Who said you need your star players to carry the load against the defending Stanley Cup Champions? It was the likes of Chris Neil, Chris Kelly and Jarkko Ruutu that led the way for Ottawa in a 5-4 Game 1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Chipping in offensively for Ottawa was rookie defensemen Erik Karlsson and another rookie in forward Peter Regin. The kids didn’t do too bad in their debut. Although Regin is going to have stay out of the penalty box in Game 2 or it will burn the Sens even more. Evegni Malkin scored scored twice on the powerplay, both times when Regin was stuck in the box.
Chris Campoli had a monster game on defense. He was so steady and had three blocked shots for Ottawa. His ability to strategically dump the puck in was key tonight in the Sens win.
Seeing Matt Cooke, Jordan Staal and Tyler Kennedy each finish with a minus two has to be concerning to Pens fans. So does their PK, as Ottawa went 2 for 3 on the PP.
Sens captain Daniel Alfredsson had a very average game and was pretty much a non-factor all game long. He registered one assist but going all game without a shot is inexcusable and he needs to be FAR better in Game 2.
Ottawa did lose Milan Michalek in the third period and it looks like he won’t be available for Game 2. If that is the case, head coach Cory Clouston needs to dress Sean Donovan, not Ryan Shannon. Donovan has so much playoff experience and brings that edge that the fourth line will need. He will lead on that line by example as Jesse Winchester and Zach Smith need some experience injected into that line. Ottawa needs to roll four lines and I hope Clouston’s love fest for Shannon is checked at the door in favour of Donovan.
The Sens did what they had too, win at least one game in Pittsburgh. Now they can do the unthinkable and possibly take a 2-0 series lead home on Friday night. All the pressure is on Pittsburgh to tie up this series on Friday night. This is exactly how Ottawa wanted it!
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About the Author
Written by Kevin Lee
Kevin has had an extensive career as a sports writer and radio show host for almost 10 years. Kevin has covered the NFL, NHL, MLB, NCAA College Football and Basketball. From covering the BCS Championship Game to the Final Four and the Stanley Cup Finals, he has done it all. He has been featured on numerous sports radio stations in Canada and the United States and often a weekly guest on numerous XM and Sirius Satellite radio shows. He has also had his work featured on FoxSports.com.