The Pittsburgh Penguins most hard path to repeating as NHL champions may have come in the semi-finals of the Eastern Conference when they ousted the league's best team during the regular season, the Washington Senators.
For the first time this post-season the Senators will open a series on the road, but with a 4-2 record away from Canadian Tire Centre Ottawa is hopeful to steal a game at PPG Paints Arena.
The Senators opened the Eastern Conference final according to coach Guy Boucher's plan by frustrating the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins - including holding them to 0-for-5 on the power play - as Bobby Ryan scored the victor to give Ottawa 2-1 overtime victory at the PPG Paints Arena. At times, when Ottawa forechecked well, Pittsburgh's defence spat out chances the way Pittsburgh cigarette machines spit out smokes.
T.J. Oshie said that he doesn't know about his future in Washington at this time, but would like to come back.
The Senators won two of the three regular season meetings, though their 2-1 shootout victory on March 23 was marred by a slash from Crosby on defenseman Marc Methot left the pinky finger on Methot's left hand mangled, forcing him to miss 10 games. "We've got to make good decisions". And after taking down the Stanley Cup favorites, the Penguins have to be on another level of confidence right now. On this night, the Senators were the better team.
Anderson then got to spend Mother's Day with wife Nicholle and their two children after doctors cleared Nicholle to travel while awaiting the next step in her battle against throat cancer. No, the Senators cant tempt this kind of fate very often but Anderson made a huge glove stop on a deflection by Patric Hornqvist on the fifth power play of the night. We think all of these guys are capable of helping us win games. "He's been our MVP".
The Senators and Penguins will play Game 2 here Monday at 8 p.m. "There's a lot of things we have to be aware of". "He's played so well for us and he's really at the top of his game".
The Senators come flying into Pittsburgh for a series that begins on Saturday, May 13. It's not entirely unfamiliar territory.
HollywoodLifers, who are you rooting for in this series, the Penguins or the Senators? The Penguins rallied to win in seven games, and beat San Jose for the franchise's fourth Cup.
"If you get caught up in all that emotion about how good you've done you're not ready for what you need to do and tomorrow is just a game that we need to play".
And maybe a slight adjustment of mindset.
Ryan's goal was a thing of beauty in a game with rare sparkles. The Penguins have had the upperhand over the Senators overall and has simply dominated the past contests that have been played in Pittsburgh. It wasn't an anomaly but the latest iteration of a troubling trend Sullivan has watched up momentum in recent weeks. "There's no excuses, it was a little different, a little tough shooting the puck and handling the puck, but that's the way it goes". Ottawa's out proving everyone wrong, possibly including themselves.
The Senators anticipate Pittsburgh tweaking its approach.
Anderson also held five teams scoreless-seventh in the NHL-and again, the team leader for the regular season, Braden Holtby finished a loser to the Penguins in the previous round.
The familiar position doesn't have them very concerned.
"If we traded (Fleury), we wouldn't be in this room right now", Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford said of the veteran, who was the subject of trade rumors throughout the season.