In Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final, the Penguins ended up in the one place no one wants to go with the Ottawa Senators.


Bobby Ryan scored 4 minutes, 59 seconds into the extra period to give the Senators a 2-1 victory at PPG Paints Arena. Game 2 is Monday night.

The Senators are 6-1 in overtime in the playoffs.

“Our players are really good at not fearing the outcome,” Senators coach Guy Boucher said. “But saying we have this great solution in overtime, it would be absolutely wrong to say that. We just play the overtime the same way we play the other periods.”

The play that led to the winning goal started when Jean-Gabriel Pageau won a defensive-zone faceoff back to Erik Karlsson, who threw a puck up the boards. Justin Schultz stepped in front of it and knocked it down with his upper body.

At that moment, Schultz was crunched by Mark Stone and Pageau, sending the puck skittering past Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust into the neutral zone.

Ryan flew up the right wing, zipped past Olli Maatta and moved in alone on a breakaway.

“Tried to keep it in, and it popped loose,” Schultz said. “Bobby Ryan had some speed there. He’s a tough guy to catch.”

Ryan went to his backhand to beat goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

“It felt great, obviously, to come through in an important, crucial moment, I guess,” Ryan said. “We had talked at length about trying to get pucks out. The battles at the blue line, we had to win those. (Stone and Pageau) did that there.

“I was kind of lucky that the puck found me in the middle. I think once you get in there, you go with an ‘A’ move or something instinctual. Got fortunate that it found the back of the net.”

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury blocks a shot against the Senators in the second period of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday May 13, 2017, at PPG Paints Arena. For more images from Game 1, visit the Trib’s photo gallery .

Photo by Christian Tyler Randolph


Ryan’s overtime goal was the exclamation point on a frustrating night for the Penguins.

Coming into the game, they preached patience in dealing with Ottawa’s 1-3-1 forecheck, which is designed to clog the neutral zone.

The Penguins handled that aspect of the game fairly well. They weren’t dynamic offensively, but they used a combination of speed, stretch passes and tips to get through more often than not. It was other parts of Ottawa’s game that left the Penguins kicking the ice.

Most notably, the Penguins were frustrated with their performance on the power play.

They went on the man-advantage four times in the first period, including 45 seconds of five-on-three time, but came away empty-handed.

“We need to play a little bit lower to (Crosby or Patric Hornqvist) on the goal line,” Evgeni Malkin said. “Maybe sometimes use behind the net, something new. We always play triangle. I play top with (Schultz and Phil Kessel). They know. They play close to us, and you see (Patric Hornqvist) open low. We need to maybe use Sid and Horny more. Something different.”

One particular problem on the power play was also an issue at even strength. The Penguins passed up too many open shots and didn’t get enough pucks or bodies to the net.

In other words, the patience that helped the Penguins through the neutral zone killed them once they crossed the blue line.

“We’re looking for that next play instead of putting pucks at the net,” coach Mike Sullivan said.

The play of Ottawa goalie Craig Anderson, who made 27 saves, was also a source of frustration for the Penguins.

The only blemish on his record was a Malkin redirection of a Chris Kunitz shot from the right half-wall that tied the score 1-1 with 5:35 left in the third period. The Penguins trailed most of the night thanks to a Pageau goal off a Brian Dumoulin turnover in the first.

“This is playoff hockey. This is what you expect this time of year,” Crosby said. “You’re going to play games where you get chances and they don’t go in. If you play the right way, it will end up going in eventually. We have to keep the same mindset and find ways to get better.”

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.