That was the Pittsburgh Penguins offense we were expecting to see this postseason. Pittsburgh left no doubt who was the better team on Sunday afternoon in the Steel City when it came out and pummeled the Ottawa Senators. Ottawa gave up four goals in the first period and the rout was on from there. The Senators must win on home ice on Tuesday to extend the series to a Game 7 or else the Penguins will be back in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Don’t miss the action on the ice from Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa at 8 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 23, 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 series began the way that Ottawa wanted it to. Neither team had great chances in the first two games with only four goals total scored. However, the series has opened up lately and now Pittsburgh is getting the better end of things. Pittsburgh scored just three goals in the first three games but now has 10 in the last two and a 3-2 series edge.
Pittsburgh has been banged up all year long. The Penguins have been without their best defenseman for much of the season and two of their other best defensemen are dinged up as well. Justin Schultz has missed the last few games with an upper body injury and Trevor Daley is playing hurt because of the injuries to other defensemen. Additionally, Patric Hornqvist has missed the last few games too.
Injuries were added to the insult of Ottawa’s loss on Sunday. Erik Karlsson is playing with a fractured left foot and may have suffered another injury after a collision with Scott Wilson late in the second period. Karlsson didn’t return following the hit and his status is something to watch for Game 6. Also, Derick Brassard and Cody Ceci didn’t play at all in the final frame.
Matchup to Watch
Pittsburgh has the most talent of anyone left in the playoffs. That makes the Pens especially dangerous on the power play. The Penguins sputtered for much of the postseason on the man advantage but have hit their stride in the last three games.
Pittsburgh has converted five of its last eight power play opportunities and went three of three in Game 5. The trio of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel was instrumental on Sunday, grabbing all seven of their points on the power play. Ottawa has to do better when short-handed.
Conversely, Ottawa has yet to score on the power play against Pittsburgh. The Senators have not scored in 15 chances with an extra man in the series at this point. This team is offensively challenged as it is and missing out on these opportunities is tough.
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The third line was the star of the game for Pittsburgh on Sunday. The combination of Bryan Rust, Nick Bonino, and Carter Rowney were great on the forecheck and forced a bevy of turnovers. All three of Pittsburgh’s even strength goals in the first period were the results of these three.
Craig Anderson picked a bad time to have his worst game of the postseason but he didn’t have much help in front of him. Anderson was pulled after the first period when he allowed four goals on 14 shots. His defense was the primary reason for his poor performance but he can’t get chased again or else it will be curtains for Ottawa.
Game Six should be a back and forth struggle with neither team being passive and reserved. It will be a close one but look for the Penguins to pull it out and win another Eastern Conference crown.
NHL Playoff Odds: Penguins 4, Senators 3
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