Penguins Beat Senators 4-0

The Pittsburgh Penguins won Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoff series against Ottawa Senators decisively by shutting them out 4-0.  Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was perfect in net, turning aside all 26 shots by the Senators.  Wiley veteran Gary Roberts playing in just his 2nd game since returning from a 42-game hiaitus with a broken leg, scored twice and led the Penguins in setting the tone for the rest of the series.  Evgeni Malkin extended his dominating play into the post season by notching 3-points (1G, 2A), and fueling the Penguins’ offense.       

It only took a little over a minute for the Penguins to prove that this series will not be a repeat of last season’s first round matchup.  With the 4th line scrumming all around the Ottawa net, Gary Roberts quickly posted himself in front of Martin Gerber and backhanded a shot past him to make it 1-0.  Georges Laraque and Max Talbot got the assists on the play.  Then at 12:28, Evgeni Malkin chipped a puck up the boards past a Senator and broke in 2-on-1 with Petr Sykora.  Malkin made a beautiful cross-ice pass to Sykora who buried it perfectly into the open side of the net to make it 2-0.  The Penguins outshot the Senators 10-8 in the 1st period, were 0-for-1 on the power play, and killed off their only penalty.

In the 2nd period, the Penguins poured it on but failed to score despite outshooting the Senators 15-10.  Late in the period, Marc-Andre Fleury gave Martin Lapointe a little stick to the back of the legs that Lapointe took exception to.  As play was called, Lapointe turned around and confronted Fleury with a shove.  Seeing the action, Max Talbot came flying in on Lapointe.  Talbot was assessed a double-minor roughing, while Lapointe only took a 2-minute call.  Despite getting 3-opportunities on the power play, including nearly a minute of 5-on-3, the Senators failed to crack the Penguins defense or solve Marc-Andre Fleury.  The Penguins missed on 2-man advantage opportunities in the 2nd period. 

In the 3rd period, the Penguins again outshot the Senators 10-8 and converted twice, including a power play goal.  The Senators had their chances as the Penguins got in some penalty trouble that gave Ottawa a 50-second 5-on-3 opportunity.  But they failed to take advantage of the golden opportunity they were given.  The Penguins put the game out of reach with their 3rd goal which came at even strength as Evgeni Malkin dominated the offensive zone, moving the puck to Ryan Malone and Ryan Whitney before taking a feed back from Whitney.  The pass hit Malkin’s skate, but he quickly kicked it to his stick and lifted it over the shoulder of Gerber to ignite the crowd and make it 3-0.  At 16:35, Wayne Redden took a swipe at Sidney Crosby as he was battling at the side of the Senators net.  Crosby battled back before being pulled off by two Senator players, clearing the way for Ryan Whitney to come in and put the hurt on a jersey-headed Wayne Redden.  Redden and Whitney took 5 for fighting, while Crosby and Dupuis each took roughing calls (Dupuis got a double-minor).  Dean McAmmond also got a double minor along with Wayne Redden.  When the dust settled, the result was a 2-minute powerplay for the Penguins.  This time, the Penguins converted as Marian Hossa passed the puck to Evgeni Malkin, who threw the puck across the goal mouth and off Gary Roberts skate into the net at 18:25.  With 12-seconds left in the game, Gary Roberts put a hit from behind that angered Cody Bass and a scrum ensued.  Roberts picked up 16-penalty minutes in the fracas (boarding, roughing, unsportsmanlike and a game misconduct).  Cody Bass and Chris Neil each got 2-minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct.  But it was inconsequential as the Penguins skated away to a 4-0 game 1 victory.

The win gives the Penguins a 1-0 lead in the best of 7 series with Ottawa.  Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 26-shots for his first career playoff shutout, and his 2nd career playoff win as he was named the game’s first star.  He is now 11-2-1 since returning from the high ankle sprain injury.  Gary Roberts scored twice, his first goals since scoring twice on Dec 23rd against Boston, as he played tonight in just his 2nd game back after missing 42-games with a broken leg.  He was named the game’s 2nd star.  Evgeni Malkin’s 3-points earned him the game’s 3rd star.  Ottawa, already suffering from injuries, lost defenseman Anton Volchenkov early in the 2nd period after he was cut in the forehead by a Malkin slap shot.  He didn’t return to the game, and there was a delay as blood had to be cleaned from the playing surface.

The Penguins and Senators return to Mellon Arena on Friday night for game 2 of the series. 

 

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