's just Kessel being Kessel.

John Gibson stopped 30 shots, and Antoine Vermette had an empty-net goal for the Ducks.

Kessel's first shot smacked off Jean Gabriel Pagueau and came right back to him.

The Penguins dominated play for long stretches but couldn't solve Anderson until late in the third.

"I caught an edge, simple as that", said Anderson, who finished with 28 saves.

On that play, Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference patiently skated the puck up the center of the ice.

During the regular season, Letang played nearly five minutes more per game than any other member of the Penguins defence.

The Penguins have scored just four goals combined in each of their last four games against the Senators.

This victory, however, wasn't the byproduct of 60 minutes of brilliance.

Some of the Penguins did some of their own self-evaluations. At one point, Ottawa went almost 19 minutes without sending a puck Marc-Andre Fleury's way.

"We were pleased with the way we dictated the terms out there", Sullivan said.

Pittsburgh was undermanned most of the game after it lost two players to injuries in the first period. Even the Penguins themselves noticed the difference after the game between the Senators and every team they've faced so far in these playoffs.

A team can enter the playoffs as a longshot, lose their first game, endure early questions about their goaltending and yet, finish with nothing but superlatives about their netminding. He decked Penguins forward Bryan Rust into next week with a thundering, clean shoulder check in the first period.

How they did it: Ryan won it in overtime, the Sens' sixth overtime win in the playoffs. "What is said is received and we go out and do our job", said defenceman Dion Phaneuf. "You have to expect other guys to step up".

The Senators believe they're mentally and physically prepared for it, that they'll know what to do when they feel that push from the Penguins. "Those guys can play any game that they need to play to have success". They aggressively forechecked, they put shots on net and essentially lived in the offensive zone. "We didn't manage it as well".

The regular season was a bundle of frustration for Ottawa winger Bobby Ryan. A lot of credit goes to the way he played and was able to shut the door. Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger made a rare appearance at PPG Paints Arena.

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