The Ottawa Senators lost Game #1 in Pittsburgh last night to the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 4-1, and the Penguins took a 1 game to none series lead. But that didn't mean the game wasn't full of surprises.
To start, Ottawa got off to a terrible start as the Penguin guns came out in the early parts of the first period, but Ottawa survived a 1-0 deficit, got their game going, and managed to tie the game up 1-1 before the Penguins scored to take the lead in the game. The Sens played a superb second period, keeping the Pens hemmed in their own end for sequences, but a power play late in the second period allowed Pittsburgh to take a 3-1 lead in the game, and regain the momentum for the third period. If Ottawa was victimised by anything in this game it was special teams. Ottawa squandered five power plays in the game, while Pittsburgh was 2 for 4 on the power play, and to add insult to injury scored in the third period with Ottawa on the power play! Crosby, Iginla, and some of the other big Penguin guns didn't really make a dent in the game, Ottawa's defenders doing a relatively good job, but the Penguins found a way to win the game. But the Penguin juggernaut showed a little bit of what might be in store for Game #2 with their third period play.
On the injury front, this was a game that had several pairs hurt and injured, and go back to the dressing room only to return later. Not so lucky was Eric Gryba, he of the hit on Lars Eller against Montreal that resulted in a 2-game suspension. Gryba and Brooks Orpik collided together in the second period, two big men, and while Orpik was slightly shaken up, Eric Gryba didn't return to the game. (Possibly concussed.) A big loss for the Sens in more than one way, as Gryba was a solid, big man on defense that the Sens are going to need going forward in this series.
This was a game that Ottawa could have, should have won on many levels. But the Pittsburgh Penguins proved on this night that they've got what it takes to win even when they don't play a full 60 minutes of good hockey. And you can bet coach Dan Bylsma had some words for his Penguins when it was all said and done.
I won't be able to watch Game #2 on Friday night and Game #3 on Sunday night, as I'll be over at the local gaming convention, CanGames, this weekend. But I'm hoping the Sens rebound in Game #2 in Pittsburgh, and come back to Ottawa for the two games here with a 1-1 split in Pittsburgh.
Go, Sens, Go!