Ottawa Senators 1-4 Pittsburgh Penguins: A Game of Hits and Misses

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Ottawa Senators 1-4 Pittsburgh Penguins: A Game of Hits and Misses

Any kid who has ever played the Milton Bradley game of "Battleship" knows that it's all about hits and misses.

Take your chances, hope that some luck is on your side and sink the five opposing ships before they can sink all of yours.

Quite a basic concept really.

While the game can be entertaining if the shots are going your way, it can turn quickly to frustration if the luck is lost and you can't hit any ships no matter how hard you try. But shooting all over the place trying to find that pesky Destroyer can make you lose all hope in winning.

That about paints the picture from tonight's clash at Scotiabank Place. The Penguins not only brought their desire and skill to the table, they were also aided by a few fortunate bounces off the end boards.

On the other hand, the Senators couldn't have hit the starboard side of the U.S.S. Enterprise, as they nearly missed more shots than the ones that actually got through on Marc-Andre Fleury. Despite scoring first, Alexei Kovalev missed a wide open net off a rush that was merely a preview of coming attractions.

Tyler Kennedy scored twice in the second period and nearly had the hat trick on a three-on-one in the third that forced a terrific save from Pascal Leclaire. And quite honestly, if Leclaire hadn't brought his "A" game to the arena, the Penguins could have scored six or seven.

After an uninspired five-on-three for the Senators that created exactly zero scoring chances, Senators tough guy Chris Neil attempted to stir the pot, but like the Senators powerplay, accomplished absolutely nothing.

Thank you very much for the two points.

 

Goaltender

Fleury: 8. Played a nearly flawless 60 minutes to run his record to 5-0 on the season.

 

Defense

Eaton: 7. Was a game-high +3 and contributed excellent defense on the penalty kill, blanking the Senators power play on four chances.

Goligoski: 6. Showed good awareness for a young defenseman but was never involved much in the offense. Saw spotted time on the man advantage and couldn't crack the aggressive penalty kill of the Sens.

Gonchar: 6.5. Played more time in his defensive zone than Dan Bylsma would have liked. Took one of the strangest penalties of the new season after jumping in to protect Fleury. Nearly cost the Penguins when he turned the puck over to Jarkko Ruutu to the right of Fleury.

Letang: 7. Has taken a deliberate stick to the face and had his finger bitten in the last two games, but played like nothing had ever happened. Showed why he is more elusive than a number of forwards on the ice.

McKee: 7. Leads both the Penguins and the NHL in blocked shots and did his work on the penalty kill.

Orpik: 5.5. Played an uneventful 19 minutes of ice time.

 

Forwards

Adams: 7.5. Ray Shero looks more and more like a genius with every game Adams plays. He kills penalties, hits, blocks shots, and wins faceoffs. He'll even get into a fight if necessary. Registered his first two points of the season by assisting on Kennedy's double.

Cooke: 6.5. Played a great defensive game once again. Also proved to be a forechecking menace along with Jordan Staal.

Crosby: 7. Was held point-less on the evening but that didn't stop him from doing other things. Had a breakaway chance in the second period, only to see his rising shot barely deflect off the glove of Leclaire. His new one-piece stick has granted him the confidence to take more shots.

Dupuis: 4.5. Gave the puck away on a couple different occasions and quite simply didn't play close to his best game.

Fedotenko: 5.5. Took a couple shots and got involved in a scrum, a rare sight to see No. 26 in the middle of some pushing and shoving.

Godard: 4. Saw four minutes of ice time and had no need to drop the gloves.

Guerin: 7. Made the most of his chance. Although he initially made a mess of the play, he calmly snatched the rebound off the boards and dumped it past Leclaire for his second goal of the season.

Kennedy: 8.5. His first goal came off a deflection from a Senator defenseman, but his second tally sure didn't. He broke in alone on the right wing and blasted a shot past Leclaire from the circle. Chances are, the confused Senator goalie probably never even saw the shot.

Kunitz: 6. Picked up a convenient assist on Guerin's goal and delivered a few bone-rattling hits. And as the great Bob Errey pointed out, Force = Mass x Acceleration, and Psycho Kunitz's acceleration is as good as anyone on the team.

Malkin: 6. "Geno" was also held point-less and shotless for most of the game, but made his presence felt on the back check, most notably stripping Kovalev of the puck on a Senator advantage. Paid a tribute to Christopher Columbus by attempting to navigate through every player on the ice wearing red.

Rupp: 6.5. Before the season, he pointed out that making the adjustment from a trap-style defense in New Jersey to the upbeat Penguins offense would take some work. His work paid off tonight, as he continues to look more and more comfortable on the forecheck. Picked up an assist on Staal's goal.

Staal: 8. Did a terrific job in the circle and scored his third goal in as many games. His goal came in typical Penguin fashion as his forecheck caused another turnover in the offensive zone.

 

Next up for the 5-1-0 Penguins are the Carolina Hurricanes, a team they last saw in the Eastern Conference Finals. Since the Penguins swept the Canes away, the Raleigh faithful will be looking for some vengeance. But the Hurricanes had struggled, especially defensively as they have allowed 17 goals in five games.

But I think one Evgeni Malkin might have something to do with the outcome on Wednesday.

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