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Playoffs Tonight: Senators confident they can beat Penguins

May 22, 2013, 8:02 AM EDT

OTTAWA, CANADA - MAY 19: James Neal #18 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates with the puck against Andre Benoit #61 of the Ottawa Senators in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Place on May 19, 2013 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Francois Laplante/NHLI via Getty Images) Getty Images

The San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings were dominate in their own building during the regular season, so it’s not surprising that the home team has won every game of their second-round series. With their series now essentially a best-of-three, the onus is on the Sharks to win at least one playoff contest at the Staples Center.

In the meantime though…

Ottawa Senators host Pittsburgh Penguins (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra)
Pittsburgh leads series 2-1

The Senators certainly lived up to their “pesky” label in Game 3. Pittsburgh nearly went up 3-0 in the series, but a shorthanded goal from Daniel Alfredsson with just 29 seconds left in regulation time tied the contest at 1. Colin Greening then netted the deciding goal for Ottawa at 7:39 of the second overtime period.

“We find ways — they aren’t always pretty — but we find ways to win,” Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson told the Ottawa Citizen.

Now they have to find a way to do it again.

Alfredsson’s dramatic goal was only relevant because, for the first time in this series, the Senators found a way to contain the Penguins’ skilled forwards.

Sidney Crosby, who had a hat trick in Game 2, was held to just three shots on goal despite logging 33:08 minutes of ice time. Evgeni Malkin had 10 shots on goal, but Anderson consistently denied him to end Malkin’s nine-game points streak.

It will be interesting to see if Crosby and Malkin are both held off the scoresheet for a second straight game, but perhaps the bigger x-factor is James Neal. The 25-year-old forward has 61 goals in his last 120 regular season games, but he has just one goal and three points in the 2013 postseason. If he can get hot now, it would take some of the burden off of Malkin and Crosby going forward.

Meanwhile, the Senators are entering this game with a lot of confidence.

“You have to believe you belong here,” said defenseman Marc Methot. “Otherwise, what the hell are you doing? I can’t stress enough that guys in this room do believe that we can win. We just knocked off the second seed (the Montreal Canadiens) in the first round.”

  1. bihler7 - May 22, 2013 at 8:47 AM

    Gutsy win by the Sens there in Game 2, have to give them alot of credit. Pens played a great road game and I expect the same from them tonight; though I would like to I guess “call out” one person to have a game tonight for the Pens; James Neal, let’s go guy.

    • jpelle82 - May 22, 2013 at 8:59 AM

      *game 3

      • bihler7 - May 22, 2013 at 9:59 AM

        my bad, thanks, yes game 3

    • chanceoffleury1 - May 22, 2013 at 3:33 PM

      I’m pretty sure James Neal is playing injured. He got hurt in Game

      • chanceoffleury1 - May 22, 2013 at 4:02 PM

        God dang it. My laptop touchpad is really sensitive and presses enter before I’m finished all the time. Back to what I was originally saying….

        I’m pretty sure James Neal is playing injured. He got hurt in Game 1 of the Isles series with what looked like a lower leg injury and hasn’t looked like his normal self since. He’s looked slow and less physical and has lacked his normal tenacity for finding open ice that makes him so deadly. He started to look like he was back to his regular self in overtime last game, so hopefully he can carry that on to tonight. As most good finishers are, he’s pretty streaky so once he gets going he’s pretty hard to stop. But it’d be nice if he could get going sooner rather than later. Even if they get out of this series, the opposing goaltending doesn’t exactly get much easier. Choosing between Lundqvist, Rask, Quick, Niemi, Howard, or Crawford is pretty much the definition of picking your poison. Pens offense is gonna have to be in tip top shape from here on out to win the Cup. James Neal starting to score will definitely help the cause.

    • steelcityfinest13 - May 22, 2013 at 9:45 PM

      Give you a pay check…..neal it was!!!!

  2. bohman88 - May 22, 2013 at 8:51 AM

    You have to respect the heart and resilience of this Ottawa team. Would love to see a Ottawa and Boston conference finals match.

    • bekay19 - May 22, 2013 at 9:22 AM

      That would be a blood bath

  3. myspaceyourface - May 22, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    Danny Boy and Geno crapped the bed. That is the ONLY reason the Sens took game 3.

