The Pittsburgh Penguins were shocked with an overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final. Tonight, the Senators can really put pressure on the defending champions with a win in Game 2.
The Penguins will do everything they can to stop that from happening and the Senators will need to be almost perfect if they want to win.
Game 2: 8 p.m. ET on CBC
Will the Senators be more disciplined?
If the Senators want to head home with two wins in hand, staying more disciplined is a necessity.
In Game 1, the Senators took five minor penalties, including four in the first period. Lucky for them, Pittsburgh failed to capitalize on any of them.
But with so many stars on the Penguins, tempting them with power plays will not lead to wins most of the time. The Penguins are clicking at 19 per cent on the power play in the playoffs, the best percentage of any team still playing. Ottawa would be wise to not give them many chances in Game 2.
Both the Senators and Penguins have plenty of offensive options but their two biggest stars were both silent in Game 1. Erik Karlsson for the Senators and Sidney Crosby for the Penguins were both held off the scoresheet last game but that should change in Game 2.
Both players are battling injuries, but their teams’ offence flows through them.
Karlsson, who leads the Senators with 13 points in the playoffs, uses his amazing playmaking skills to give his teammates scoring chances. Crosby, who has 14 points, does the same for the Penguins.
Whichever one gets hot first will instantly give their team an advantage. Look for them to both add some points in Game 2.
Is more overtime in the cards?
This year’s edition of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is poised to shatter the record for most overtime games in one year, and the Ottawa Senators have found themselves playing in a lot of them. Game 1 was the Senators’ sixth playoff win in overtime and their eighth win by only one goal.
The Senators probably don’t like how close their wins have been, but their track record of success is hard to come by. If Game 2 is tied late in the third period, Ottawa will definitely be in its comfort zone.
You could argue that one-goal games are a scary edge to skate on. And with all of the offensive weapons in the Pittsburgh lineup that is definitely true.
But the Senators have shown so far that success in those tight situations can sometimes be the difference between a series win and an early summer.