Bobby Ryan scores victor, Senators beat Penguins in overtime in Game 1

Posted May 19, 2017

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan challenged his team to stop searching for the flawless shot and just fire it at Anderson instead after Pittsburgh struggled to create any traffic in front of the goaltender during a 2-1 overtime loss in Game 1.

The Senators can't afford to take anything for granted because they played one good game and, it's fair to say, they haven't seen the best from the Penguins.

Penguins fans, take heart.

“That just shows you how easily the momentum can turn, ” Smith said. They're at home again Monday night, and the loss could prove to be a nice wake-up call that the second round is over and there's another hurdle to clear before a shot at repeating as Stanley Cup champions becomes reality. Sullivan wants the Penguins to be more aggressive with their shooting, rather than trying to find the ideal shot.

"Mark's a guy that has invaluable experience", Sullivan said. Essentially, this style works when the puck carrier beats the initial forechecker then runs into the wall that is awaiting him.

Maybe that "luck" that Ottawa had vs. the Rangers is actually a bit more than that, since many were writing off the Senators in this series vs. the Penguins. And when we can't, we've got to hang on to the puck. Ottawa also knows it has the Penguins' full attention.

And keep the lead, while you're at it.

When one National Hockey League team executive was asked about the Senators' trap, that's where he focused his attention - the effort of the players.

The Ducks finally awakened at the prospect of their second straight 0-2 series deficit and replied with high-octane hockey - and a few fortunate bounces - that was too much even for Rinne, who hadn't given up four goals in a game since March 13. Last year's Penguins were far more balanced, both in scoring and in possession; this one is a historic outlier. "I just think we have to recognize where the opportunities are on the rink to create, and there's going to be some situations where we can't". Anderson was the thorn in the Penguins' side in the period preventing them for taking control of the game.

The Penguins almost got on the board early in the first period. One shot every 52-seconds against a team that is down a skater is not good.

Perhaps the most glaring area that needs better execution is the power play. Some players come alive in the postseason, and Pageau seems to be finding his stride for Ottawa at just the right time. Whether the Sens can continue to be patient and adapt to the Pens changed strategy in Game 2 will determine if they can go back to Ottawa with a convincing 2-0 series lead.

"The important thing is, I don't think we need to force things that aren't there".

Can Sidney Crosby and Erik Karlsson get on the scoresheet?

The Pens need to get the puck on the stick of their captain. This Pittsburgh team is deeply vulnerable, and if it's going to win the big dogs have to carry the weight. It's a message he repeated before, during and after Game 1.

It's safe to say the Senators executed their defensive plan nearly perfectly against the Penguins in Game 1. "We clogged the neutral zone, we clogged the ice and made them come through us".

Without Schultz, the Penguins - who were already without Kris Letang (neck surgery) and Trevor Daley (lower-body injury) - closed out the game with just five defencemen. Crosby set up two plays that ended with pucks ringing off the posts.

Resiliency may be the Penguins' greatest character trait.

The Senators improved 6-1 in overtime during the playoffs.

Ryan may have had a forgettable regular season, but the way things have been going lately for the Sens, it's easy to chuckle about it. Another reason for optimism? With no natural rivalry versus the Senators, the Penguins didn't have the same edge they did in the first two rounds. Perhaps. There's a long, long way to go before the finish line in the series, but at the very least, the Senators have punched a couple of holes into the Penguins' defensive underbelly.

Game 2 is Monday night in Pittsburgh.