ashton-remax_NEWFirst off, I would like to take this moment to say that last night the Senators played the Eminem song I quoted in my Game 2 recap. Logically, you can only come to one possible conclusion:

They obviously read my recap and thought, “She is a genius.”

However, the song didn’t work for the Senators, who fell 3-2 to the Penguins in Game 4, leaving the series tied 2-2.

Going into Game 4, the biggest question was how Pittsburgh was going to respond and that was answered fairly quickly. They came out blazing, with more energy than we’ve seen from them since Game 7 vs. the Capitals.

Senators Head Coach Guy Boucher said that he expected the Penguins to come out aggressive and that his guys were prepared to fight back. And they literally did.

ships n tripsFirst came Mike Hoffman’s slash on Phil Kessel’s wrist. Then Mark Stone was seen repeatedly punching Jake Guentzel in the face, which resulted in no call from the refs. Bobby Ryan then elbowed Chad Ruhwedel in the face, leaving him bleeding and ultimately resulting in a concussion. No call on that either. However, Ian Cole came over to retaliate and he went to the box for roughing.

Ruhwedel has been ruled out for Game 5 because of the injury, short-handing the Penguins even more than before.

Pittsburgh has been plagued with injuries for the entire postseason, losing Matt Murray (cleared), Trevor Daley (cleared), Kris Letang (out for season), Patric Hornqvist (out), Justin Schultz (out), Bryan Rust (out), and now Chad Ruhwedel.

The Senators are one of the best defensive teams in the league and while the Penguins have a lot of strengths, hitting is not one of them. They were more aggressive last night but Ottawa still out-hit Pittsburgh, 44 to 36.

One of the strengths the Penguins did have last night, however, was goalie Matt Murray. His first start of the postseason after being injured in warm-ups in Game 1 of Round 1 vs. the Blue Jackets, he had 24 saves and allowed 2 goals. Despite the controversy in Sullivan choosing to start Murray over Fleury, it seemed to be the right decision in more ways than one.

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Pittsburgh won the game but it was Murray, along with several line changes for the Penguins that helped give them a different look against Ottawa. The injuries coupled with the demoralizing 5-1 loss in Game 3 could have had quite the opposite effect, but the entire team fought hard to prevent the Senators from taking a 3-1 lead in the series. Marc-Andre Fleury supported his team from the bench and said “I don’t want to make this about me,” in a postgame interview. His future with the team is unclear but one thing that is certain is that he’s a true team player.

Sullivan said after the Game 3 loss that they needed to find ways to get to the net and take more shots on goal, which they certainly did in Game 4. The Penguins outshot the Senators, 35 to 26, to earn last night’s win.

Goals from Olli Maatta, Sidney Crosby and Brian Dumoulin gave Pittsburgh the edge over Ottawa. Despite a late pushback from the Senators with two goals, one from Clarke MacArthur in the second and one from Tom Pyatt in the third, the Penguins were able to hold them off and get the W.

This was the most goals Craig Anderson has allowed since Game 5 of the Playoffs when Ottawa faced off against New York in the second round, when the Senators defeated the Rangers, 5-4. Anderson had 32 saves for last night’s game, giving him a .914 save percentage.

The series is now tied heading back to Pittsburgh, also mirroring the Anaheim vs. Nashville series. Both Pittsburgh and Anaheim started at home, lost Games 1 and 3 and won Games 2 and 4. The loss of Center Ryan Johansen is a tough blow for Nashville and we’ll see how they adjust in Game 5 today at 7:15 ET.

Game 5 for Ottawa vs. Pittsburgh will start at 3PM ET on Sunday.

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