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Published: Mon, May 15, 2017
Sport | By Dustin Murphy

Bobby Ryan lifts Senators past Penguins in OT in Game 1

Bobby Ryan lifts Senators past Penguins in OT in Game 1

But until you see it in person, see how consistently and religiously the Senators execute, it's truly impossible to visualize.

While the Senators seemed happy to analyse their 2-1 overtime win Saturday, they were equally intent on looking ahead to Game 2, set for Monday night at PPG Paints Arena, and expressing a belief in themselves moving further into the series. It works for them, seeing as they're one of the final four teams in the playoffs. 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. Now I'm getting to redeem myself a little bit.

The Penguins enter the series a heavy favorite after winning the Cup past year and ousting Washington in the second round in a battle between the NHL's two winningest teams this season.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon). Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby stretches out for the puck as a teammate jumps over him during the third period of Game 7 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinal against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Wedne. Yes, just one in 26 power plays against. If anything, he's embraced it. "You're talking about the Pittsburgh Penguins here, so denying entries is one thing, but what you want to do is really deny the speed of the entry because now you can defend". Now Ottawa finds itself on equal footing and hardly appeared intimidated by the stage.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau opened the scoring in the first period with his eighth goal of the postseason and seventh in his last six games. The problem wasn't Ottawa's neutral zone trap created to slow teams down but a decided lack of aggression once Malkin, captain Sidney Crosby and company crossed the Senators' blue line.

"To be honest with you, we didn't talk about Crosby once", Senators coach Guy Boucher said.

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At the start of the match closer to success was "Pittsburgh" - "Penguins" didn't realize the double majority and Gentzel and Hornqvist hit the woodwork. Kessel finished the night with three shots on goal and he hasn't scored in three consecutive games.

"We're keeping everything internal, staying away from clippings and all that kind of stuff", Ryan said.

The Senators score again but the refs take it back, ruled to have whistled the play dead just before. It may not be fun hockey, but their slow-down, keep-play-to-the-corners style frustrated the Penguins all game. "The goal being the Stanley Cup, you have to ask questions about your core players and whether they can get you to the promised land".

Two days after Nashville's 3-2 overtime victory at Honda Center in the series opener, Johansen and Neal scored in the opening 8:32 of Game 2. “But at least now when I say theres going to be pushback the guys can imagine it now. We're aware of their strengths, but if we pay special attention to Crosby, then Malkin's going to give it to us. The majority of their successful zone entries came this way, and has historically been the blueprint for beating the 1-3-1. The puck zipped over Fleury's glove and suddenly Ottawa had the lead of both the game and the series. Evgeni Malkin had a quiet night up to this point but he gets a nice redirect on a Chris Kunitz shot and it just sneaks under the pads of Anderson to tie it at 1.

No matter. The Senators did what they've done repeatedly during their surprising run to the NHL's final four: they found a way. And while we'll make a big deal out of the trap and the system and the Senators' attention to detail, it's the execution that is most impressive.

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