Pittsburgh Penguins even series with 1-0 win on Phil Kessel's goal

By Shelly Anderson, The Sports Xchange   |   May 16, 2017 at 9:15 AM
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PITTSBURGH -- Phil Kessel, sniper by reputation, had gone three games with no points, and he had just one point, a goal, in his previous five games.

So after the Pittsburgh right winger scored the lone goal at 13:05 of the third period Monday to give the Penguins a 1-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators and even the Eastern Conference final at one win apiece, he was pretty giddy, right?

Not really.

"It was a fortunate bounce, right?" said Kessel, who scored from the slot on a second chance. "(The first shot) got blocked, and I just tried to get it off quick, and it went in."

Kessel was a lot more animated at times on the bench as the game remained scoreless for so long.

"Just because a guy gets a little bit emotional on the bench, for me, I think it helps our overall team game," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. "We call it a man's argument. That's the way it is. Lines go back and forth and talk to one another ... Phil's an emotional guy; when he wants a pass back and doesn't get it, he lets a guy know.

"It tells me a bunch of guys are invested and they want to win."

Kessel's goal allowed the defending Stanley Cup champions to earn a 1-1 home split before heading to Ottawa for the next two games. Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Wednesday.

Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 23 saves for his second shutout of the playoffs and second in three games. It was his 10th career postseason shutout.

Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson also was strong, stopping 28 of 29 Pittsburgh shots. The one that got past him left him frustrated because he was off-balance after Jean-Gabriel Pageau blocked Kessel's first attempt.

"I caught an edge (with a skate). Simple as that," Anderson said. "Caught an edge. It (stinks). A defenseman or forward catches an edge, he falls down, nothing happens. I catch an edge, it's in the net. It (stinks)."

From late in the second period until after Kessel scored, the Senators went 18:53 without a shot before Fleury stopped one by Zack Smith.

"They did a good job keeping us in our zone," Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson said. "We couldn't really get the puck out with control. They made it tough on us. They played a well-executed game. We couldn't really get going and create momentum for a long period of time."

Fleury, meanwhile, had quite a stretch of time without seeing a shot.

"Wait," he said playfully of how he bided his time. "I don't know. I try to stretch out, move around, stay loose. Talk to guys when they come by. Just try to keep my head into it."

Pittsburgh was undermanned most of the game after it lost two players to injuries in the first period.

Top-line winger Bryan Rust left after he took a big hit from Senators defenseman Dion Phaneuf and fell backward onto the ice.

"I just stepped up," Phaneuf said. "You try to do whatever you can for your team to swing momentum, so when there's a chance to make a hit, it's something that I've taken pride in with the style that I've played. So if it's there, I'm going to step up."

A little later, defenseman Justin Schultz appeared to hurt his right arm or shoulder falling into the end boards behind the Penguins' net.

Neither play resulted in a penalty. There was no immediate update on either player.

The Penguins made shooting more of a priority coming into Game 2. They didn't get to that early on, trailing in shots 10-8 after the first.

Pittsburgh picked things up over the course of the second period and led in shots 20-16 going into the third but without scoring, thanks to Anderson.

"I always expected them to give a push at the end," Fleury said of his teammates. "It was a good feeling to win that one."

NOTES: Ottawa LW Viktor Stalberg (lower-body injury) remained out despite being called a possibility to play by coach Guy Boucher. ... RW Chris Neil remained out of the Ottawa lineup in Game 2 after missing Game 1 because of what Boucher said was a nagging problem. ... Pittsburgh LW Carl Hagelin (lower-body injury) returned after missing two games, but RW Patric Hornqvist was scratched after leaving the pregame warm up early. Hornqvist did not practice Sunday. ... Penguins D Trevor Daley (lower-body injury) continues to skate on his own. ... Pittsburgh LW Chris Kunitz played in his 150th career playoff game, the sixth active player to reach that number. ... Ottawa captain Erik Karlsson said he played the famed golf course at nearby Oakmont Country Club on the team's day off Sunday.

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