Penguins: 4, Senators: 2
The Penguins have officially flipped the switch. Ever since their disappointing effort in game one on Wednesday night, every player on the team has stepped up their game, and they are now playing the type of hockey that has brought them to the Stanley Cup Final the past two seasons.
The Pens didn’t take much time to get to their game on Sunday evening for game three against the Senators. Only 1:17 into the contest, Alexei Ponikarovsky made his presence known for the first time in quite awhile when he carried the puck up the right side of the ice, pulled up, and took his time sizing up a shot before beating Brian Elliot through the five hole. Pascal Dupuis and Sergei Gonchar assisted on Ponikarovsky’s first goal of the playoffs.
Late in the period, Peter Regin appeared to tie the game by knocking home a rebound in front of the net, but video review determined that the puck was kicked into the net with a distinct kicking motion, nullifying the goal.
As the 1st period came to an end, a Senator player slashed the hand of Jordan Staal. Somehow, Staal ended up in the penalty box, giving the Sens a power play to start the 2nd. They took full advantage of the call, as Peter Regin found Mike Fisher alone in front of the net for the tying goal.
The goal gave the Sens momentum, and they came close to taking the lead for the next few minutes. However, a huge turning point in the game occurred at the 5:57 mark of the period when Max Talbot drove to the net and put a puck at the pads of Elliot. Elliot made the save, but Evgeni Malkin was there to put home the rebound.
With only 45 seconds to play in the period, the Pens made it a 3-1 lead when Sidney Crosby drove to the net on a short power play and made a move to beat Elliot. Matt Cooke and Bill Guerin added the assists to the eventual game-winner.
Less than 5 minutes into the 3rd, Bill Guerin somehow found his way behind the Senators’ defense, took a pass from Chris Kunitz, and came in alone on Elliot. The 39 year old veteran showed that he still has some moves, deking out the goaltender and slipping the puck behind him.
At the 12:58 mark of the period, the Sens got one back when Matt Cullen caught goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury cheating off of the left post and beat him with a wrist shot on the power play. Aside from that goal, Fleury played another excellent game.
Despite pulling Elliot late in the game, the Senators were unable to mount a comeback, giving the Pens the win and a 2-1 series lead.
The Pens will have a chance to take a stranglehold on the series in game four on Tuesday evening at 7 PM in Ottawa.
Pittsburgh: Ponikarovsky (1), Malkin (3), Crosby (2), Guerin (1)
Ottawa: Fisher (1), Cullen (1)
Pittsburgh: Dupuis (2), Gonchar (3), Talbot (2), Cooke (1), Guerin (2), Kunitz (2), Crosby (5)
Ottawa: Regin (1), Cullen (2), Alfredsson (3), Spezza (3)
Shots on goal
Pittsburgh: 4 – 11 – 9 – 24
Ottawa: 5 – 8 – 9 – 22
Other Sunday games
Phoenix: 4, Detroit: 2 (Phoenix leads 2-1)
Philadelphia: 3, New Jersey: 2 OT (Philadelphia leads 2-1)
Chicago: 2, Nashville: 0 (Series tied 1-1)
Colorado: 1, San Jose: 0 OT (Colorado leads 2-1)
Buffalo at Boston: 7 PM
Washington at Montreal: 7 PM
Vancouver at Los Angeles: 10 PM