Here’s your daily recap from last night’s game, and what to look for in tonight’s action.
Eastern Conference Finals Game 1
How many times is Bobby Ryan going to be the hero for the Senators this year?
The former second pick of the 2005 draft won Game 1 for Ottawa over the Pittsburgh Penguins, who hold the number one pick from that year: Sidney Crosby. Crosby couldn’t find an assist or a goal, but Ryan found one of each, with the latter being the breakaway goal that decided a key away matchup.
Ottawa seemed to want to give it away in the first period with four penalties versus none by the Penguins. But the no-look assist by Ryan to Jean-Gabriel Pageau put them on the board first. The Penguins could only tally 8 shots that period even with the help.
It appeared the Senators had scored again on a wraparound, but the referees determined the play was whistled dead, although not without controversy. The call would really be felt when Evgeni Malkin redirected a shot through the pads of Craig Anderson with just over five minutes left in the third period to force overtime.
But Bobby Ryan, who was a big factor in overtime wins against Boston in the first round, came through once again, slapping the puck cross ice and beating a Olli Maata to backhand it by Fleury.
Not what the black and yellow expected from the hot-starting Penguins of the past two series.
- Jake Crouse
Western Conference Game 2
Three Things to Watch
- Puck Possession - The early stages of game one were filled with a plethora of Anaheim turnovers, which gave the Predators a series of early chances and the game's first lead. The Ducks will need to cut down on the turnovers in game two on home ice. They can't afford to let lazy mistakes hurt them again in game two, especially right before going to Bridgestone Arena for games three and four.
- Defenses Collide - Nashville and Anaheim are among the league's best defensive teams, and while the defense wasn't a massive source of offense in game one, it has been up to this point for both teams in the postseason, so expect that to continue. Anaheim will certainly need their defense to be very involved on offense in creating transition chances. They have a list of dangerous offensive blueliners that can make a substantial difference. A big game from Sami Vatanen could be a game changer for the Ducks.
- Special Teams - The Ducks haven't scored in 21 consecutive power play opportunities, including an 0-for-4 effort in game one. For their own sake, they need to get things going with a man up, which will start with getting more shots on net. They only got four shots in four power plays on Friday. They need to get more pucks on Pekka Rinne. Rinne can steal a game, seemingly at will, and if you're not testing him often, that's a huge disadvantage you're putting yourself in.
- Brett Finger