Some games, you just don't get the lucky bounce. This was that game for the Ottawa Senators. Three Penguins goals were scored on unfortunate bounces: the first a bad bounce off the boards, the second went in off of Erik Karlsson's skate, and the fourth goal came after the puck hopped over Jason Spezza's stick on the breakout attempt.
Despite letting in four goals, Pascal Leclaire can really only be blamed on one of them (poor positioning on a nice slapshot from Tyler Kennedy). In fact, Leclaire was one of the few positives for the Senators, as he kept them in it for a while by putting up some huge saves, including a quick glove on a Sidney Crosby breakaway. The Crosby breakaway can be blamed on the large number of turnovers from the Sens in the game, mostly due to the team being too cute at the Penguins' blue-line.
It's not as though the Senators didn't have their chances - there were plenty. Alex Kovalev had the puck bobble off his stick on an open-net chance, and the team couldn't cash in on any of their powerplays, including a lengthy 5-on-3 in the last five minutes of the game.
If there's one positive to take from the game, that the line of Spezza, Milan Michalek and Jonathan Cheechoo was really clicking. The three combined for the team's only goal, as Spezza stole the puck from Evgeni Malkin, fed the puck to Cheechoo, who made a nifty move past a defender, and passed it to Michalek who slipped the puck around Marc-Andre Fleury (who had a heck of a night for the Penguins). Michalek in particular had a great night at both ends of the ice, creating all kinds of chances.
I have to imagine that tomorrow's practice will feature a lot of dump-and-chase drills, as the Senators cannot afford to give up so many turnovers in the future. Also, let's hope Cory Clouston gives the ice crew at Scotiabank Place hell, because there's no way the puck should bounce so awkwardly on both teams with such frequency.
Peter's take: It wasn't a very pretty game, all in all. There were plenty of mistakes, with Karlsson and Kovalev being particularly soft on the puck, and the Senators' failed to shoot when the had their chances. Ottawa had 31 shots on the night, but few of them were of the impressive variety, and it seemed pretty commonplace for guys--whether it be Cheechoo, Spezza, Kovalev, or Shean Donovan--fail to shoot when they had a chance. I'm all for looking for a better chance when you don't have a shot, but it can get to be too much at times. It was a respectable loss to the defending Stanley Cup Champions, but I was still expecting better.
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