Senators fall to Penguins on Late Goal

A recap of the game between the Ottawa Senators and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After one game at home, the Senators took to the road again to play the hated Pittsburgh Penguins. I think this is one of those hates that Sens fans have that almost nobody else gets. It's a combination of so many playoff series vs. the Pens, plus the fact that whenever Ottawa plays Pittsburgh on Hockey Night in Canada, Sidney Crosby gets more attention than all Sens players combined.

The game got going pretty quickly. 16 seconds in, Evgeni Malkin got a partial breakaway that Craig Anderson turned aside. Shortly after, Chris Neil did something he hasn't done in years: aggravate an opponent into taking a roughing penalty. In that case, it was Malkin, and Ottawa was suddenly on the powerplay. Early into the powerplay, Zach Sill would catch Kyle Turris in the chest, following through up into the head. For me, it was a penalty but probably not a suspension. You can decide for yourself using the video below:

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Turris appeared to be injured on the play, going straight to the dressing room. However, he was soon back on the bench, which is either a good sign or really frightening concussion protocol.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Ok, I don&#39;t want Turris to be out either but how the hell is he back on the bench already? I thought concussion protocol was automatic?</p>&mdash; Feisty (@Fffeisty) <a href="">December 6, 2014</a></blockquote>
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Alex Chiasson stepped up to fight, getting the instigator, but Sill got a five-minute major for interference as well as an ejection. It meant Ottawa would get a brief 4-on-3, to become 4-on-4, to become an extended 5-on-4. Evgeni Malkin featured again in the period, coming out of the box, picking up the puck, and going in on a breakaway. When Malkin gets two breakaways in a period, he doesn't miss both. After tucking it in, he crashed into Craig Anderson, who was run hard into the net. The trainers came out and looked at Andy, and Andrew Hammond started to get ready on the bench. Thankfully, Andy was OK, and Other Andy could stay on the bench.

A minute into the extended 5-on-4, the Sens took a too-many-men penalty, sending the teams back to 4-on-4. It all just felt very Ottawa.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>The Sens managing to get almost no power play time out of a 5-minute major plus negating potential long 5-on-3 is one of most Sens things.</p>&mdash; Adnan (@sens_adnan) <a href="">December 6, 2014</a></blockquote>
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Mark Borowiecki once again made the case for Jared Cowen and/or Patrick Wiercioch to play instead, taking a needless roughing penalty for finishing his check on Simon Despres, then throwing him to the ice, long after the puck was gone. Thankfully, Ottawa killed it off. With 10 seconds left, Christian Ehrhoff fell over, then got his stick tangled with Bobby Ryan's skates, getting a tripping penalty. Ottawa was only down by a goal, was "only" being outshot 13-6, and would have a powerplay to start the second. Hopefully they wouldn't screw that one up.

Special teams would feature strongly again in the second period. On the leftover powerplay from the first period, Erik Karlsson would score by wristing it off Milan Michalek's stick, which means Michalek actually got credit for the goal. Beloved ex-Senator Rob Klinkhammer would then beat Michalek in a foot race and draw a holding penalty. Ottawa killed that off, only to see Marc Methot take a holding penalty. Two quick kills against a team like the Penguins seemed to energize Ottawa. First, Chiasson would cut in from the right with the puck and force Marc-Andre Fleury to stack the pads. Then Michalek would re-direct a point shot and get piled into the net. Finally, a pretty pass by Methot to Ryan turned into a great pass by Ryan to Mika Zibanejad, who rifled it home. The Penguins announcers were impressed by how easily Zibby handled the pass and how quickly he fired the shot off. Suddenly Mika had goals in consecutive games, and the Sens had the lead.

However, all good things come to an end. Our Dear Hammertime drew his second penalty of the night (hooking on Erik Condra) and the Pens' talented powerplay finally made the Sens pay. Brandon Sutter tipped a hard pass from Olli Maatta top-shelf for a pretty goal. The period ended tied 2-2, with Ottawa having a 14-12 lead in shots in the period. Being tied going into the third period had to mean good things, right?

