Everybody’s working for the weekend, including the Ottawa Senators, who just wanted to be playing once the week’s end came. If that was to be the case, Ottawa needed to beat the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Last time around, the Pens routed the Sens. Would Ottawa bounce back? Or would Pittsburgh move on to await the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals? Deal with it, Rangers fans.
Things didn’t start off well for Ottawa, as Brenden Morrow opened the scoring with the sole goal of the first period. In the second, James Neal poked a puck into the net on the power play after Craig Anderson stepped on it and had it under his skate for a while. Kris Letang then scored to make it 3-0. Milan Michalek did get the Senators on the board, but then with less than a minute left in the second Evgeni Malkin scored on a breakaway. Neal added another goal, then Kyle Turris scored. However, Neal lit the lamp with an impressive scoring effort for the hat trick, and as caps rained down on the ice, it became clear where this game would end. The Penguins won 6-2.
Well, that’s the end of this series. The Penguins took it four games to one. Tomas Vokoun made 29 saves, while Anderson stopped 27 shots. The last couple of games were not kind to Anderson. He was great during the regular season, and started the postseason off strong, but Pittsburgh got the best of him. They are very good. Letang had two assists, while Neal had a helper as well. The Penguins have moved onto the next round, as most of us expected. They struggled a bit in the first round, but knocked it up a notch against the Senators. Vokoun has been top notch in net since taking over for Marc-Andre Fleury. They are probably the Cup favorites now. If they weren’t before the playoffs began.
As for the Senators, they had a nice run. They overcame injuries during the regular season to key players to get the seventh seed. They upset the Montreal Canadiens. Then, they got Jason Spezza back, but it wasn’t enough. This was a good season for them, and a bunch of good, young players started to emerge. Erik Karlsson will be healthy next season. They have two very good goalies. This could be the start of a nice run in Ottawa.
There are two game fives on Saturday, both elimination games. At 5:30 on NBC Sports, the Bruins host the Rangers. If Boston wins, they move on take face Pittsburgh. New York eked out an overtime win in game four to keep on keeping on, even with Brad Richards as a healthy scratch. However, they may not be able to do it again. Boston has been clearly better, and they will be at home. This could be the end of New York’s run. Then, at 8:00 on NBC, some primetime network hockey action, Chicago faces Detroit. The Red Wings have a surprise 3-1 series lead. Can they finish the upset? On the road, I don’t see it happening. Chicago is a great team, but Jimmy Howard has been outstanding. If that continues, maybe the Wings will move on.
Will Chicago and New York win to stay alive? Or will Boston and Detroit move on. Either way, it’s a big day for the Original Six.