Let's face it: The Pittsburgh Penguins outplayed the Ottawa Senators tonight. They didn't need help from the officiating crew to win this game, but they got it anyway. It was a game where Nick Foligno could be tackled - literally - on the ice not once, but twice, with no call, but a clean Chris Neil hit on Evgeni Malkin results in a roughing call on Neil and a
game misconduct call on Jarkko Ruutu. Malkin's retaliatory whack at Neil was not called. It was a game where Matt Cooke took a run at Peter Regin and only got two minutes for boarding; Erik Karlsson would negate this call with a stupid slash 27 seconds later.
Those are the excuses... and none of them matter. Take those poor calls away and Ottawa still loses this game. Pittsburgh beat them to loose pucks. Pittsburgh won the battles for possession. Pittsburgh clogged the shooting and passing lanes. Pittsburgh made Ottawa dump the puck and then negated their forecheck. Ottawa had their chances. They didn't bury them. Pittsburgh did. End of story.
Who's going to step up? Peter Regin can't do it all himself.
Who's going to step up? Daniel Alfredsson? Kneeing Brooks Orpik isn't going to get it done, Alfie. That's bush league crap, and you're the team captain. You have to play better than that and you don't have to look further than Sidney Crosby to see what to do with your frustrations: You make the other team pay.
Who's going to step up? Jason Spezza? Shoot more, kid. Now is not the time to pass.
Who's going to step up? Mike Fisher? Matt Cullen? One goal is a start. Can you do it again? We need you. We need you all.
Put the panic button away: Reality check, Sens fans. You're only down one game against the defending champs. A few trickling pucks land differently and it's a one-game lead for the Sens. Anyone who gives up or writes off this team at this point is the most fair-weather of fans. The playoffs aren't some video game where you win 16 in a row by an average of four goals. It's about endurance, and losses don't mean a thing until you have four of them.
Hey, shut up: Hi, did you spend your money on playoff tickets to boo? If so, please contact me and either give me your tickets or the money you spent on them. It's been more than a year since you've sat inside that building for a game like this. And you boo Jason Spezza for a few bad passes? Shut up.
Sens Killers: Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby
They were really good. I suspect that they used their shadowy NHL government connections to somehow read my "Who's going to step up?" rant and used it to pump up for this game. Crosby looks unstoppable out there. The Sens need to start hitting him - hard - and take their chances on the penalties those hits might entail. The current plan is not working out so well.
Hey, shut up too: Peter Regin kicked it in. Yeah, he was trying to kick it onto his forehand. No, it doesn't matter what he intended.
Sens Zeroes: Andy Sutton, Matt Cullen
Sutton looked slow out there and not very physical. He must perform better and play on the borderline, because that's where he's at his best.
Cullen turned in one of the weaker two point performances I've seen. He, like many other players, was simply trying to do to much instead of playing Clouston's system.
Hey, shut up part three: Don't call for a suspension of Matt Cooke, regardless of how much of a thug he is. It's the playoffs. Let them play.
Sens Hero: Peter Regin
Seems to be the only guy on the top two lines that gets it right now.