Tonight is the night of nights for fans from the Eastern side of the National Hockey League. The Pittsburgh Penguins take on the Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final at the PPG Paints Arena. Pittsburgh are still reeling from the comeback that the Sens made in Game 6, winning 2-1 and forcing a Game 7. Something which seemed utterly impossible after the 7-0 thumping in Game 5.
The experts over at CBC fancy Ottawa’s chances from 41.6-46 percent of causing an ‘upset’ tonight. Presumably higher than most would rank them at. Home ice has to be a huge advantage for the Penguins, a rocking crowd in the steel city looking to get them over the line.
Craig Anderson is the most key player in the entire game in my opinion. If he has a good/great night Ottawa have a massive chance to go through. If he has a similar night like in Game 5, the Sens chances could be over in an instant.
It’s no secret that Pittsburgh (and most of the hockey world) are infuriated by the 1-3-1 implemented by Coach Boucher. Blocking up the neutral zone and squeezing the life out of the games. People have rattled on about how boring it is and how it is killing the game, move over, you cannot please everyone in life and do you think anyone in association with the Sens cares? It’s a results business, the entertainment value is for Gary Bettman to sort out, hence his over compensation for the outdoor games (this will be covered in a separate piece).
Pittsburgh have all the tools to get the job done and convincingly, the only problem lies in their blue-line. Injury ravaged it has struggled in numerous games this postseason. Ottawa will be looking to pressure them from the off, which has been successful in 50% of the series thus far. The Pens will be nervous, an early goal from Ottawa could send nervous shockwaves through the PPG Paints Arena. Ottawa will be looking to paint it red, whilst Pittsburgh desperately attempt to retain their crown.