Pittsburgh Penguins vs Ottawa Senators
Tonight: 7:00 PM ET / 4:00 PM PT
In The Cage:
PIT: Marc-Andre Fleury (5-3-0)
OTT: Craig Anderson (7-2-2)
Leading Scorer (Goals):
PIT: James Neal (8)
OTT: Erik Karlsson (6)
PIT: 32 (10th Overall)
OTT: 23 (1st Overall)
PIT: 40 (3rd Overall)
OTT: 33 (16th Overall)
The Pens and Sens are tied for 5th in the East. This game will be huge in determining who will be in prime position to challenge for their division early. Craig Anderson will be in net for the Sens, Marc-Andre Fleury for the Penguins. Matt Niskanen will return to play in tonight’s game.
Players To Watch: Evgeni Malkin, Matt Niskanen, Erik Karlsson, Craig Anderson
The Sens are the best defensive team in the NHL right now and after the series with New Jersey, questions are raised about the Pens ability to deal with a great defense. I think the Sens will pull out the win tonight and take sole possession of 5th in the East.
Pittsburgh Penguins – 2
Ottawa Senators – 3
The Pens clicked offensively against the Senators and James Neal scored twice to give the Pens a much needed victory but that was hardly the story of the evening. An incident involving a collision between Matt Cooke and Erik Karlsson took center stage in the game. In a play that had yet to be whistled dead while the puck had gone out of play, Matt Cooke and Erik Karlsson collided into the boards but the skate of Cooke was slightly elevated and hit the back portion of Karlsson’s leg, lacerating his Achilles tendon. Karlsson will be out indefinitely and will be re-evaluated back in Ottawa. The play did not appear to be intentional, rather just poor and unlucky body positioning for Cooke, but the league office and Brendan Shanahan will no doubt review the play from every possible angle. The question then becomes will the league office judge this play fairly or will Cooke’s history come into play before they make the judgement? I believe Shanahan is a consummate professional and will make the right call regardless of the name. While some fans around the NHL believe that the play was a deliberate attempt to injure Karlsson, most feel that it was simply an unfortunate accident involving two players vying for optimal body positioning.Sens forward Chris Neil went after Matt Cooke on a shift following the incident, drawing a game misconduct for both players.
In the actual game, both Kris Letang and Matt Niskanen made their returns to the ice and played very well. Pascal Dupuis got the scoring started for the Penguins late in the first period with assists to Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, who has been red-hot the last 5 games. A pair of Senators goals by Stepnahe Da Costa and Jim O’Brien would give the Sens a 2-1 lead but the Pens would have the answer as James Neal scored on the powerplay at 13:47 of the second to tie the game. In the third, Neal would score again, his 10th of the year to give the Pens the 3-2 advantage. Late in the game Sidney Crosby added the insurance goal, giving the Pens a 4-2 win. Crosby now has 20 points, and another 3 point game following his quiet series against New Jersey. He now sits tied with Patrick Kane for 2nd in league scoring with 20 points, just 3 behind Thomas Vanek but it is James Neal who will get our nod on this night. ‘The Real Deal’ is our Pens Iceberg Player of the Game. The Penguins will play the Jets on Friday night at the MTS Center in Winnipeg, perhaps fitting since the Pens dealt Eric Tangradi to the Jets early in the afternoon for a 7th round pick.