Phil Kessel is the Hero in Pittsburgh Penguins Eastern Conference Finals Game 2 Win

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Marc-Andre Fleury and Craig Anderson once again proved their worth in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals, both putting up shutouts for the majority of the game. The goaltenders, who faced 23 and 29 shots respectively, put on a show in a fast and physical meeting at PPG Paints Arena Monday night. Both teams showed an increase in energy from Ottawa’s 3-2 overtime win in Game 1, with the Senators looking to go up 2-0 and the Penguins wanting to even the series.

Pittsburgh Penguins Win Eastern Conference Finals Game 2

The first period saw both teams scoreless, with excellent efforts from goaltenders Fleury and Andersen to hold both teams scoreless in the first period. Pittsburgh suffered two major losses in the first period, with forward Bryan Rust injured off a hit from Ottawa defenseman Dion Phaneuf, and defenseman Justin Schultz leaving after a hit from Mike Hoffman that had him favoring his right arm. Neither Rust nor Schultz would return, despite coach Mike Sullivan‘s hopes that they might. It should be noted that forward Patric Hornqvist was scratched shortly before game time, but it is unknown if this was for injury reasons.

The second period started with more of a stalemate, with Anderson making saves through a Pittsburgh powerplay that left Senators captain Erik Karlsson in the box for tripping Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. At the same time, Pittsburgh held Ottawa without a shot on goal for over five minutes. Extensive physical play continued, including matching roughing calls for Hoffman and Phaneuf of Ottawa and Crosby and Jake Guentzel of Pittsburgh, who all sat offsetting minors towards the end of the second.

Phil Kessel finally opened up the scoring with just under seven minutes left in regulation. Kessel, who had shown visible frustration at his lack of scoring chances throughout the game, netted his own rebound, with an assist from Evgeni Malkin. The rest of regulation saw Ottawa shorten their bench, pulling Anderson in the last two minutes of play. Even with the added offensive power of Kyle Turris, Jean-Gabriel Pageau, and Bobby Ryan, Pittsburgh’s defensive efforts, as well as Fleury’s excellent moves in goal, kept them from a tying effort.

This game was an improvement in terms of energy over Game 1. Both teams showed great energy and resolve, despite the lack of scoring efforts. Ottawa’s abilities, especially in Game 1, have shown that they are competent contenders against Pittsburgh, regardless of their underdog status.

Game 3 will be Wednesday night at the Canadian Tire Center in Ottawa.

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