Is it possible for hockey fans to become desensitized to playoff overtime?
Nah. No chance.
Saturday night’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final was the 25th extra-time affair of these Stanley Cup Playoffs and no one will argue against the sheer excitement that OT brings. Especially not the Ottawa Senators.
Bobby Ryan scored a beautiful overtime winner again as the Sens ended up on the right side of the ledger, defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 to take an early 1-0 series lead.
Here are a few things we learned from the contest.
Get back to the office in no time with BPs New Half-Time Lunch and $10 Combos. Dine-In Only. Click here to learn more.
These Senators seem to actually prefer playing in sudden death.
Saturday marked Ottawa’s seventh(!) overtime game this post-season, with the club improving to 6-1 in those affairs. Ryan has scored a total of five goals in the playoffs, with two counting as extra-time game winners.
Ryan also tallied an assist on Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s first-period goal to continue his heroic post-season run. After scoring a measly 25 points in 62 regular-season games, he’s now got 11 points in 13 playoff contests.
The Senators managed to go 5-for-5 on the penalty kill, even surviving a two-man advantage by the Penguins in the first period.
Sure, you can’t argue with results, but it’s worth mentioning that Ottawa leads the league with 70 penalties this post-season.
If the club continues to play with fire, chances are Pittsburgh’s power-play monsters Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel will eventually take advantage.
Anderson is a Gladiator!
Ottawa’s 1-3-1 formation worked charmingly on Saturday, stifling the Pens and their home crowd for the better part of the first two-and-a-half periods, before Malkin broke through with the tying goal.
Not to be forgotten, though, is the stellar play of Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson, who bailed his team out when needed, stopping 27 of 28 shots. He was especially strong in the first period, helping the Sens kill off the aforementioned penalties.
Anderson now has won three straight games, posting a 2.20 goals-against average and .930 save percentage in the process. It’s a stark rebound from the prior three contests, when he allowed 12 goals combined in Games 2-4 of the second round against the New York Rangers.