NHL nearing record for one-goal games this postseason

Lynette Rowe
May 19, 2017

Ottawa Senators left wing Mike Hoffman (68) celebrates after scoring against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period of game three of the Eastern Conference final in the NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoffs in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 17, 2017.The Ottawa Senators didn't expect to blow out the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference final. Ottawa now leads the series 2-1.

A day after his team was thrashed 5-1 in Game 3, Sullivan seemed intent on trying to build confidence and lighten the mood around a team chasing a second straight Stanley Cup. He lost his bid for a shutout when Crosby deflected a Phil Kessel shot though his legs at 6:07 of the third.

This works, obviously. The Senators aren't as fast or as offensively minded as numerous teams they face, so they level the playing field by taking a north-south game out of play for everyone. "It's not going to go 16 games in a row perfectly". That's good, I guess.

They have gone 1-1 on the road against the defending Stanley Cup champions in the Eastern Conference final.

The Crosby goal ended another drought as well; prior to this tally, it had been seven games since Crosby had scored. Daley was injured in Game 5 of the second-round series against Washington. More getting under the Penguins' skin.

As in one goal in the first minute, three in a two-minute span shortly thereafter, and one more in the second period. Fleury allowed four goals on nine shots, prompting Matt Murray's first playoff appearance this postseason.

Through three games in this series, the Penguins have scored just three goals.

Also, turns out he's still good, so that's nice to see. Craig Anderson has now stopped 80 of 83 shots in the series.

Welcome back, Penguins goalie controversy!

Because when the victors look back on their names engraved on the chalice, no one will remember them for what they looked like, only that they were the last team standing. In all of this, there's a huge truth here: Fleury has to be the guy in Game 4.

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A four-time 30-goal-scorer in the National Hockey League previously, Ryan had a sense for how the Sens clenched approach might be affecting the Penguins. The Senators did edge out the Penguins in shots, but not by a significant margin.

The Senators, boring? They were anything but in this one and now they're only two wins away from a trip to the Cup final.

"We simply have to be better".

This is weird to say after a blowout loss, I know.

The Finnish goaltender is owning this postseason, as he is as focused as ever while playing against the NHL's best top-four defensive group that features Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, Josi and P.K. Subban.

If they are able to escape into the Final, the Penguins' wounds will predictably become another knock against the Senators.

There is no Kris Letang on the blueline, out since April following surgery to fix a herniated disc in his neck. With Justin Schultz injured, Trevor Daley newly returned and Brian Dumoulin nearly certainly playing hurt, the defensive corps is struggling.

That was all for Fleury last night. Miscommunication happened. Players were hesitant. Their 1-3-1 system puts all the emphasis on their defense. The defenseman, who is playing on a fractured heel, was on the ice for each of the Sens' last four goals on Wednesday night. Fleury has had one of the worst regular seasons of his career, in which he posted a 3.00+ GAA for the first time since 2005-06. "You've got to go with what works".

Anaheim still has the offensive firepower to light up scoreboards, and the depleted Penguins are an experienced team that is no stranger to adversity. He can be a real difference maker in any game, both in ways that you notice and ways that you don't. They likely wouldn't have that chance if they were facing offensive juggernauts like the ones they boast on their roster.

No Penguins fan envisioned Murray taking his baseball cap off and needing to make 19 saves and then Sullivan, in postgame comments, not committing to a starter for that ultra-pivotal Game 4 on Friday night.

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