The Ottawa Senators put together their most complete performance yet this postseason on Wednesday night. Ottawa jumped on the Pittsburgh Penguins early with a goal inside the opening minute and only added on to the lead from there. The Senators ended up lighting the lamp four times in the first 13 minutes of action and that was all she wrote after that. Pittsburgh needs a win in Game 4 to avoid going down 3-1 in the series.
Don’t miss the action on the ice from Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, May 19, 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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Ottawa has been an underdog in five straight games dating back to last series, but that hasn’t stopped the Senators’ momentum. Ottawa has now won four of its last five and put forth its best game yet against Pittsburgh in Game 3. The Senators smothered the Penguins’ offense for the third straight game and you can tell that Pittsburgh is getting frustrated.
The Penguins might just be running on fumes at this point. Injuries have taken a heavy toll on this team with many key contributors missing good chunks of the season.
Pittsburgh’s defense has been hit especially hard with Kris Letang out for the entire postseason, but the injuries have kept mounting. Trevor Daley finally returned after not being on the ice in 11 days, but Justin Schultz missed the game with an upper body injury that he suffered in Game 2.
Additionally, Patrick Hornqvist was scratched because of an upper body injury suffered after Game 1 and Bryan Rust missed Game 3 because of an undisclosed injury and there is no word on when or if he will return. That’s not to mention how Sidney Crosby is playing despite suffering a concussion in the Washington series.
For the Senators, Mark Borowiecki has been out for a month with a lower-body injury and Erik Karlsson is still playing despite a broken foot. Karlsson’s play with such a painful injury has been particularly inspired.
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Ottawa chased Marc-Andre Fleury from the game after just 13 minutes of action and that brought the return of Matt Murray. Murray played well in his time on the ice and now there is talk over who will start Game 4 on Friday.
Murray was the primary goalie before the start of the season, but an injury has left him sidelined until last night. Meanwhile, Fleury has been fantastic in net throughout the postseason and this was his first really poor performance.
Pittsburgh can make a case to go with either goaltender, but Fleury should get the nod.
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Craig Anderson continues to defy the odds. Anderson has allowed just three goals in three games and has totally flustered the Penguins offense. Pittsburgh has mixed up line combinations and strategies to beat Anderson, but so far it has been to no avail and he keeps getting the better of the Penguins.
That offensive outburst from Ottawa couldn’t have come at a better time. The Senators had some major scoring issues during the regular season and those looked like they were resurfacing in this series. However, Mike Hoffman and Bobby Ryan brought their A game on Wednesday night and that gave the Sens a big win.
Whoever Pittsburgh starts in goal will have a short leash. The Penguins can’t afford to get jumped on so quickly again and a questionable decision that leads to a score will likely lead to the hook.
It’s about time for the Penguins offense to finally show up in this series. They may be banged up, but this was still the top offense in the regular season and they can score when they need to.
NHL Playoff Odds: Penguins 4, Senators 2
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