Bobby Ryan's second overtime goal of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs was the difference-maker Saturday as the Ottawa Senators beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in the opening game of the Eastern Conference Final.
The Senators got on the board at 14:32 in the first period. Bobby Ryan collected the loose puck behind the Penguins net and sent a no-look backhanded pass to Jean-Gabriel Pageau near the the right face-off circle. Pageau's top-shelf wrist shot beat Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
Evgeni Malkin tied the game for Pittsburgh with 6:35 left in regulation. Chris Kunitz sent a shot from the boards toward the net, where Malkin was camping out and deflected the puck past Ottawa's Craig Anderson to make it 1-1.
Ryan ended the game with a backhander at 4:59 in overtime, the fifth OT-winner of his career and the sixth extra-time win of the 2017 postseason for the Senators. The goal stole home ice advantage for the visitors and gave them a 1-0 series lead. Game 2 is set for Monday in Pittsburgh.
Five power plays, zero goals
Pittsburgh had plenty of opportunities to take Game 1 Saturday night thanks to five power plays, including four in the first period. Ottawa had two early penalties, including a too-many-men call to give the Penguins a 5-on-3 power play in the first period. The result? Nothing. Two more Ottawa penalties were whistled in the second half of the opening frame and, again, nothing. How about a Senators penalty in the second period? Another lost man-advantage.
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It's easy to say that Pittsburgh needs to correct this going forward if it wants to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, but it's also very true.
Pageau stays hot
Jean-Gabriel Pageau's goal was his eighth during the 2017 playoffs, putting him second in Senators' franchise history for the most goals in a single postseason. He trails Daniel Alfredsson, who recorded 14 during 2007 run to the Cup Final.
Six of Pageau's tallies have come in Ottawa's last five playoff games. Four found the back of the net April 29 in a 6-5 double-overtime win against the New York Rangers.
Penguins' headliners shy away from the spotlight
Yes, Evgeni Malkin scored Saturday night to force overtime. It was his 148th career postseason point, good for third all-time in Penguins' franchise history. However, his co-stars in Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel were relatively quiet once again. Kessel finished the night with three shots on goal and he hasn't scored in three consecutive games. Crosby recorded just two shots and finished at minus-one. While Crosby has assists in Pittsburgh's last three games prior to Saturday, he hasn't scored a goal in his last six games. Depth scoring is important—see Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust—but Pittsburgh's big names need to end their drought in a hurry.