What To Watch For: Senators have Penguins on ropes ahead of Game 4

The Ottawa Senators were spectacular in Game 3, scoring four goals in the opening period leading them to a dominant 5-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Sens take a 2-1 series lead.

The Pittsburgh Penguins were expected to march through the Eastern Conference Final and onto the Stanley Cup Final but a frustrating Ottawa Senators squad has other plans.

A decimated blue line, plus an inability to capitalize on their chances they way they did against the Capitals in the previous round, sees the Penguins in a hole heading into Friday’s contest and looking to avoid going down 3-1.

Here’s what to watch for in Game 4:

vs.

Game 4: 8 p.m. ET on CBC

Can the Penguins get to Anderson?

It’s not a stretch to say the Senators’ defensive style of play is less than appealing from an aesthetic point of view, but it has proven to be quite effective.

The team is well aware of what people are saying about it too.

Ottawa has managed to limit Pittsburgh’s scoring chances and Craig Anderson has come up large when needed. Anderson has allowed just one goal per game against the Pens and has a .963 save percentage. With one more win he’ll tie Patrick Lalime for the most playoff wins in franchise history.

Pens confident in whoever’s in the crease

The main mystery to emerge from Game 3 was whether we’d see Marc-Andre Fleury or Matt Murray in net going forward. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan has done his best to remain diplomatic about the situation and, no surprise, has confidence in both players.

Penguins win series (4-3)
Pittsburgh
Penguins
3
Ottawa
Senators
2
FINAL
“Well I think we have loyalty to our whole group, I don’t think it’s any one particular guy,” Sullivan told reporters Thursday. “This is a team and it’s a team in the true sense of the word. So are we appreciative of the contributions that all of our guys make, Marc included? Yes, absolutely. We wouldn’t be to the point where we’re at without these guys—any of them—so that’s how we look at it. I think we have loyalty to our whole team.”

Will the Sens be able to get the power play going?

Heading into Game 3 the Sens were 0-for-17 with the man advantage in a seven-game stretch. Despite the 5-1 victory, they couldn’t bury one on special teams. They went 0-for-4 Wednesday, which means they’re now 0-for-21 in the past eight games.