It took 53 minutes to get the first and only goal in Game 2, but it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Pittsburgh was starting to feel the pressure knowing that it couldn’t afford to fall behind 2-0 in the series and the intensity ramped up on the ice as a result. Phil Kessel, the man that was so important in last year’s Stanley Cup run, ended up notching the lone goal and knotting the series at 1-1. The Ottawa Senators snatched home ice away from the Penguins though with a win in Game 1 and now it is their turn to capitalize.
Don’t miss the action on the ice from Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 17, 2017. Catch every moment of the game live on NBCSN. We will have NHL playoff hockey odds at BookMaker.eu for every postseason game.
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The good news for Ottawa is that these are the type of games the Senators want to play. Pittsburgh is not suited for physical, low-scoring games and it’s the best way for Ottawa to prevail in the series.
There have only been four goals total in this series and neither team has peppered the opposing goalie with shots either. As a result, both games have gone under the total quite easily. No second period goals have been scored thus far and only one goal has been tallied in the first period.
Matchup to Watch
Both goalies have been fantastic in this series thus far. Craig Anderson has done a great job keeping Pittsburgh at bay, whether or not his defense helps him out. In Game 1, his defense did a pretty good job stopping the Penguins’ offensive attack, but they failed to do the same in Game 2. Although the Senators did block a lot of shots, the Penguins controlled the run of play. As long as Anderson is between the pipes though, this team has a great chance to win the series.
This is Marc-Andre Fleury’s redemption story. Long seen as the weak link for Pittsburgh, he had to take a back seat to Matt Murray during last year’s championship, but was thrust into the spotlight again after Murray was injured before the start of the playoffs. Fleury has been lights out since the postseason started and has shown exceptionally bright the last three games. He posted shutouts in Game 7 against Washington and in Game 2 against Ottawa and allowed just one goal in regulation of Game 1.
After a Game 1 in which there were plenty of power play chances for both sides, Game 2 featured little in the way of them. There were plenty of penalties, but most of them came after the play and were assessed to both sides because of the increased chippiness. Each team had just one chance on the power play in Game 2 and neither one struck gold.
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Injuries continue to mount for the Penguins. The team is already without a lot of its talent from last season, especially on the blue line, and that position may have gotten thinner. Justin Schultz was injured in the first period and didn’t return to the ice afterwards in Game 2. It would be a huge loss not to have Schultz for Game 3 and further stretch a defense that is already depleted.
Additionally, Bryan Rust was knocked out of Game 2 with an apparent injury. The gritty Rust has a knack for scoring goals at key moments and it’s unclear whether or not he will be able to play in Game 3.
Back on home ice, Ottawa is going to play much better thanks to a fired up crowd and will get the win over Pittsburgh. The Penguins are just too banged up right now and losing Rust and Schultz might finally be the straw that breaks their back.
NHL Playoff Odds: Predators 3, Ducks 1
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