A look at the Sens-Pens defence
Part of the reason I'd thought heading into Round 1 that the Ottawa-Pittsburgh series would be a slam dunk for the Senators was simply the match-ups on defence. After seeing Michel Therrien's motley group holdup in Game 2, that may simply not be the case.
Ottawa has some of the NHL's top defensive defencemen (or defenceman defenceman, as Anton Volchenkov calls them), while Pittsburgh employs the likes of Rob Scuderi on its penalty kill — but that didn't seem to matter today in Ottawa.
Here's a look at both teams' blueliners, including ice time from Games 1 and their individual goals-against average at even strength during the regular season:
|Game 1||EV |
|Game 1||EV |
Among other things we can see here is just how valuable 24-year-old Ryan Whitney is to the Penguins. In today's game, his ice time was cut way back to 16:39, but he ended up being on the ice for every goal in the game aside from Daniel Alfredsson's second-period power-play marker.
Josef Melichar was the big beneficiary of the extra ice time, as he jumped all the way up to 23:08 — which included 10 minutes on the penalty kill — and wasn't on the ice for a single goal against.
For the Senators, meanwhile, Chris Phillips and Volchenkov were on the ice for three of the Penguins' four goals against — including the game winner with just more than eight minutes remaining in the third period.