  4. eaglesbest - May 22, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    Go Sens Go!!! As a Bruins fan I would live nothing more then to see this series go 7!!

  5. jpelle82 - May 22, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    Game 2 was 4-3 but the pens dominated that game throughout only to have vokoun let in a couple weak goals. i expect a game 1 or game 2 performance tonight from the pens, they dont lose 2 in a row often and you should expect malkin and crosby to take this one over.

  6. 950003cups - May 22, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    Sens don’t have me convinced they have the pieces to beat the Pens. But, I’d still like to see an upset with Alfredsson winning a cup.

  7. sombostevo - May 22, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    Although Ottawa played very well in Game 3, the Pens certainly were not outplayed. This was a game in which Craig Anderson absolutely stole the game. The Pens had some absurd scoring chances and couldn’t cash in. That being said, they still had the 1-0 victory on a PP with less than a minute to go when Malkin decided to take the play off and allow Alfredsson to go to the net uncovered for the game tying goal. The Sens played well, but are very lucky not to be down 3-0 at this point.

  8. ironcity6pak - May 22, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    “for the first time in this series, the Senators found a way to contain the Penguins’ skilled forwards” you call Malkin with 10 shots on goal containing them? They did everything but contain them. If it wasnt for Anderson the game would have been 6-1 Pens.

  9. myroncopesflask - May 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM

    Not sure very many people realize that game 3 could have been 5 or 6-1 in favot of the Pens. It was a close game because Anderson made a ton of saves. The Pens also helped on many of those save by shooting at Anderson and getting very little traffic in front of the net. My understanding is that after that game there were some very angry players in the locker room and 3 of those angry players are among the best players in the world. IMO this game could be decided by the end of the 1st period. We shall see! 1975

    • elguapo12 - May 22, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      Hold on, hold on! So, you’re saying that if the Senators goalie didn’t make saves the game could have gotten out of hand for them. I totally didn’t realize that. That was also good of the three (?) best players in the world to shoot directly at Anderson. Here I thought it was his excellent positional play that was a factor. Regardless, thanks for the warning that Crosby, Malkin and Mystery Best Player in the World #3 were angry…that will certainly be a factor tonight.

    • coopjr - May 22, 2013 at 12:11 PM

      I always enjoy the “My team would totally have won if they’d played better and scored more” rationalizations that follow a bad loss. 1st shift

    • laxman1944 - May 22, 2013 at 12:17 PM

      So what your saying is that EVERY single game The Walking on Water Pitt. Penguin’s lose is because they did not show up?? Not giving a nodd to the other team for playing a tough physical game and earning a victory???

      Man YOU are a real piece of work….”IMO”…..oh yeah before I forget “1975″…..tool

    • phillyphanatic77 - May 22, 2013 at 1:20 PM

      Not sure you realize that the Sens also had numerous scoring chances that they couldn’t finish. Anderson and Vokoun were both excellent. Your description would paint a picture, to those who didn’t watch, of a game that was completely dominated by your Pens. And that wasn’t the case, at all. This is how Ottawa has won all season. They bend but don’t break defensively, they get timely scoring, and their goaltending bails them out. Saying “my team could’ve won 5 or 6-1″ could apply to most of their opponents, all season. But it doesn’t matter how many prime scoring chances you have if they don’t end up in the net. Anderson can steal a game, it’s his job.

      And if there weren’t angry players in the Pens lockerroom after that loss then it would be a serious problem.

      • sombostevo - May 22, 2013 at 1:52 PM

        You are right in a sense. It certainly wasn’t dominated by the Pens, but they did have much better scoring chances and Anderson completely bailed them out. Bend but don’t break defense? The defense for the Sens broke SEVERAL times that game, but Anderson stood on his head. The Pens and Sens both played great, including both goaltenders (although Anderson was forced to make many more difficult saves) but the fact is the Pens lost this game on one lazy play in which Malkin allowed Alfredsson to go to the net unmarked blowing the game. I’m not saying it should have been 6-1, but with the scoring chances the Pens got, they should have certainly scored more than 1 if it weren’t for Anderson’s heroics.

