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Cullen: Pens power past Sens; Quick turns away Sharks

Scott Cullen
5/15/2013 1:30:32 AM
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Pittsburgh handled Ottawa easily, while Jonathan Quick thwarted the San Jose Sharks' attack in Game One of their respective second round series.

SENS CAN'T FIGHT THE PENGUINS' POWER
As I mentioned in my article looking at shot differentials and save percentages going into the second round, the Penguins are a team that can lose the shot on goal battle and still win because they score on a high percentage of their shots, due in part because of a lights-out power play.

In Game One of their second-round series against Ottawa, Pittsburgh scored on two of their three power play opportunities, adding a shorthanded goal in the third period to effectively ice the game, on their way to a 4-1 win over the Senators.

The Penguins had the game well in hand, which allowed them to roll their lines. Penguins RW Pascal Dupuis, who scored his playoff-leading sixth goal (the aforementioned shorthanded marker) led all Penguins forwards in time, playing 17:37. He also had the best possession metrics for the Penguins in Game One.

Ottawa managed to keep C Sidney Crosby under wraps -- no points, four shots on goal, minus-1 -- in the 17:04 that he played, but the Penguins are deep enough to handle such occasions.

LW Chris Kunitz had a goal and an assist, to along with five hits, which tied LW Matt Cooke for most on the team.

C Evgeni Malkin scored a goal and an assist in his 15:56 of ice time and, with 13 points, is now tied with David Krejci atop the playoff scoring race.

Penguins D Douglas Murray blocked five Senators shots.

The point of contention in this series is whether the Penguins can keep scoring at such a high rate or whether Senators G Craig Anderson and keep stopping better than 94% of the shots he faces. The early regression goes to Anderson, as he surrendered four goals on 30 shots.

Senators D Eric Gryba was rocked by a heavy hit from Penguins D Brooks Orpik. If Gryba is out, and Patrick Wiercioch isn't ready to return, the Sens may have to dig deeper to someone like Mike Lundin, who doesn't offer the same physical presence.

Despite getting outshot 36-30, Pittsburgh got a relatively easy win coming out of the gate, so the Senators will have to be more forceful in Game Two if they are going to avoid falling behind two games to none.

QUICK THWARTS SHARKS' ATTACK
In assessing the Kings' chances against the Sharks, it was noted that Jonathan Quick has the power to confound expectations. His play in the first round against St. Louis was far better than his regular season and Quick continued to be a brilliant last line of defence, stopping 35 San Jose shots to give the Kings a 2-0 win in the series opener.

Offensively, the Kings' Mike Richards and Slava Voynov took turns setting each other up and both finished with a goal and an assist. On the first goal, Richards gained the zone, found a charging Voynov and he blasted a rocket top shelf late in the first period then, midway through the second frame, Richards deflected a Voynov point shot.

Sharks C Logan Couture and LW Raffi Torres were on for both goals against, taking minus-2 for their efforts. Torres played 17:25, which was his third-highest total in five playoff games (he topped 20 minutes twice against Vancouver), but a threshold he surpassed just once in 39 regular season games.

Rookie Sharks D Matt Irwin led the attack with six shots on goal, while the line of Joe Thornton, Brent Burns and T.J. Galiardi controlled play faring very well possession-wise. Of course, when it comes to single-game sample sizes, possession isn't everything, considering that Voynov had the worst numbers in that respect for the Kings.

But the story of Game One was Quick, who made 35 saves for his second shutout, holding the fort in the third period when the Sharks outshot the Kings 16-4 in a furious, and fruitless, attempt to get back in the game.

While the Kings can be happy with a Game One win, getting outshot 35-20 on home ice is hardly the recipe for long-term success. San Jose should be able to take some solace that they generated offensive chances because, over the long haul, chances are bound to start turning into goals. Unless Jonathan Quick says otherwise.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

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