Penguins Have Taken over the Eastern Conference Finals and Now Look Destined to Repeat as Stanley Cup ChampionsRead Now
After game 3 in which the Penguins got slaughtered 5-1 by the Senators, Pittsburgh made a change at the goaltender position. The man that helped guide the Penguins to a Stanley Cup last year, returned to the net after Marc Andre-Fleury had a terrible showing in game 3. Matt Murray, had missed the entire postseason with a lower body injury up until the game 4 goalie change. Him returning to net sparked the Penguins, I don't know why or how, but even the rest of the team was just playing better with him on the ice. The proof is in the pudding, last year the Penguins were 15-6 with Matt Murray in goal during the postseason. Outstanding numbers to say the least and now he has only improved those numbers.
The Penguins won game 4 in Ottawa to tie the series back up. The Penguins dominated the game for the most part jumping out to an early 3-0 lead. The Senators refused to just give up as always, making a little comeback, and were threatening late in the third being down by only 1. The Penguins held onto win and were now heading back to Pittsburgh with the series tied at 2 games a piece after their 3-2 victory.
The Penguins in game 5 were ruthless savages that wanted to send a message to the remaining teams in the playoffs. This team finally played the caliber of hockey we all know they're capable of and if they continue to do so none of the remaining teams can take them down. Matt Murray, was a bonafide stud in goal today. The 22 year kid shut out the Senators in the biggest game of the season just a few days after taking over as the starter again. This game was all Penguins from the first period on. Matter of fact, this game was over well before the first period even ended. Olli Maatta scored the first goal of the game about 8 minutes in and that would spark the Penguins offensively. Sidney Crosby, then scored a goal on a power play about 5 minutes later to put the Penguins up 2-0. Boy has Crosby finally come alive in this series after a brutally slow start, something Penguins fans have to be thrilled to see. Bryan Rust and Scott Wilson would then both score goals in the last 5 minutes of the period to put the Penguins up 4-0 after just 20 minutes of hockey. The building was shaking, Penguins looked unstoppable, and the Senators looked dead.
Penguins would score again early into the second period on a goal from Matt Cullen to put them up 5-0. At that point everyone knew this game was over. Not much action happened until early in 3rd period when Phil Kessel scored his 7th goal of the postseason on a power play. Kessel then assisted on a goal later in the period on a power play in which Trevor Daley was the one to bury the puck in the back of the net. Penguins would go on to win 7-0 in a route over the Senators.
Malkin, Crosby, and Kessel all had huge games, I believe they combined for a total of 7 points, which you can't ask for much more out of your superstars at that point. They were wonderful and that's all fine and dandy because after all they are supposed to be wonderful. Guys like Nick Bonino, Carter Rowney, and Bryan Rust were the low key guys that really came through and played amazing for the Penguins in this game. When you can get that kind of production from your second, and even third tier players, that's when a team is extremely scary and that's why the Penguins looked unstoppable today. Having a dominate Matt Murray back in goal is also a huge boost for this team. At this point I can't see the scenario where the Penguins don't repeat as Stanley Cup champions, they're just by far the best team left in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Only team beating the Penguins from here on out is themselves.