Wednesday was another light day of NHL action, with only one game on the docket. The Senators were once again hosting the Penguins, hoping to even up their series after winning game four in double overtime. Ah, but Pittsburgh had other ideas.
The Pens had an early power play, but Milan Michalek got a breakaway and lit the lamp for the shorthanded goal. James Neal evened things up with a nice goal of his own, but then Kyle Turris banged in a rebound to make it 2-1 in favor of Ottawa after one period. Just over a minute into the second, Chris Kunitz tied the game, and 40 seconds later Jarome Iginla put a puck into a wide open net, making the game 3-2 in favor of the Penguins after two periods.
At this point, it became all Pittsburgh. Neal added another goal, this time on the power play, and then Pascal Dupuis found the back of the net shorthanded. Soon thereafter, Sidney Crosby scored an excellent goal, and Craig Anderson got pulled. This did not stop the onslaught, as Iginla blasted a shot past Robin Lehner with the extra man for his second goal. Daniel Alfredsson did score late for the Senators, but it wasn’t even enough to provide them with a flattering scoreline. Pittsburgh won the game 7-3.
Tomas Vokoun made 30 saves, while Anderson stopped 32 and Lehner stopped a mere three. Erik Karlsson had two helpers for the Senators, but he was one upped by Kris Letang, who had four assists. Crosby, Dupuis, and Neal all had assists to go with their goals. Well, now this series is 3-1 in favor of the Penguins as these teams head back to Pittsburgh. Get ready for Penguins-Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals. We’re all just biding out time now. Ottawa’s magic is gone. Like that episode of Saved by the Bell where Screech briefly has the ability to see into the future, but then loses it. It’s EXACTLY like that.
Anywho, Thursday is actually a busy day for the NHL, the busiest one we have left. There are three games, starting at 7:00 Eastern on CNBC. There, we shall find the Rangers hosting the Bruins. New York is just trying to stave off being swept and ending up the protagonists in some sort of American tragedy. Maybe they win. If they do, they are likely just delaying the inevitable. Henrik Lundqvist is a great goalie, but they aren’t going to pull off the comeback.
At 8:00 on NBC Sports, Detroit takes on Chicago. The Wings have won the last two games to take the 2-1 series lead. If they win game four at home, they can push the President’s Trophy winners to the brink of elimination. Can their young forwards continue to impress? Will Corey Crawford improve his play? Finally, at 10:30 on NBC Sports, the Kings and Sharks head back to Los Angeles. This has been a very closely contested series. The home team has won all four games so far. Will the Kings hold serve? If not, their Cup defense could end soon.
Speaking of the Sharks, their first round sweep of the Canucks may be part of the reason Alain Vigneault has just been fired. He was there for seven seasons, even helping take Vancouver to a Cup Final. Like the Lindy Ruff firing, this is a mix of scapegoating and trying to change the dynamics out of fear of stagnation. He will likely get another job soon. However, Ruff is also out on the market still, and right now only Colorado, Dallas, and Vancouver are open positions. With the talk of Patrick Roy being (awesomely, hilariously) named the next coach for the Avalanche, that limits Vigneault’s options. Hey, maybe he can take a year off. He’s earned it.