PITTSBURGH – The Penguins used their power play on Tuesday night to gain the upper hand on the Ottawa Senators in game one of their second round series. Paul Martin and Chris Kunitz each converted power play opportunities enroute to a 4-1 win over the Senators.
Each club was coming off emotional series for two different reasons.
The Penguins had escaped the New York Islanders series after the Islanders had stepped up to challenge the Pens at their own game. Meanwhile the Senators had dispatched the Montreal Canadiens in an equally intense series between two rivals.
“We are way more near where we need to be [in Game 1],” Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said on NHL.com. “We got the puck deep, got on the forecheck, and we were able to get in the offensive zone because of that.
For Pittsburgh, it is all about power and the power play is what drives this team. The Senators recognize of course their need to play with more discipline if they are to challenge the Pens.
“Special teams [are] huge, and again this power play that they have with all those players, they’re dangerous,” Ottawa defenseman Marc Methot said on NHL.com. “Whether we’ve got to play with more discipline, whatever that is; whatever the answer is, it’s something we have to focus in on.”
The Pens special teams play has been exceptional through the post season far with a 30% efficiency in the first round and two more goals Tuesday.
“We only took three minor penalties in the game and they took advantage of two of them,” Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said on NHL.com. “That’s to their credit; obviously their PP is clicking at 33 percent, so we can’t do that.”
Lost in the power play efficiency was the success of the other side of the special teams’ effort. Pascal Dupuis picked up a shorthanded goal in the third to ice the win for the Pens.
Tomas Vokoun got the start in net for the Pens again and continued his steady play since replacing Marc-Andre Fleury in the Isles series.
Game two is set for Friday night in Pittsburgh.