Friday, April 11, 2008

A good comeback wasted

For a portion of Friday night’s game, rumours of the Senators passing seemed premature.

Ottawa spurred on by three comeback goals in a row, looked poised to turn the tide against the Pittsburgh Penguins, announcing that despite all of their issues that they were on their way back in this first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Then once again, undisciplined play, an untimely penalty and an undesired power play opportunity for the Penguins proved fatal for the Senators.

Martin Lapointe was assessed a high sticking penalty late in the third period, a call that not only stopped the Senators momentum but once again sent the Penguins powerful power play unit out onto the ice, a most successful squad in this series so far.

Featuring the talents of a Crosby, Malkin, Sykora and Gonchar it would be the most unlikely of candidates that would seal the fate for Senators in game two.

With but 1 minute and two seconds left on the third period clock, Ryan Malone scored the go ahead and winning goal for Pittsburgh, the third power play marker that Penguins had marked down on Friday as they took a two game to none lead over last years Stanley Cup finalists.

Malone scored his goal on a warp around effort after Sidney Crosby collected Senator checkers and then slipped the puck over to Malone who went around the net unmolested.

Just as the cheers for his goal were dying down, he scored an insurance marker with six second to go, sealing the 5-3 victory and leaving the Senators in a very bad spot with little time to get out of it.

Pittsburgh despite their desire to let Ottawa back into the game, had a pretty amazing game of it, their high octane offence proving to be troublesome for the Ottawa defence, Martin Gerber, did his part in trying to salvage the Senators aspirations, facing 54 shots a new record for post season play. He single handedly kept his team alive in game two, and was probably more deserving than the fate of being listed as the goaltender of record in a 5-3 loss.

It was the second game in a row where Gerber was far too often left on his own to fend off a Pittsburgh attack, making for one of the key ingredients in the Senators now precarious state.

Unable to control Malkin, Sykora, Crosby et al though is proving to be a costly deficiency in the Ottawa game plan, all of the Pens big guns and many of their unheralded players are taking the play to Ottawa which has no answer at this time for the never ending attack.

History is not on Ottawa’s side when it comes to reversing a playoff series. In the past when down 2 games to none in a series, the Sens have opted to exit the playoff derby in all of the six previous instances. They get the first opportunity to rewrite that particular passage of Senators history on Monday when they host game three at Scotiabank Place.

Globe and Mail-- Malkin a force
Pittsburgh Tribune Review-- Malone's late game-winner rescues Penguins
Pittsburgh Gazette-- It's never too late
Ottawa Citizen-- Sens fall short
. Stats Pack

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