We can certainly question the wisdom of trying to “Katy bar the door” for most of the game, but they frustrated the Penguins top scorers quite adeptly-especially Phil Kessel.
The injury list continues to grow for the reigning champs in the Eastern Conference finals. But the circumstances for the next man to step up have become, well, ridiculous.
Game 2 of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ series against the Ottawa Senators was the Phil Kessel Show. None, again, went past him.
Braddock, who would not hear of changing tactics, let his troops get caught in a crossfire. Combined with the Senators penchant for clogging things up, the Penguins have had much of their speed game taken away from them. “We always find a way to win, even when we lose guys”.
“We’re a resilient group”. We’ve been there before. Credit Phil Kessel’s wrist shot with 6:55 left that provided the difference.
The Penguins have scored just four goals combined in each of their last four games against the Senators. They are healthy, but they are struggling to get risky chances against Pittsburgh. They didn’t get to that early on, trailing in shots 10-8 after the first.
Conor Sheary, who himself was concussed in the previous series, was angling toward being a healthy scratch before Patric Hornqvist was deemed unable to play during warmups.
It looked like a game where the Senators weren’t anxious so much about winning, but sending a physical message, and that charge was led by Dion Phaneuf, who had a couple of huge hits including one in open ice that knocked Pens forward Bryan Rust out of the game. Pittsburgh was more successful in their attack and Ottawa simply did not generate enough down low.
Added one Western Conference scout via text: “I think he will be fine”. He also shut out Washington in Game 7 of the Conference Semifinals. Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson said he played the famed golf course at nearby Oakmont Country Club on the team’s day off Sunday.
Schultz crashed into the boards in the first period and immediately went down the tunnel for treatment. “I saw him on the ice last night, and he’s composed”.
“I think it helps our overall team game”, Sullivan said. It’s definitely one of those.
His loss could be the biggest the Penguins face if he is indeed out for any period of time.
Rust is a good role player, but Schultz is a vital member of an already depleted Penguins’ defense.
The Pens have been able to survive without Letang.
Schultz had 51 points in 78 games this past season in a career year for Pittsburgh. He’s now their best offensive defenseman and had eight points in 13 previous playoff games while averaging 21:10 of ice-time per-contest. You want to score more.
Fleury, standing in his crease, had the best vantage point of anybody to watch the Penguins dominate the puck-possession game against the Ottawa Senators.
The result? exhausted legs. As a result Chad Ruhwedel ended up playing 21:25, Brian Dumoulin was over 26 minutes, and Ron Hainsey played 24:49.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Bobby Ryan are paying significant dividends in the playoffs after some admittedly lean times during the regular season.
The Predators also have been physical, and defenseman P.K. Subban said he thinks they’ve been doing a good job so far, particularly Johansen.
“Game 3, I think we understand they play at home”, said Malkin. The puck zipped over Fleury’s glove and suddenly Ottawa had the lead.
Kessel’s goal allowed the defending Stanley Cup champions to earn a 1-1 home split before heading to Ottawa for the next two games. “I think it brings juice to the bench”. Everybody has to play a little more minutes.
Now this series is going to get going in game three. “Both teams are going real hard, and you’ll have momentum shifts here and there”, defenceman Marc Methot said.
“We were pleased with the way we dictated the terms out there”, Sullivan said.
The whole episode was an enlightening look at a bench dynamic we don’t usually get to see, and at one of the many coaching duties that go beyond rolling lines.