(Image from the Pensblog)
Now the Senators can shake the Pens hands...
But who would have thought that goaltending--arguably the most volatile link all season for the Senators--would have been their strongest link in the playoffs. Take nothing away from Martin Gerber; he played a whale of a series. But there is only so much a goaltender can do. Take a powerplay for the Penguins. And Sidney Crosby with open ice. And a perfect cross-ice pass to a streaking, uncovered Evgeni Malkin in a perfect scoring position. No one can expected to stop that. Gerber did. But the rebound popped back out to Malkin who swatted it in.
Gerber made 7 saves on Marian Hossa. In the first period.
The second goal, on a strange Jarkko Ruutu semi-breakaway saw him somehow sneak it 5-hole. It looked like Gerber just lifted his stick slightly and that was a mistake but a small one magnified. Ruutu was sprung on a terrific pass by Tyler "Mr" Kennedy, which goes to show it's not just the Crosby's and Malkin's and Hossa's that are getting it done for Pittsburgh right now, it's any forward on any shift.
The Antoine Vermette 'no-goal' seems to be without controversy for us. That obviously was a distinct kicking motion towards the net. Our only question was whether the puck may have deflected off of one of the defending Kris Letang's or Marc-Andre Fleury's stick.
Shots, at the end were 30-13 Penguins. They've just over-matched and outclassed Ottawa at every turn.
Sens fans may argue that the Pens got too many powerplays this series, but you look at the penalties (like Dany Heatley or Christoph Schubert's slashes or Nick Foligno's boarding) and they're no brainers. The team that works harder will generally draw more penalties and an undisciplined team will force the referee's hands.
Couple of interesting notes to leave you with:
- 5 goals surrendered in a series is a new record for the Penguins. Credit not only Marc-Andre Fleury (who won't have to answer to anyone on his post-season performance anytime soon) but also the entire defense and even backchecking forwards for clamping down and limiting opportunities.
- Jarkko Ruutu, who's been lamented here for taking too many penalties, didn't take a single one all series.
- The Pens scored 16 goals in 4 games, and even more impressively they came from the sticks of 10 different players. You talk about depth and everyone stepping up, you talk about Pittsburgh right now.
- The last time Pittsburgh swept a series, they defeated a young Jeremy Roenick and Dominik Hasek and a 30 year old Chris Chelios to win the Stanley Cup in 1992.
And, best of all, we'll never again have to live with seeing this picture and feeling bad...
4 down, 12 to go!!!!!