Special teams, or lack thereof, killed the Penguins in the postseason the last two years. This year though, nothing seems to stop Pittsburgh’s special teams; as the Penguins got two power play goals from Paul Martin and Chris Kunitz along with a shorthanded goal from Pascal Dupuis to take game one over the Ottawa Senators 4-1.
Tomas Vokoun also stopped 35 Ottawa shots to pick up his third consecutive victory since taking over for Marc-Andre Fleury after game four against the Islanders.
The Penguins started the scoring just 2:41 into the first period, when Paul Martin took a beautiful cross ice pass from Evgeni Malkin and blew it by goaltender Craig Anderson to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead. The Senators would answer two minutes later when Colin Greening beat Vokoun to tie the game at 1-1.
Malkin, who was the best player on the ice all night, scored the eventual game winner at 12:15 of the first to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead. Kunitz and James Neal picked up the assists.
Malkin had a goal and an assists in game one. He moves into a tie with Boston’s David Krejci for the league lead in points with 13.
The Penguins scored their second power play goal at 18:33 of the second period, when Kunitz jammed one behind Anderson to make it 3-1. Jarome Iginla and Kris Letang picked up the assists on the goal.
Pittsburgh would put the game out of reach at 11:24 of the third period on Dupuis shorthanded goal that made it 4-1 Penguins. Dupuis looked off Matt Cooke on a two-on-one and sniped one past Anderson’s right shoulder for his sixth goal of the playoffs. Douglas Murray picked up the only assists on the goal.
The Penguins will have an opportunity to take a stranglehold on the series Friday night in game two. Game time is 7:30.
- Dupuis’ shorthanded goal now gives him the league lead in goals scored among all players this postseason.
- After going 2-for-4 with the man advantage, the Penguins power play is now working at a deadly 36% success rate.
The Penguins were outshot for the fourth time in this year’s playoffs. They are 3-1 in those games.
Photo Credits: Pittsburgh Penguins