Goaltender Matt Murray picked up his second career postseason shutout as the Pittsburgh Penguins thrashed Ottawa 7-0 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final on Sunday afternoon at PPG Paints Arena, pushing the Senators to the brink of elimination.
Senators coach Guy Boucher believes his squad got overly excited in Game 5, losing its identity by trying to go head to head with the Penguins, playing a run-and-gun skill game.
On that possession, per the Tribune-Review's tally, the Penguins completed 17 passes, attempted eight shots, tracked down eight loose pucks, and forced two Senators turnovers.
It means he wants his team to attack opponents with speed, aggression and a dash of responsibility. The Senators embarrassed themselves by coming apart at the seams as the Penguins poured on the offence to take a 3-2 series lead and move to within one victory of going to the final for the second straight year. He has been diagnosed with a concussion, which would make playing in Game 6 seem like a longshot.
The Penguins seized a 3-2 lead over the visiting Senators in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference final series with a chance to advance by winning Tuesday in the Canadian capital.
Crosby says they have to draw from the lessons from those prior missed opportunities, and make sure they play with desperation. I think theyre the better team right now, so hopefully they play that way.
The Penguins might already be there. It was a stark change for a power-play unit that had previously struggled in the series.
But Ottawa stood firm through more than two periods and killed off all five Pittsburgh power-plays during regulation.
After getting his first start of the postseason Friday, Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray was back in between the pipes Sunday. I think one of them is stay humble and dont get too ahead of yourself, said centre Zack Smith. "I think everyone relies on each other".
While the Sens have been the kings of the comeback this playoff season, the Penguins have a record of 4-0 when leading after the first period, and a record of 8-1 when taking a lead into the third period. "It's all about desperation at this time of the year". In the first three games of this series, the Penguins scored a total of three goals, making Senators' goalie Craig Anderson look like a star. He was replaced by Mike Condon. Less than two minutes later the Penguins made it 4-0.
Obviously some concern over the health of the Senators, who have been struck by a rash of injuries such that they sat out a number of players in the third period once the game was out of reach.
While the Senators penalty kill clicks at 88.9 percent, they still take more minor penalties than any team left in the playoffs and have been shorthanded 45 times this postseason, third-most among all 16 teams. Game 6 is Tuesday in Ottawa; if a Game 7 is required, it will be Thursday back in Pittsburgh. A similar (and possibly more vicious, calculated attack) was assessed a 1 game suspension back in Round 1 when Columbus' Matt Calvert broke his stick on Tom Kuhnhackl for no reason late in a big loss. "Just one of those bad days".
The Pens suddenly have not just two, but three lines operating once more with Sidney Crosby returning to form (two goals, two assists in his last two games), Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel firing effectively in tandem and the just-united trio of Nick Bonino, Carter Rowney and Bryan Rust spurring three goals in Game 5. Olli Maatta and Trevor Daley also scored for Pittsburgh.
The Predators earned a 3-1 victory Saturday night in Anaheim, executing a near-perfect road-game plan. The Penguins scratched D Justin Schultz (upper body) and F Patric Hornqvist (upper body). Boucher said Anderson will start Game 6.