Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Stanley Cup playoffs: Senators trump Penguins in OT

Stanley Cup playoffs: Senators trump Penguins in OT

Before they send the Canadian capital packing along with the American capital, however, the Penguins are going to have to figure out how to win against a team that is, in so many ways, their polar opposite. The same guy who ended Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final with a lovely overtime goal was once so down on himself that he was reluctant to venture out of the house. Stream every single game of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs with Sportsnet NOW. Only once have they lost in extra time.

"I was kind of lucky that the puck found me", Ryan said. You don't win six consecutive postseason series by accident.

"We feel like nobody is picking us", Ryan said. "That's all I'm trying to do".

The Senators anticipate Pittsburgh tweaking its approach. "Whether it's overtime or third period or we're leading or we're trailing".

To know Ryan's story is to understand his struggle this season.

Ryan created tons of daylight by chipping the puck past Bryan Rust high in the Senators zone and then managed to skate around defenceman Olli Maatta before beating Marc-Andre Fleury with a backhand deke at 4:59.

Overtime was needed in Pittsburgh as the Senators prevailed 2-1 away from home on Saturday. More likely, it was payback for the stirring rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner delivered by Edmonton Oilers fans earlier in the playoffs when the anthem singer's microphone failed.

Ottawa managed to resuscitate itself, winning Game 5 in overtime and closing the series with a victory in NY in Game 6.

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The Penguins were coming in hot.

Just as captain Erik Karlsson embraced taking shorter shifts and blocking more shots, Ryan stopped cheating for offence.

"This is the Stanley Cup champions", said Ottawa head coach Guy Boucher.

It's not really a good look for the NHL at all, as despite their status as one of America's "big four sports" it's hard to imagine the NFL or NBA playoffs being shafted for golf of all things.

Pittsburgh had 5:50 of power-play time in the first period, including 45 seconds of 5-on-3 play. Hornqvist's shot rang off the post.

The Senators passed their all-important 10-minute mark intact and the Penguins rarely threatening. Ottawa won just three games combined while falling to Pittsburgh in 2008, 2010 and 2013.

Forward Alexandre Burrows put the puck past Fleury on a wraparound, but it was ruled no goal because of the official having intent to blow the whistle after losing sight of it.

The Penguins started the night leading the playoffs with 41 goals, an average of 3.4 per game. Dull, but often effective, hockey.

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"A little turnover, an opportunity, and we were able to capitalize", said teammate Clarke MacArthur. He smothered point shots, deflected deflections and froze scrambles.

For long stretches, it felt like the game could have been played in mid-December instead of mid-May, which was just fine by Ottawa.

"Bobby was everything on both goals", said Pageau. "Obviously, our best penalty killer was [Anderson]".

"For the most part, we find that the most fun", Ottawa centre Kyle Turris said of going to overtime.

As for the Senators, they also rarely threatened during the stalled second period. Ryan assisted on Jean-Gabriel Pageau's first-period goal, Craig Anderson made 27 saves and the Senators turned away five Pittsburgh power plays.

The Penguins seem curiously disengaged.

Pittsburgh will watch the tape of this game and see just how good Ottawa was at even strength.

Finally, however, the Penguins caught a break.

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Former teammates Mariano Rivera , Paul ONeill, Tino Martinez, David Cone and Hideki Matsui also were on hand. In the postseason - with the pressure ratcheted up in every at-bat - he hit.308 with an.838 OPS.

Malkin tied it 1-1 at 14:25 of the third on a tip-in from Chris Kunitz for his 19th point. His overtime victor gives his team a 1-0 series lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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