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Cullen: Crosby's hat trick sinks Sens

Scott Cullen
5/18/2013 12:32:28 AM
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Pittsburgh Penguins C Sidney Crosby put his stamp on the series with the Ottawa Senators, scoring three goals in the Penguins' 4-3 Game Two victory, giving Pittsburgh a 2-0 series lead.

Crosby's hat trick chased Senators G Craig Anderson 1:15 into the second period. After a stellar first round against Montreal, when he posted a .950 save percentage, Anderson has a 5.19 goals against average and .863 save percentage through the first two games against Pittsburgh. Small sample, obviously, but if the Senators are going to upset the Penguins, they're going to need their goaltending to be excellent.

Of course, it doesn't help matters when the Senators give up 21 shots in 21:15 -- that's a losing recipe no matter who is in goal. By game's end, Pittsburgh had outshot Ottawa 42-22, which makes a 4-3 final score seem closer than play dictated.

Penguins G Tomas Vokoun, who had been a stabilizing presence since taking over from Marc-Andre Fleury in the Islanders series, wasn't strong in Game Two, allowing three goals on 22 shots. The Penguins won, so Vokoun will probably keep starting, but this game could open the door for Fleury to return if Vokoun stumbles in Ottawa.

Crosby had six shots on goal, while RW Jarome Iginla had eight shots on goal for Pittsburgh. It was the first game in the playoffs that Iginla recorded more than two shots on goal.

Penguins C Evgeni Malkin, who was centering Iginla incidentally, recorded an assist for the eighth consecutive playoff game. Only Bobby Orr, in 1971-1972 (11 times) has done it more in one playoff.

Senators LW Colin Greening, who scored their second goal and had five shots on goal, was the only Ottawa player with more than two shots. Greening and C Zack Smith had the best possession numbers for the Senators.

On a night in which the Senators had four defencemen play more than 20 minutes, Erik Karlsson logged a season-low 15:54, after playing 26:58 in Game One. If Karlsson is feeling the effects of trying to return so quickly from his Achilles injury, that will be crushing for the Sens. Karlsson's dynamic puck-moving ability gives Ottawa a much better chance to succeed, but he has to be able to handle his defensive responsibilities too.

A couple other notes:

It was also a tough night for Sens rookies Jakob Silfverberg and Mika Zibanejad, both were minus-2 in limited ice time, 10:12 and 7:52, respectively.

Inserted into the lineup for an injured Eric Gryba, Senators D Andre Benoit was plus-2 for Ottawa.

Penguins D Matt Niskanen was plus-3 and had the best possession numbers for the Penguins in Game Two.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.



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