Pens submit to Ru-Jitsu.
What a game.
There’s nothing, absolutely nothing, like watching your team play a post season game.
As the game began, it didn’t look good for Ottawa. Elliott looked every bit as nervous as some feared he may be, and after suffering a near escape, was scored upon early by a laser from Malkin.
Would he fold?
He was everything we hoped he would be, competent, if not spectacular. The team in front of him did their best to limit the chances against, and carry as much of the play in the offensive end as possible. This is why they won. Spectacular coaching, and spectacular team execution. Add to this some luck in the form of the carom off the glass, and you have yourself a HUGE game one victory.
What was most impressive, to me, was the play of the 3rd and 4th lines. This depth paid huge dividends, scoring 3 of the five goals, and making the Pens pay a physical toll shift in, shift out. Ruutu was at his best, Neil was a monster, and Kelly, Smith, and Winnie won virtually every shift they played.
A big nod needs to go to young Karlsson as well. What an amazing performance in this young rookies first ever post season game. A goal, second among dmen in TOI, and 3rd in 5-5 TOI, in his FIRST play-off game!
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Pens will be better come next game, they will adapt, and their experience will not allow them to get down heading into game 2. The Sens will have to be better still to win the next game, let alone the series. Regin must be better defensively. The scoring must continue through-out the line-up. And lastly, the Sens have to remain committed to playing a simple, low risk, highly structured system. Any arrogance getting them off of their game will cost them dearly.
Man, was that ever fun!