Three things we learned in the NHL: Angry Kessel leads Pens past Sens

Phil Kessel was unusually emotive as the Penguins struggled to generate offence against the Senators, getting irate on the bench whenever he got off the ice.

Phil Kessel turns anger into heroics
• Injuries continue to plague Penguins
Marc-Andre Fleury hits a milestone

It took until the third period, but the Pittsburgh Penguins eventually found the back of the net and evened their Eastern Conference Final with the Ottawa Senators at one game apiece on Monday.

Phil Kessel was the hero for the defending champs but it wasn’t easy. Both teams were in each other’s faces all night and that meant two more Penguins could miss time with injuries.

Here are three things we learned.

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Angry Phil becomes a hero

Kessel was clearly in a mood all night. The video at the top of this post shows him snapping at teammates on the bench at a few different times in the game.

But we’re pretty sure that anger went away after Kessel found the back of the net, scoring the game’s only goal late in the third period.

The goal was Kessel’s sixth of the playoffs and gives him 14 points in 14 games. But it was only his second goal in the month of May, a span of seven games.

The Penguins are certainly hoping this goal is the spark Kessel needs to get back on a roll. It’s clear from the emotion he showed on the bench that he’s motivated to win and the Senators should watch out.

Head coach Mike Sullivan agreed with Marc-Andre Fleury that being angry isn’t a bad thing.

“I think it brings energy to the bench,” Sullivan said post-game. “It tells me that we have a bunch of guys that are invested and that they want to win.”

After the game, Kessel spoke with Hockey Night in Canada’s Scott Oake.


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Penguins’ injuries continue to pileup

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been battling injuries all season and things didn’t get any better on Monday. While the team is certainly happy with the win, they definitely are not happy with the loss of two more key players.

In the first period of Game 2, the team lost forward Bryan Rust and defenceman Justin Schultz, who both left the game on unrelated plays. Rust was the victim of a massive hit from Dion Phaneuf, while Schultz left after a collision with Mike Hoffman behind the Penguins net.

Phaneuf played a very aggressive game, including some after-the-whistle stuff with Sidney Crosby. In the second intermission, Phaneuf spoke with Hockey Night in Canada’s Scott Oake about the rough stuff happening on the ice.

After the game, the Penguins didn’t have an update on their injured players, including Patric Hornqvist, who was a surprise omission from the team’s lineup in Game 2.

With Game 3 on Wednesday, it’s unclear for now if any of them will be in the lineup.

Add in defenceman Trevor Daley, who has missed the last four games, and Kris Letang, who is done for the season, and the Penguins continue find a way to limp on through the playoffs.

Fleury picks up 10th career playoff shutout

Fleury wasn’t super busy in Game 2, but he did hit a milestone with his 10th shutout of his post-season career.

Fleury made 23 saves in the win and his second shutout of these playoffs. That included some chaotic ones late in the game when the Senators had their net pulled for the extra attacker.

The Penguins did a good job at shutting the Senators down, including a stretch where Ottawa didn’t have a shot for over 18 minutes straight. But Fleury stayed focused and was able to shut the door.

Fleury now has a 2.32 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage in 14 playoff games. With the NHL Expansion Draft looming, the Penguins will have a tough decision to make about the team’s future in net.

But for now, the focus is on bringing home another Stanley Cup. And so far Fleury has given them a great chance to do so.

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