by Tony on 12/24/09 at 01:38 AM ET
Pretty clear what Ottawa’s strategy was coming into tonight’s game against the Penguins at the Igloo: Throw as many pucks on net as possible, crash the crease on Marc-Andre Fleury and play very physical.
Yeah. Didn’t work.
Coming off getting shutout by Marty Brodeur and the Devils, the Pens took out their frustration on the Sens, ignited by the 4th career hat trick by previously slumping Evgeni Malkin in a 8-2 thumping over Ottawa.
Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz both had four points for the Pens, while Sidney Crosby, Sergei Gonchar and Malkin tallied three points each.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 45 of 47 Ottawa shots on net, including 24 in the first period alone.
The Pens dictated the play early on, and surprisingly it started on the powerplay, as Crosby hit Malkin along the left boards on “The Whitney Play” for a one-timer into an empty net and a 1-0 Penguins lead.
Later in the first, Ottawa tied the game up after a faceoff win by Peter Regin to Anton Volchenkov, who fired a one-timer that glanced off the stick of Jay McKee and past Fleury to make it 1-1.
It stayed that way until early in the second when the Penguins were back on the powerplay. On a play that I don’t believe the Penguins do as often as they should, Guerin took the puck on the left end boards and quickly fired a wrister to Sens’ goalie Pascal LeClaire. LeClaire stopped the initial shot, but Guerin poked the rebound past LeClaire to make it 2-1 Pens at 1:03.
The Pens third goal was a result of a great individual effort by Jordan Staal. Staal began the play by a nice check on Alex Kovalev, then took the puck down to the Sens’ blueline, where he did a give-and-go with Max Talbot. Staal then made a great centering pass to a trailing Ruslan Fedotenko for the one-timer past LeClaire and a 3-1 Pens lead.
After a Sens’ turnover led to a Guerin centering pass that was deflected by Kunitz into the net to make it 4-1, the Pens had a 3-on-1 break that eventually resulted in a Crosby backhanded pass to Guerin for the one-timer past LeClaire making it 5-1 Penguins.
Late in the second period, another Sens’ turnover resulted in a steal by Kunitz, who then fired a pass to Malkin for the one-time goal and a 6-1 lead.
The Pens kept the pressure on early in the third period, as Matt Cooke made a nice centering pass to a pinching Gonchar for the wrister past new goalie Brian Elliott to make it 7-1.
Finally, Malkin got his third goal of the game on a nice give-and-go with Crosby for an 8-1 Pens’ lead.
Chris Kelly got the Senators’ second goal in the final minutes.
- Senators’ goalie Daniel Alfredsson injured his shoulder on a hard but clean hit by Craig Adams.
- Unless I missed it, I did not hear any apology from Paul Steigerwald in reference to his controversial remarks during the last game. Last mention of it.
- Vladislav Tretiak, arguably the greatest goaltender in hockey history, was in attendance, checking out his potential Russian Olympians.
- Pens’ powerplay ended up going 3-for-8. If they keep skating without the puck as well as they did tonight, it will no doubt improve.
- 18-for-25 for Crosby in the faceoff circle.
- Three blocked shots by McKee.
- 32 hits awarded to the Sens, compared to only 18 for the Pens. Brooks Orpik led the Pens with four.
- Nine shots for Guerin.
Next up for the Penguins after the Christmas break will be Toronto on Sunday night.
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Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.
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