While they ended up falling short on Sunday night, the Ottawa Senators showed they could hang with one of Eastern Conference elite.
Both Craig Anderson and Marc Andre Fleury were sharp through sixty minutes of regulation but in the shootout Neal, Crosby and Malkin all beat Anderson to give the Penguins the extra point in a 2-1 final.
It was kind of a strange game from the get go.
Both teams looked a little sloppy and neither could generate much in the way of a sustained attack. Whether it was fatigue or strong defensive play, neither team was at their offensive best. James Neal scored the long goal of the first period, ripping a shot off a nifty cross ice feed by Malkin that beat Anderson on the glove side. It would be the only shot to beat the Sens netminder in regulation.
The Penguins would hold that lead until Colin Greening, who found his way on to the top line with Daniel Alfredsson sidelined with the flu, tucked away a rebound off a well placed shot by Jason Spezza.
From that point on the two goalies took over. Both Anderson and Fleury made big stops, keeping the game tied and ultimately sending this one to overtime. In the extra period, you could really see the fatigue setting in for both sides as the sloppy play continued.
Both Spezza and Turris scored for Ottawa in the shootout but it was not enough. Overall, a strong effort by a Sens team that was playing their third game in four nights and just back from a trip down South.
No time for the Senators to linger on this loss though as they are right back at it tomorrow night and Wednesday with the Caps and Habs in town.
Back with more later today.