June 28, 2017

Sidney Crosby, Penguins beat Senators 3-2 to tie series

20 May 2017, 11:20 | Melvin Schneider

Sidney Crosby, Penguins beat Senators 3-2 to tie series

Sidney Crosby, Penguins beat Senators 3-2 to tie series

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) - Matt Murray was back - and so was Sidney Crosby.

The Eastern Conference final is down to a best-of-three after the Senators suffered a disappointing 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final on Friday night at the Canadian Tire Centre.

In question now is whether coach Mike Sullivan turns to Murray, who helped deliver the Pens a Cup last season and was excellent in his first full National Hockey League season, for Game 4 or goes back to Fleury. "But it doesn't just stop with Sid, it goes down the bench".

Ultimately, Sullivan chose Murray, who would make his first start of the postseason.

"All I can really do is kind of jump in and try not to think about it", Murray said. "They did a good job and blocked a lot of shots, especially late". There are a lot of ways that I could have been a lot better I thought. The 22-year-old justified Sullivan's decision to turn back to him in the crease over Marc-Andre Fleury, who had performed brilliantly before a shaky four-goal outing in Game 3 on Wednesday night.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said his ever-injured group has demonstrated a knack for responding which starts with the captain. We haven't capitalized on the power play, a couple of my passes were off and we weren't connecting on plays that we needed to make to get our momentum going and to give ourselves an opportunity to capitalize. He has a calm demeanor about him.

"At the same time, we know we're still okay here".

The Senators were down 3-1 after the second after MacArthur's third of the playoffs with 1:38 left in the period allowed them to get on the board. "It's a good, hard decision to have because we have two guys that are as capable as they are, and both of these guys have helped this team win all year long, and they're both high quality people and they're high quality goaltenders". With the win, the series is all square at 2-2, with Game 5 set for Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

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Murray made a strong stop on Mike Hoffman less than two minutes into the game and denied Viktor Stalberg on a pair of follow-up opportunities. The Thunder Bay, Ont. native came up with maybe his finest save of the first on a Derick Brassard backhand, kicking the shot away with his right pad. "I think we did an all-around good job tonight".

"The team made it a pretty easy game for me", Murray said. "We scored some goals". Pittsburgh wasn't the least bit pleased the Senators ended up with a power play after Bobby Ryan hit Chad Ruhwedel in the corner and Ian Cole got the only minor after he stepped in to defend his teammate. Ryan somehow escaped a charging penalty on the play, and Cole drew the only call for roughing.

Streit was making his playoff debut for the increasingly battered Pens, who lost Justin Schultz and Bryan Rust to upper-body injuries in Game 2.

Crosby's brilliance showed up again midway through the second on a power play after Jean-Gabriel Pageau ripped off the Pittsburgh star's helmet in a scrum around the net.

He stationed himself right on the doorstep to Craig Anderson's left with his right leg hugging the post.

He didn't score on the initial shot, but banged in the follow-up for the 2-0 lead. Jake Guentzel leads Pittsburgh with nine goals, Evgeni Malkin has 14 assists and Phil Kessel has 45 shots on goal. Pittsburgh managed to find speed that was lacking previously and generate quality opportunities in tight around Anderson. MacArthur has now picked up two points in his last two contests.

"It's just a little frustrating right now", Karlsson said.

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