Thursday, May 25, 2017

No Fairytale Ending To Cinderella Story Run

There really is only one way for a game 7 to end and that is with a double overtime winner.
Chris Kunitz picked the perfect time to score only his second goal since February for the Pittsburgh Penguins, firing a knuckle ball past a screened Craig Anderson to send the fans into delirium.  His first goal since February was the opening goal in the second.  He also picked up an assist on this eventful night for the veteran winger.

The Ottawa Senators have proven doubters wrong pretty much all season long.  There weren't many who believed they would even make the playoffs in the first place, let along go as far as they did.  They battled back every step of the way, showing resilience, but the magic finally ran out despite some sublime performances in game 7 by Anderson and Erik Karlsson.

Karlsson seem to be on the ice every other shift, finishing with a game high 39:33, six minutes more than the next high man, Marc Methot.  Most of the time, those minutes were spent having to fend off Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin, not to mention looking to create offence, which he did, assisting on both Ottawa goals.  We all knew how good of a player Karlsson was before these playoffs began, but after watching him play throughout these playoffs, he has opened eyes to just how much of an elite player he truly is.

Anderson had another unbelievable game, stopping 39 of 42 shots fired his way.  He made an incredible reactionary save in overtime, where he was surprised with a long shot as he cleared a discarded stick from the front of the net.  Not only was he the busier goalie, but was forced to make more in close saves than his counter part at the other end.  That isn't to say Matt Murray wasn't good for the Penguins.

You almost had to think that the Senators would find a way to continue their fairy tale run at least one more round.  It was, of course, not to be, as their dubious game 7 record now falls to 0-6.

A returning Justin Schultz scored on the power-play to give Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead after Dion Phaneuf took an interference penalty, which former Maple Leafs' teammate, Phil Kessel more than sold as he went down rather easily.

Ottawa responded with just 5:19 remaining in the third period.  Ryan Dzingel banged home a rebound at the side of the net after Erik Karlsson had let go a howitzer from the point which hit the post.

Pittsburgh dominated the first overtime period, out shooting Ottawa 8-2.  That included two glorious opportunities by Kessel.  On the first, he was flying down the left wing and just missed as he tried to out wait Anderson.  Late in overtime, he drove to the net and had the puck end up rolling up on the net and out.  Penguins fans, though, thought the puck had actually rolled inside the net and out, booing the final minute of the first overtime.

The big question, of course, is did the Penguins touch the Prince of Wales Trophy?  The answer is: yes.  Sidney Crosby, along with assistant captains, Evgeni Malkin and Kunitz, all grabbed a piece of the trophy and posed for a picture along with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daley.  Unlike their opponents in the Stanley Cup Final, Nashville Predators, they did not take a team photo with the trophy, instead Crosby quickly ushered it into the locker room.

In 2008, Crosby shunned the Prince of Wales trophy as if it were poisonous.  They lost the Stanley Cup to Detroit.  Only a year later, Crosby lifted up the trophy, and the Penguins won the rematch against the Red Wings for the franchises third Stanley Cup.  Last year, as you may expect, Crosby, Malkin, and Kunitz picked up the trophy and ended up needing to add a fourth cup to their 50th anniversary patch.  Will history repeat itself once more?

No comments:

Post a Comment