The defending Stanley Cup champs didn’t quite get the start they wanted to their 2010 postseason, dropping Game 1 of their quarterfinals matchup with the Ottawa Senators. Marc-Andre Fleury looked shaky in net, and the big story of the night was the performance of the Senators’ 3rd line of Chris Neil, Chris Kelly and Jarkko Ruutu that combined for 3 goals and 6 points on the night.
Evgeny Malkin got things going for the Pens in the first, scoring the first of two powerplay goals just 13 seconds into a Peter Regin hooking penalty. Regin would get redemption a few minutes later, crashing the net and banging home a loose puck to tie the game at 1-1. Neil scored his first goal of the playoffs later in the first to give the Sens a 2-1 lead heading into the 2nd.
The second period was all about the powerplay, as all 3 goals in the frame were scored with the man advantage. Chris Kelly scored with Kris Letang in the box for slashing Ruutu to put the Sens up by two just over a minute into the 2nd. Malkin would cut the lead in half with an almost identical goal to his first period marker, scoring 13 seconds into a powerplay with Peter Regin, ripping a shot past Brian Elliott from the top of the circles. Rookie Erik Karlsson put Ottawa back up by two on their next powerplay, with Chris Kunitz in the box for a big hit on sniper Jason Spezza. >
In the 3rd, Pittsburgh played a much better period, after being outshot 19-11 over the first two frames. Craig Adams scored his first goal since last year, beating Elliott with a quick wrister to the top shelf, and Mellon Arena was rocking, as it looked like the Pens were gonna storm back. Elliott stood tall, however, and former Penguin Jarkko Ruutu took a nice feed from Chris Neil and beat an out-of-position Fleury to score what would end up being the game winner. Sidney Crosby recorded his 3rd assist of the night on a beautiful no look backhand pass from behind the net that found Alex Goligoski creeping in from the point with just over 2 minutes to play, and the Penguins were within a goal of tying this one. However, despite a late flurry, Pittsburgh was unable to find the back of the net again.
Even though the Senators turned in a great effort on Wednesday, they’ll have to be at their top of the game for the rest of this series, as Fleury and the Penguins will be revved up and looking to avenge a loss on their home ice. Tomorrow night’s game at Mellon should be great hockey.