The No. 7-seed Ottawa Senators did not look like a completely different team than what they did during their stunning 4-1 series upset over the No. 2-seed Montrael Canadiens in Round 1, but their 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of round two left much to be desired in what is perhaps the most key area of this series.
Despite forcing Pens netminder Tomas Vokoun to save 35 of 36 shots compared to the 30 shots on Craig Anderson, it was special teams that crushed Ottawa. If they can fix that area heading into Game 2, then the Sens could very well have a shot against the regular-season points leaders.
Three goals off power play and struggles on their own end offensively ultimately beat Ottawa in the first contest, and it could make the difference going forward.
“Special teams [are] huge, and again this power play that they have with all those players, they’re dangerous,” Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot said, via NHL.com. “Whether we’ve got to play with more discipline, whatever that is; whatever the answer is, it’s something we have to focus in on.” Ottawa Coach Pat MacLean concurred, “We only took three minor penalties in the game and they took advantage of two of them. That’s to their credit; obviously their PP is clicking at 33 percent, so we can’t do that.”
Ottawa boasted the league’s best penalty kill during the regular season, so there’s reason to believe they will fair better in this department the rest of the series. The teams meet in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals best-of-seven at 7:30 p.m. ET tonight in Pittsburgh.