Pens ride Sidney Crosby hat trick to put Sens in hole
Pens take 2-0 series lead with dominant performance over Sens, chase Sens' Anderson from net
Another slow start and Sidney Crosby's second career NHL playoff hat trick sunk the Ottawa Senators and propelled the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-3 win and a 2-0 series lead.
Crosby, who was quiet in Game 1, scored his 100th career playoff point with his first goal of the game, becoming the fifth-fastest player in league history to reach that mark.
Just more than three minutes into the game, Sid the Kid left Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson in his dust with an outside-in deke and snapped it through the legs of Craig Anderson.
After the Senators' Kyle Turris tied the game with a power-play goal 10 minutes later, Crosby responded when he caught Anderson leaning and knocked the puck off the Sens' goaltender and in.
The Senators did improve their special teams in Game 2, with two early penalty kills before the power-play goal from Turris. The goal was the team-leading fourth for Turris, all scored in the last five games.
Anderson pulled after Crosby's 3 goals
The Senators got into penalty trouble in the second period, though, leading to Crosby's hat trick goal, a slapshot from the left faceoff circle.
That goal also chased Anderson from the Senators' net. After giving up four goals in Game 1, Anderson gave up three before the game was halfway over. He was pulled for Robin Lehner, who made his NHL playoff debut.
Senators' captain, Daniel Alfredsson, refused to blame the loss on his goaltender. Sens' head coach Paul MacLean also said his team's slow start was to blame for the loss.
"We're not ready to match [the Penguins' starts]," said MacLean after the game. "Playing catch-up is not easy."
MacLean also said the goaltending change had "nothing to do" with Anderson's play, but was more about waking his team up.
Immediately after Lehner entered, Colin Greening pulled the Senators within a goal for his second in the series. Lehner then made a spectacular diving save to rob Jarome Iginla.
Karlsson struggles, minutes cut once more
The Senators seemed to have some momentum, from those two plays but just after they killed off another penalty — this time to Guillaume Latendresse — Brenden Morrow deflected a Paul Martin point shot to restore the Penguins' two-goal lead.
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Jean-Gabriel Pageau tied Turris for the team lead with his fourth goal of the playoffs early in the third period. But the Senators could not capitalize on a power-play soon after, which would have tied the game.
A couple days after Senators coach Paul MacLean admitted Erik Karlsson is not the same player he was before he tore his Achilles' tendon, Karlsson struggled once more.
His coach said Karlsson "didn't play well," so that's why he played less than usual.
The Ottawa Senators will now have to come back from a 2-0 series deficit, which the franchise has never done before. They will also have to do it against a Penguins team that dominated the first two games.
Spezza hopeful for Game 3
Latendresse and Andre Benoit returned to the lineup for the Senators Friday, in hopes of injecting more offence. Benoit was forced to play more minutes in Karlsson's place, but Latendresse's most notable moment was his boarding penalty on Evgeni Malkin.
Jason Spezza could return for Game 3.
Paul MacLean told the media Friday Spezza would participate in Sunday's gameday skate and he would be in the lineup if he's ready to go.
On defence, Ottawa was missing two rookies to injury, Eric Gryba and Patrick Wiercioch. Matt Kassian was a healthy scratch.
More lineup changes are likely for Game 3 after Friday night's loss.