Penguins fail to close out Senators in Game 6 of Eastern Conference final
Ottawa Senators fans cheer on their team as they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins during the third period of game six of the Eastern Conference final in the NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoffs in Ottawa on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
By Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, May 24, 2017 12:13PM EDT
OTTAWA -- The Pittsburgh Penguins liked everything about their game except the result.
The Penguins failed to clinch the Eastern Conference final as the Ottawa Senators beat Pittsburgh 2-1 on Tuesday to tie the best-of-seven series 3-3. Game 7 will take place Thursday night in Pittsburgh.
"I thought we played a real good game," said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan. "I thought we dominated zone time. We had lots of chances. We didn't score tonight. The puck didn't go in the net, but if we continue to play the game that way, then I believe we'll get the result.
"We did a lot of really good things out there. We had a lot of shots. We had traffic. We had zone time. We had possession time. There were a lot of things to like."
The Penguins opened the scoring early in the second as Evgeni Malkin picked up his seventh of the playoffs, but the Senators tied the game with a power-play goal, its first in eleven games.
Ottawa then took the lead on a Mike Hoffman goal that stood up as the winner.
"He's one of the best shooters in the league," said Murray of Hoffman. "He did a really good job of holding it and waiting for that screen to get to the net. The guy in front, might have been Stone, skated right in front right at the release point so I was late picking it up, but he puts a perfect shot going post and in. It was a pretty good shot."
The Senators couldn't have asked for much better from Anderson, who made 45 saves. While the Penguins admitted he played well, they feel they could have done more with their opportunities.
"I think we've got to play a little bit harder in front of the net and try and get more dirty ones," said forward Bryan Rust. "He played well, I've got to give him credit, but I know we've got better.
"We had our opportunities and we didn't capitalize and we had a few too many big breakdowns that gave them opportunities and they scored."
As a group the Penguins agreed the Senators netminder was the difference.
"I think Anderson was the reason that they got this one, he played big for them," said Murray. "But in our room we just focus on what we need to do. We played really well, we just didn't get the bounces and weren't able to put one home."
Every time the Penguins have had an opportunity to close out a series this post-season they've failed to take advantage. Their players, however, don't see any similarities through the different series or something they're failing to do that would be cause for concern.
"No, I don't see a common denominator other than the fact we're playing good hockey teams," said Sullivan. "I think it's hard to win. So we're playing good hockey teams, and these guys, they're playing with their backs against the wall. I really liked a lot of our game."