  10. sens101 - May 22, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Pens definitely should have won last game, if it wasnt for their pp. and brutal defensive play of Letang and Malkin…Funny how pens fans chirp karlsson for being “poor defensively” and he’s not as good as Letang because Letang plays better in his own end. I still dont know what he was doing on that play, he should have taken alfie to the net.Bylsma deserves some blame for that because of the players he chose to put on the ice and playing to keep the lead rather than bury the sens with the PP. I hope that the sens can pull it out tonight. I think its gonna be an extremely tough physical game from both side and a close one as the sens know going down 3-1 pittburgh would be the same deal as being down 3-0. Go Sens Go!

    • sombostevo - May 22, 2013 at 1:54 PM

      Alfie wasn’t Letang’s responsibility on that play. He was Malkin’s responsibility, and Malkin failed. Letang has played much better than Karlsson offensively and defensively thus far this series. I mean Karlsson completely crapped the bed the first 2 games. All in all, I don’t see the Sens winning 3 out of the next 4 games.

      • laxman1944 - May 22, 2013 at 4:25 PM

        Well, let’s see how well Letang would play coming off an achille’s……..even the playing field a bit eh??

  11. hounds2013 - May 22, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    The reason Crysby couldn’t do anything id because Karlsson wax on him. Sens sweep from here on.

    • jpelle82 - May 22, 2013 at 10:11 AM

      thanks for the laugh, i was having a rough morning at the office up to this point

  12. pizzano7416 - May 22, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Jussi is going to center the 4th line for game 4 tonite. It’s about time!!! He was great for the Penguins since they got him when Sid went down. He avg over a point per game down the stretch and his ability to do all the little things well will help this round. Most importantly his ability the win face offs will be massive, because Pens have been getting beat in that portion of game this round. Sid, Malkin, Sutter, and Juicy gives the Pens a very dependable C on all 4 lines, and Juicy playing with Kennedy (who has been playing with fire lately) should give the 4th line a more scary look, and even elevate Kennedy’s game even more, as well as everyone else on the 4th line.

    This is a great move by Bylsma. He sees his team needs a little more scoring punch after last game, and bringing in Juicy to win some of the face offs they been losing, and add a little punch to the scoring to get the puck past Anderson. BRILLIANT!!

    • jpelle82 - May 22, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      malkin and crosby are 45% and 47% in the faceoffs and sutter is barely above 50%. faceoff help will be needed but vitale was doing a good job at 56%. jokinen was at 68% in the 4 games he played. would make more sense for him to be out there in more situations with the pens at home getting the last change but i think vitale is hurt and thats the reason jokinen gets the nod over tanner glass who was a non factor last game.

    • sombostevo - May 22, 2013 at 1:56 PM

      I personally think that JJ has been a scratch for the Pens because he was injured in the Isles series. It wasn’t for lack of production. Getting a healthy JJ back will be good for the scoring depth and the faceoffs.

      • pizzano7416 - May 22, 2013 at 2:02 PM

        JJ was a scratch against the Isles cause Blysma needed someone tougher to hit and grind with the lighting fast Isles. The Sens are no where near as quick as the Isles. Juicy’s skill set matches up much better against the Sens.

  13. wisdomnfl - May 22, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    Pens need to sit Morrow and Iginla.

    • jpelle82 - May 22, 2013 at 12:22 PM

      morrow yes, iginla no

  14. pizzano7416 - May 22, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    You guys are forgetting how clutch Juciy was for the Pens down the stretch.. He had 14 points in 13 games and really fulfilled that scoring need with Sid being out. Pens really need another option on the 4th line to put the puck in the net after watching Anderson last game. The faceoff wins will be nice, but juicy’s speed, all around ability, and scoring touch is what the Pens really need. Name another team in the playoffs who have a C on all 4 lines like the Pens do with Juicy being active.

  15. pizzano7416 - May 22, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    Lets not also forget that Juicy is one of the best players in the NHL on shoot outs. With the way last game went who knows, a shoot out might be very well possible.

    • jpelle82 - May 22, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      except its the playoffs and they dont have shootouts in the playoffs. hoping you meant he can finish on a breakaway

      • pizzano7416 - May 22, 2013 at 2:50 PM

        Yes that’s what I ment…;)

  16. meynbass - May 22, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    Playoff shoot out? Really?!?!?

    *shakes head*

  17. steelcityfinest13 - May 22, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    Woow!!!!

  18. steelcityfinest13 - May 22, 2013 at 9:53 PM

    I had to come back and say just stop this beating rite now….its 7-2 pens while im saying this!!!!

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