The Pittsburgh Penguins came into their series against the Ottawa Senators with lots of people doubting their ability to dominate a series. It’s not that the Pens are a bad team or anyone thought that, it’s more the sour taste of the New York Islanders taking them to six games and nearly seven that had many nervous.
But through two games against the Ottawa Senators, things are starting to smooth out for the Pens and the series is definitely in their favor. But while the Pens may be up 2-0 on the Senators, the series isn’t in their control yet and it doesn’t yet feel like Pittsburgh is dominating, rather they’re getting lucky. Take Game 2 as a perfect example of the Pens still slipping by rather than racing past their opponent.
Sidney Crosby recorded a hat trick on Friday night, but even with him starting to get back into form, the Penguins had to fight for their lives against Ottawa. Pittsburgh entered the second period leading 2-1 couldn’t close out the Sens as they quickly saw a 3-1 lead collapse into a 4-3 nail biter in the final period of play.
Luckily for the Pens, Ottawa isn’t capable of rallying late to erase early leads, and that’s been the case through the first two games of this series. If Ottawa wants to get back in the series and upset the Pens, they need to be able to rally late in games as they’ve proven incapable of stopping early rushes by Pittsburgh.
Had it not been for Crosby’s hat trick, Pittsburgh doesn’t win this game, and that’s something Ottawa needs to recognize. Taking Crosby out of the series will help Ottawa keep up with the Pens quick pace, but they’ll need a lot more than that if they want to win.
For now, Pittsburgh stands with a comfortable 2-0 lead in the series, but it doesn’t in any way feel like a commanding lead in the series. Crosby stepping up helps, but this series could swing either way at this point and Sens fans shouldn’t yet hang their heads in defeat.