PITTSBURGH — Matt Carkner scored
at 7:06 of the third overtime to give the Ottawa Senators a 4-3 victory
over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night, forcing a sixth game in
the Eastern Conference series.
Carkner fired a slap shot through
traffic from the right point that deflected off the Penguins’ Matt
Cooke for his first goal of the postseason, ending the longest game of
the playoffs this year. It was by far the longest game in Senators’
history — only their second to go past one extra session.
“Three overtimes and we knew it
wasn’t going to be a pretty goal,” Carkner said. “I think it deflected
off someone — I didn’t even know how it went in — but it’s just a great
feeling right now.”
Peter Regin tied it with 9:36 to
play, Mike Fisher and Jarkko Ruutu also scored, and Jason Spezza and
Erik Karlsson each had two assists for the Senators, who have won two
of three at Mellon Arena. Game 6 is Saturday night at Ottawa.
“It was a huge win,” Ottawa coach Cory Clouston said. “I thought the guys showed a lot of character.”
Sidney Crosby had a goal and an
assist to give him multiple points in every postseason game this
season, and Kris Letang and Chris Kunitz also scored for Pittsburgh.
The defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins rallied from a 2-0 deficit
to take a 3-2 lead on Crosby’s goal with 10:59 left in regulation only
to give up the equalizer 1:23 later.
“A lot of drama,” Clouston said. “I’m sure the fans like that.”
Pascal Leclaire made 56 saves in his
first playoff start. He made his career postseason debut after Brian
Elliott was pulled during the second period of Game 4 and wasn’t
announced as the starter until Thursday morning.
“He played outstanding,” Clouston
said. “He was confident, comfortable. I thought he was very square and
poised. Boy, did he come through for us.”
The game was the second-longest in
the history of Mellon Arena (Philadelphia’s Keith Primeau scored in the
fifth overtime to beat the Penguins on May 4, 2000) and third-longest
in Penguins’ history.
Nick Foligno nearly won it 2:05 into
overtime — but officials ruled he directed the puck into the net off a
rebound of a Jason Spezza shot on a 2-on-1 with a kicking motion.
Referee Dan O’Halloran immediately waved off the goal — the third
initial disallowance of a goal in the game.
The first of which — Chris Kunitz
sliding the puck in with the net lifted up its moorings with 1:26 to
play in the second period — ultimately counted. But when Kunitz
redirected Sergei Gonchar‘s shot from the point while standing in the slot
3:22 into the third, officials signaled Kunitz made contact with the
puck when it was above his shoulder.
Crosby scored his fifth goal of the
series with 11:59 left in regulation when he fired Malkin’s rebound
into the large portion of the net that was vacated while Leclaire was
With all the momentum at that point
— Pittsburgh had outshot Ottawa 27-9 between its first goal late in the
first period until Crosby’s goal — it seemed a mere formality the
Penguins would cruise into the second round on a four-game winning
But Regin tied it only 1:23 later on a slap shot from the high slot.
Pittsburgh’s best chances after
regulation were when Malkin hit a post five minutes into the second
overtime and then when he was denied by Leclaire about three minutes later
on a wrist shot.
“A lot happened [in the overtimes]
with penalties and chances and posts, but that’s just the way it works
out,” Crosby said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t get it done here, but
we’ve got to find a way to regroup and be ready to go to Ottawa.”
Kunitz’s first disputed goal counted
with 1:26 left in the second when both sides of the net lifted up
simultaneously as he put in a rebound of a Crosby shot. Replays
confirmed the pegs remained in the ice and inserted into the bottom of
Ottawa scored first 10:25 in when
Karlsson’s shot from above the right faceoff circle hit off of the
skates of both Fisher and Gonchar and into the net behind Marc-Andre Fleury.
Ruutu made it 2-0 just 68 seconds
later when he slammed a loose puck in the crease into the net after
Foligno made the play from behind the net.
But the Penguins scored the next
three, starting with Letang on the power play with 1:55 to play in the
first, his second of the series.
“Obviously, you just forget about this and you just have to take advantage of your next chance to finish it,” Letang said.
Crosby has at least two
points in each of the five playoff games, 13 in total. Dating back to
the final five games of the regular season, Crosby has 28 points in his
past 10 games. … The Senators improved to 12-11 in overtime in their
history, 2-0 when it extends past one overtime and 4-3 at Mellon Arena
overall. … Pittsburgh is 20-16 overall in playoff overtimes, 2-3 when
there are multiple overtimes.
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