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>During current 4-game losing streak, Sens have been tied or leading after 2nd period in each game - but have been outscored 8-1 in 3rd/OT.</p>&mdash; Ian Mendes (@ian_mendes) <a href="">December 6, 2014</a></blockquote>
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After what had felt like an exciting game, the third period was admittedly boring. Neither team had great chances. Ottawa got an early powerplay because Fleury decided to hit Erik Condra in the mouth with his stick, but after that the game was pretty uneventful. In the last two minutes, Pittsburgh decided it was time to win the game, and suddenly started dominating possession in Ottawa's end. A long cycle by Malkin's line was eventually cleared, allowing Ottawa to change just in time for Crosby's line to come and repeat the same process. Crosby picked up the loose puck and passed it across to Ehrhoff. Somehow in an even-strength situation, Ehrhoff was able to walk in from the point to the hashmarks, and then have what felt like the rest of the weekend to tee up a slapshot, with nobody ever showing up to cover him. Ehrhoff, to his credit, made no mistake, firing it just in under the crossbar, a shot Anderson would have no chance on.

That was it for the scoring. Late in the game, Ryan had a great chance after David Legwand threw the puck into the crease. Ryan picked up the rebound in the blue paint, but Fleury slid across and made a save with a combination of his glove and his left pad. Pittsburgh wins 3-2, final shots 33-29 for Pittsburgh.

Sens Hero: Craig Anderson

The three goals allowed: a breakaway to Malkin, a top-shelf powerplay tip-in, and a slapshot where Ehrhoff had ten seconds to walk in and set up uncovered. He stopped everything else. His rebound control has been great the last few games, and tonight was no different. Shots he couldn't glove, he would blocker to the corner instead. Definitely gave Ottawa the chance to win tonight.

Sens Hero: Mika Zibanejad

Don't look now, but Mika's on a two-game goal streak. His confidence seems to be on the upswing since scoring last game, and you could tell with the drive he played with today. His chemistry with Bobby Ryan seems to be growing. It's too bad MacLean stuck them with Legwand at the end, because Mike Hoffman has been a much better fit on that line. Still, Mika finished as the third-best even-strength possession player on the team tonight. (Legwand, surprisingly, finished second. So maybe Paul was just looking at the fancy stats? Probably not.)

Sens Hero: Erik Karlsson

He basically scored the powerplay goal, and looked to threaten all night long. He was also an absolute force, with 60.53% EV Corsi. It's nice to see only play 23:27 too, because Marc Methot can cover some of the tough minutes as well. Maybe as his ice time decreases, we'll see more of the dominant Karlsson of yesteryear.

Honourable Mention: Chris Neil

Finished near the bottom in TOI, wasn't a liability in possession, and goaded Malkin into taking a penalty. Throughout the rest of the game, he seemed to aggravate Malkin when they were on the ice together. I don't like Chris Neil playing for this team anymore, but this was the most effective I've seen him be in a long time.

Sens Zero: Mark Borowiecki

Took a stupid, stupid penalty, and a few other times abandoned the play to make the big hit. I have a hard time seeing why he plays over the two scratched left-handed defencemen.

Sens Killer: Marc-Andre Fleury

He had several robberies tonight, and didn't seem to get flustered. This goalie doesn't look anything like the Fleury we've come to know and love and not face in the playoffs.

Did you know?

The top line of Kyle Turris, Clarke MacArthur, and Erik Condra got zero even-strength offensive zone draws tonight. Looks like that's the new shutdown line.

Pet peeve: Name mispronunciations

I watched the Pittsburgh broadcast, and they couldn't get Borowiecki's name right. Fair enough, it's a weird spelling. But then why can nobody get Zibanejad's name right? It's pronounced exactly how it's spelled. You get press packages telling you how to say it. It bugs me so much that he's in his third full NHL season, and national broadcasters still say "Zi-bi-na-jad" or worse.

Shot Donut:

Game Flow:


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