If the Ottawa Senators are going to upset the Pittsburgh Penguins in their second-round series, things need to go differently than they did in Game 1 on Tuesday. The Penguins won 4-1 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Let’s discuss the contest.
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- Craig Anderson has been absolutely fantastic, but how much does tonight’s loss weigh on his shoulders? It’s hard to beat him up too much against a team that makes just about any goalie look bad? (Example: Pascal Dupuis’ 4-1 goal was a ludicrous snipe.)
- Speaking of Dupuis, he now leads the Penguins and NHL with six playoff goals. How much of his success is based on linemates? How underrated is he?
- Evgeni Malkin had another fantastic game. What are the odds that he’ll land the second Conn Smythe of his career this summer? Who’s your frontrunner for the postseason MVP early on?
- Tomas Vokoun looked shaky at times early on but only allowed a single goal. How much leeway is he buying for himself by winning three games in a row? Is he more trustworthy than Marc-Andre Fleury at this point?
- Don’t forget that the New York Islanders lost badly to the Penguins in Game 1 before giving Pittsburgh a serious run for its money. Can Ottawa get back into it? What does Paul MacLean need to do to get his team back into the flow of things?
- Zero points for Sidney Crosby tonight. Such a slacker.
The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.
In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).
Here’s his first goal of the night:
While this is his overtime game-winner:
It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.
The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.
October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.
November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.
Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.
More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.
Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.
Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:
… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.
(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)
Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.
You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.
Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.
Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.
You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.
It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.
Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.
Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.
Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.
Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:
Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.
If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.
Check out this incredible shot of that moment:
Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.