Penguins Sweep Senators, Advance to Second Round

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Heading into the third period, the Penguins trailed the Senators for the first time this series. The score was 1-0 and while the Pens might have been trailing, they had controlled most of the play after the first period.

"They took it to us in the first. We knew we had to rebound," Jayson Megna said.

A break up by Megna on the penalty kill about seven minutes into the third period sent him and Zach Sill on a 2-on-1 rush. Megna lifted a saucer pass towards the net and Sill extended and got a stick on it, tipping it past Nathan Lawson to tie the game at 1-1 with 12:28 left in regulation. 

"I was just driving to the net hard," Sill said. "It was pure excitement and emotion."

It wasn't until Pat Cannone tripped up Trevor Smith with 2:46 left, however, that the Penguins power play took advantage and delivered the punishing blow to advance them to the second round.

Chad Kolarik found Trevor Smith down low. Smith wasted no time, feeding a quick pass across to Riley Holzapfel,who buried it into the open corner to send the Mohegan Sun Arena fans into a frenzy with 1:18 left to play.

"That's something that we practiced and worked on," Holzapfel said, who added that he hadn't had too much success scoring in the playoffs thus far in his career. "To get that one to finish the series and keep the team moving on here is just a great feeling."

Megna added an empty net goal in the final 30 seconds to make it 3-1, but like much like in the other games of the series the Senators never gave up. They drew within one in the final seconds but were unable to find an equalizer.

All this was going on tonight while the Penguins starter in net for the first two games, Jeff Zatkoff,  is day-to-day per Penguins head coach John Hynes.

"It was pre-existing," Hynes said on Zatkoff's undisclosed injury. "It was not a situation where we have to push him to really put himself in a tough situation."

Hynes added it was best that Zatkoff had the day off and that he will be back with the team on Sunday, which I imagine will be the team's next practice in preparation for the second round. 

Brad Thiessen didn't find out he was starting tonight until about 2 p.m. this afternoon, but wasn't completely in the dark that there wasn't a chance he could start in net.

"When you get to the playoffs it doesn't matter how many games you played, you still get a little extra butterflies in the stomach," Thiessen said.

"As a goaltender, guys elevate their games and I like to think that I can do that in the playoffs and be a difference maker and that's what you want to be at the time of the year," Thiessen added. "If I'm called upon again, I'll try and bring the same."

The Senators came out much like you would expect a team fighting for their lives would in the first period. They caused a turnover in the Penguins' defensive zone and made them pay 5:00 into the first frame when Mark Stone found Matt Puempel for his 2nd goal of the series.

It was unfamiliar territory for both teams the rest of the first period - the Senators playing with the lead and the Penguins playing from behind. For the entirety of the first two games, the Penguins were on the other end of the ice. 

The Pens headed into the locker room for the first intermission trailing 1-0 on the scoreboard and 9-4 in the shots department. 

The Penguins got some momentum going in the second period, aided by back to back power plays in the opening five minutes of the middle frame. Several chances were had but credit to Senators goaltender Nathan Lawson coming up with some big saves when his team leaned on him. 

No scoring in the middle frame, but the Penguins certainly controlled the majority of play. They had life entering the third period in what was a one goal game up to that point. 

Brad Thiessen got his first start of the postseason in net. The only report on Jeff Zatkoff from the team is that he is day-to-day with no further information.

Dominik Uher in for Bobby Farnham was the only other lineup change.




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