Pens/Sens Recap: Pittsburgh is lucky to get something from Ottawa


before the match

No new comeback from injury for the Penguins tonight, using the same lines, lineup and goalkeeper as in the last game.


Much better pregame news for the host Senators. Center Josh Norris is back in the lineup for the first time since late October.

The first period

A rocky start for Pittsburgh when Jason Zucker headed straight into the box in the first minute on a somewhat questionable hanging call. Penguins kill it though.

After some all-out action on both sides of the ice, it’s Cam Talbot who makes a mistake and Zucker is there to take advantage. Yevgeny Malkin crosses the back for Marcus Peterson and Peterson shoots home. Talbot waves his arm at her, but windmills emerge from his gauntlet. Zucker is Johnny’s spot (Jason’s spot?) and pokes at the freebie. 1-0 pens.

On the next shift, some bad luck when Jeff Carter lifted Derek Brassard’s baton and ended up with a gash on his nose, blood drawn and a four-minute penalty. It only takes 35 seconds for Alex DeBrincat to equalize at 1-1.

Ottawa makes Carter’s penalty doubly painful by scoring on the second power play as well. Tim Stutzle has plenty of space to work after skating around Sidney Crosby and hitting a shot by DeSmith to make the Sens 2-1 lead.

Immediately after, Austin Watson dumps Mark Friedman and the Penguins get their first opportunity to power play. Unlike Ottawa’s husband, he is unsuccessful.

Norris crushes Malkin on the boards and takes another penalty kick. Malkin stays in place for a short period of time but pulls himself together and stays on the ice for a power play. Malkin is then tripped as he enters the zone and the pens get 1:07 worth 5v3. Ottawa kills the first, but the dogs of the big pens remain on the ice, and in the end Malkin gets a goal that he richly achieved after two penalties.

Friedman and DeBrinkat get into a post-whistle spar, and although Friedman’s helmet is taken off and he takes a punch or two, the Penguins are the only players to end up in the penalty area. Pens kill this once.

The overall shots are 18-11 Ottawa at halftime, a statistic that is misleading due to the power play time. 5v5 shots was 9-6 overtime.

The second period

A leaky Talbot glove would let him fall again, and put Mark Friedman on the board for his first goal and point of the season. Friedman fires a powerful shot from long range and Talbot can’t catch it so does the net. 3-2 The pens are rolled forward 3:07 in the middle frame.

Ottawa rushes back, Travis Hamonic hits the bar very loudly with a quick shot, and Thomas Chabot advances for a clean look that Desmith makes a wonderful save. All that pressure and a huge turnaround against Pittsburgh’s fourth line forces Kasperi Kapanen to take a penalty. Sens scores the third power play goal, Brady Tkachuk gets a rebound and passes a pass to Drake Patterson to finish it off. 3-3 game.

Malkin bear hugs Tkachuk and goes to the box for another Ottawa-powered play. Pittsburgh kills the putt, but late in the period takes another penalty, with Brian Rust out for four minutes on a fumble call and then an unsportsmanlike tackle for arguing too much.

Shooting was 11-3 in the second half overall (and 9-3 in 5v5), not the best for a Pittsburgh who couldn’t stay out of the box and didn’t have much puck at all.

Third period

The Penguins begin their third stare at 3:19 in Ottawa’s staging power run time, but are momentarily able to avoid giving up a fourth PPG to Ottawa.

More determined efforts by Zucker at the end of a long shift lead to a penalty for the Senators. But then Pittsburgh settled it with PO Joseph giving an accidental check on defense while rushing. Sens scores when two beautiful assists put Shane Bento past Brian Dumoulin and a quick shot burns through the defender and goalkeeper. 4-3 Ottawa ahead.

Pittsburgh gets another crack at the power play when Ottawa gets caught with two men on the ice. He pens it off, with Crosby feeding Rickard Raquel, who spins and shoots the net. Somehow it seeps through Talbot who is having a terrible night but is barely tested. 4-4 with 7:25 left.

The first line finally comes to life, but Jake Guentzel’s shot hits the iron.

Pittsburgh is very lucky to have this game on the OT.

over time

Brady Tkachuk ends the game somewhat early in the rushing overtime. Ottawa switches and Pettersson’s gap control had a rare glitch on Tkachuk shooting across DeSmith. 5-4 Ottawa win.

some ideas

  • Guess how many Zucker goals this season? It’s 12. Looks like he’s got more, right? He’s scored six goals in his last 10 games, in a groove of playing hard, being around the net and being rewarded for it.
  • Skillful players threw a two-minute-or-plus turnover on that ended with Malkin’s goal in the first period (Malkin himself was swinging at 2:35, since he was there before the power play). They didn’t change due to having a 5v3 and then having a lot of time in the area, but it looked like Malkin was about to pull one of those “Alex Kovalev with NYR takes a 5 minute shift” and stay on the ice until he scores a goal. As the obvious goal celebration emphatically showed, Gino had no intention of going on the bench until he equalized the match.
  • Stutzle can skate like the wind, one of his most beautiful strides. This is his third season in the NHL and he recently turned 21, but due to scheduling, this was only his fourth game against Pittsburgh.
  • Shortly before Ottawa scored the tying goal in Game 3, Jeff Carter was up 2 – 1. He went up on the shot, and Pittsburgh didn’t touch the puck again until it was in their net. It’s at the point where even the automatic movements of NHL players like shooting on the move or occasionally receiving a pass become noticeable because they are no longer automatic. It’s hard to watch falls in real time When he tackles the puck, or does anything but faceoffs (scoring nine out of 12).
  • The Penguin blueliners have had some good moments in the offensive zone, but defensively this team is a mess with the personnel they have. It’s worth repeating every game but it’s always an uphill battle and a struggle with a very depleted squad.
  • A bit of a op show tonight. Maybe more than a little. Plenty of penalties were legitimate and had to be called, but just Friedman taking first and then ringing Rust for two more kicks seemed unnecessary and unbalanced. Even Sportsnet on the home broadcast in Ottawa felt Joseph’s cross-check was a bad call. This is how cookie crumbles sometimes, but it’s rare to see Penguins go to the box more often and more than usual.
  • If Cam Talbot delivers anything resembling competent goalkeeping tonight, it will be a win for Ottawa Regulations. Easily. So, in that context, Pens getting a point in the rankings in such a difficult stretch isn’t the worst thing in the world.
  • Pens’ PK players have conceded four goals tonight and six in their last two games. For this game, that’s probably more of a function of all chances than any other factor (plus, they have Sens credit, they have a lot of skill in the field). But it’s also hard not to notice that the three-goal duo of Brian Dumoulin – Chad Rohwedel came out. tough times.
  • Without much, the default goes back to “The Big Stars Must Come”. Malkin and Crosby each had three points, though they were choppy and uneventful for long periods (all that killing time doesn’t allow much to get into a groove). Raquel’s record, Zucker was usually a horse. Lots of good stuff there. Guentzel’s late shot in regulation was **very close** potentially making him the champ, but it didn’t go.

The best thing about this game is that it’s over. Nothing is easy now for Pens with the line-ups they have these days, but on the bright side we are all a lot closer to seeing more capable players return.

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