They were so close.
The Pittsburgh Penguins had a one-goal lead and, thanks to an Erik Karlsson slashing penalty, a power play with 1:27 remaining in the third period. All they had to do was hold on, and the Penguins would’ve secured a 3-0 series lead over the Ottawa Senators.
Instead, with Senators’ goalie Craig Anderson pulled for the extra attacker, Daniel Alfredsson scored a short-handed goal with 29 seconds remaining in regulation time to pull Ottawa into a 1-1 tie.
Alfredsson, who was left all alone to go to the front of the net, one-timed home a beautiful pass from Milan Michalek.
I was sitting in the penalty box feeling pretty sad,” Karlsson told NHL Network, as per NHL.com.
“But that’s why he’s our captain. He really went hard to the net and in the end he was all alone and he made a great play and he put it behind them.”
The Senators would later win Game 3 in double overtime, cutting Pittsburgh’s series lead to 2-1.
A lead – even if it was of the slim, one-goal variety – and a late-game power play for the Eastern Conference’s top regular season team should’ve been enough for the Penguins to close this one out. Right? Wrong.
“We had two defensemen on the ice, and we were thinking about halfway through a change with the forward line,” Penguins’ head coach Dan Bylsma told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
“They had their goalie pulled, so it was five skaters apiece. It’s a situation where they were able to make a play that created a big gap in our group.”