The Pittsburgh Penguins got a standout performance from their best player – and arguably the best player on the planet – and then held on to beat the Ottawa Senators by a final score of 4-3 on Friday.
The Penguins, the top regular season team in the Eastern Conference, now lead the best-of-seven semifinal 2-0.
Some discussion points:
- Sidney Crosby brought the hats pouring to the ice Friday. The Penguins’ captain recorded the hat trick, and the game wasn’t even 22 minutes old.
- Crosby’s first goal of the evening was also his 100th career playoff point. His 101st point – the second goal of the evening for him, also moved him past Ron Francis and into fourth on the Penguins’ all-time playoff points list, as per @PensInsideScoop. By the way, he’s just 25 years of age.
- Senators’ goalie Craig Anderson was pulled following Crosby’s third goal of the evening, which came 1:15 into the second period.
- Robin Lehner came into the game for Anderson. He made 20 saves. Is there a goaltending switch to be made for Game 3?
- Ottawa’s talented defenseman Erik Karlsson struggled Friday. He was a minus-two in the loss.
- The Senators had just six shots on net in the third period, as they were pressing for the equalizer.
Mike Babcock’s reign with the Detroit Red Wings ended in another first-round defeat, yet it may be lost in time just how close that series was.
Yes, the Tampa Bay Lightning shut down the Red Wings to win Game 7 at home, but Ben Bishop deserves a ton of the credit. The Red Wings snagged the puck for much of the contest, just not enough to beat the big goalie.
While change is in the air in Detroit, the Bolts are largely the same squad that generated a nice showing in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. We’ll get to see if the Red Wings gain a measure of revenge on NBCSN tonight, with home-ice advantage this time around.
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”