2017 NHL Eastern Conference Finals: Pittsburgh Penguins-Ottawa Senators Game 3 preview, update

By Don Brennan, The Sports Xchange  |  May 16, 2017 at 10:05 PM
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OTTAWA -- The injuries keep piling up for the Pittsburgh Penguins, turning their defensive corps into a black and blue line.

The defending Stanley Cup champions lost the third of their top three defensemen when Justin Schultz joined Kris Letang and Trevor Daley on the sidelines with a shoulder injury in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Ottawa Senators.

Mark Streit, 39, is his anticipated replacement for Game 3 at Canadian Tire Centre on Wednesday.

The best-of-seven series is tied 1-1.

"We're fortunate to have the depth that we have," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Tuesday in Pittsburgh. "Mark's a guy that has invaluable experience. He's a really savvy player. I think he could help us on our power play. He could help us get out of our end zone. He's a real good puck mover. I think he's got great puck skills. So, if Mark's the guy we go to, we know he can continue to help us win games."

The Penguins could also be minus winger Bryan Rust, who also suffered an upper-body injury in Monday's 1-0 victory. Sullivan listed Rust and Patric Hornqvist, who missed Game 2, as day-to-day.

The Senators, meanwhile, are about to get some injured players back as coach Guy Boucher said winger Viktor Stalberg and hard-hitting defenseman Mark Borowiecki are "getting closer" and "could be coming in at any moment."

Ottawa needs to create more offense after failing to register a shot on goal for a stretch of almost 19 minutes that began late in the second period.

"I think we were sitting back a little too much," winger Tom Pyatt said. "Obviously, we like our defensive game, that's our strength. We're going to stick to that. But at the same time, we have to find a way to generate more time in their zone and get some more pucks to the net. Because I think we were stuck at 16 shots for a long time in the second half of the game."

The Penguins were proud of the way they finally cracked through Ottawa's coverage to score Monday's only goal in the third period. It was set up by Evgeni Malkin and scored by Phil Kessel, two players who were seen having a heated discussion on the bench earlier in the night.

"We're emotional guys," Malkin said. "Sometimes we're not happy. Like I'm open and he does not pass to me, or he passes when I'm not open. Sometimes it's not like you want, but you need to understand and don't lose focus."

Senators winger Mike Hoffman, who fanned on a couple chances with goaltender Craig Anderson on the bench for an extra attacker Monday, expressed confidence his team will rediscover its touch.

"I think our offense is going to come," Hoffman said. "We're going back home, and it's going to be a fun time. The building is going to be roaring."

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