After losing the first 2 games in Pittsburgh, the Sens returned home for game 3. The crowd was in good spirits still because let's face it, they're the Penguins and we're a 7th seed in over our pesky heads. But skill doesn't always beat heart, and game 3 was a classic example of that. I went to the game being content at the thought of being competitive for the full sixty this time. But what happened has no words. It was simply and all time Senators classic. People will be asking where you were during this game in years to come. I will be fortunate enough to say I was there. Here's game 3 through my eyes.
Milan Michalek was on the ticket for game 3, which is usually a good sign. For whatever reason, I find the player who's on the ticket that night generally has a good game. I can definitely say that MM9 played his best game of the playoff in game 3. So maybe there is something to it it after all.
Game 3 was on Sunday night of a long weekend. People were out in full force pre partying at SBP. They even had a weird "beach" area from Molson Canadian. As you can see it was extremely popular by the empty chairs lol.
Matt Cooke dunk tank at the red zone. No word on if the CSI were there collecting evidence or not.
This guy went all out. He was hoping to see some goals. And while the Sens kept up their M.O. as a low scoring team, the goals they did score more than made up for it.
Craig Anderson was on the towels. He didn't have a performance in game 2, and when Lehner came in and played well, some were saying Andy should shit. I thought this was crazy. So did the coaches. Andy showed them what he's made of in game 3.
And the Sens come out for warmup to a thunderous reaction. The fans have been great all playoffs so far and tonight was no exception.
And the moment we were all waiting for, as #19 came out for warmup. He came out last, which I'm sure was on purpose. I was just pumped to see him back on the ice for the first time in almost 4 months. If we have any chance this series, we need him to be playing. He got a very nice reception when he stepped on the ice. It was good to see.
As soon as Spezza went to one knee, EK65 made it a point to go over and talk to him. About what? I can't be certain. But in my head he said something like "go get him champ" or "have a good game slugger". Either way it was a nice moment of leadership by the kid I thought.
Indeed sign maker. Indeed.
Jason Spezza at centre ice on the Sens logo. Just kinda seems right doesn't it? You don't know what you got til it's gone.
Pre game and the giant new scoreboard went all Matrix on us. I was worried for a second that it might delay the game or something. But that wasn't the case. Still, I thought this shot was kinda cool.
I checked and re-checked. The math is correct.
The players come out. SBP goes crazy and who could blame them? We've had great teams in the past, but they failed to live up to expectations. This is a team you can be proud of. They never ever quit.
Andy came out and look extremely focused. he definitely had his game face on and wanted to make up for a poor game 2. You could just see it in his facial expressions.
Anthem time and the crowd was fired up. They were singing every note passionately. There's few things that get Canadians more patriotic than hockey.
And we're underway with the opening faceoff. Kyle Turris vs Sidney Crosby. I was a bit worried at the start, as the Sens have a tendency to start games slow and that's what happened. The first 4 or 5 minutes, Pittsburgh was all over us again. But thanks to Andy, who made several spectacular saves, we were still tied.
At a commercial break, they gave some props to Paul MacLean for his 2nd consecutive Jack Adams nod. Pretty impressive stuff. Also note the penalty on the board. This would become a theme. The reffing was truly awful, almost entirely in Pittsburgh's favor of course.
Andy and the PK did a great job keeping it scoreless while shorthanded. The Pens PP is ridiculous and keeping them quiet is the key to the series. Benoit doing a little extra here too.
Norris nominee Kris Letang pretending he wants some of Chris Neil, as long as the refs are there to stop it that is.
Now THIS is an all time memory. Can you believe it's been six years already? Even crazier is that the current Sens only have 4 players from that team still playing. Daniel Alfredsson, Jason Spezza, Chris Phillips and Chris Neil. That's it.
I know what you're thinking, since when does Sidney Crosby whine to the refs? Just kidding, I know NO ONE is thinking that. That's what kills me about the Pens and what makes #87 & co just so unlikeable. They get EVERY single possible break in their favor, reffing and otherwise and they still always act like they've been hard done by somehow.
And with just a few seconds left in the first frame, Evgeni Malkin of all people got behind everyone and had a breakaway. Marc Methot got back and dragged him down, which is probably the better play than #71 in all alone. Nevertheless we took a penalty with 2 seconds left in the period. Not good.
So we'd have to kill 1:58 of a penalty off in the second, BUT if you had of asked me before the game if I would be happy being tied after 1 and I would have taken it. The Pens came out hard early but we weathered the storm and played pretty well. We can compete 5 on 5 with that team no problem.
Saw this guy rolling around at the intermission complete with Pens jersey and Pirates hat, ya we get it dude you rep the Burgh so hard. Here's what I've noticed about Pens fans. They're really just Crosby fans. You never see any Neal jerseys, or Kunitz or Letang. It's 95% #87. How boring.
They had this Montreal game OT winner canvas at a charity auction and it was up to $650 the last I saw. Pretty cool, but the funny part is Turris scored that goal and he's nowhere to be found in this.
And the 2nd period is underway, except we're shortanded and their powerplay is comprised of 5 all stars. Not a good look for us.
And then things went from bad to worse. They called us for too many men on the ice while shorthanded. I didn't really notice it live, but do you know how badly you have to have too many men on the ice while shorthanded to get called in the playoffs? They could have let it slide. At this point this was possibly our season. Down 2 games already, giving up a goal or two here could have been it. But our amazing PK somehow killed both off. Still tied at zero's.
We played so hard we broke the glass and it had to be replaced. Ottawa typical.
And then Sidney Crosby got called for a high sticking penalty. I seriously didn't even think he was allowed to get penalties. You should have seen the look on his face in the box too, like a what a joke this is, don't you know I'm Sidney Crosby type smirk.
Erik Karlsson had a stick/hand/both around his body and throat, and as a result fell kinda awkwardly. So naturally he gets a diving penalty. Douglas Murray got a penalty too, but come on. At times the reffing was so one sided you'd have believed in conspiracy theories.
We had some good sustained pressure on the Pens in the 2nd, we probably should have had a few goals at this point but we just couldn't put in past Vokoun. Turris especially had 2 great chances but the game remained scoreless. but it wasn't from a lack of trying.
And with 1:07 left in the 2nd after we failed to clear our zone, Tyler Kennedy scored. He also celebrated like he scored the game 7 stanley cup winner in OT like a douche. I already hated his pig face. Now I really hate him. It was a nice shot though, Andy had no chance.
Erik Condra speared directly in front of the ref, who as you can see from this picture was looking at it the whole time, and didn't get a call. Ridiculous. Condra was very slow to get up and had to be helped off the ice by the trainer.
2nd intermission was very tense. We all knew it was a weird game and the refs weren't going to cut us any breaks, so we had to do it ourselves. You know it's a big deal when Tim Horton's cups go unattended.
It appears this person isn't very sure which team to cheer for. They seem confused, and not in a good way.
Six plus minutes gone in the 3rd and we still hadn't scored but it was another 20k+ sellout at SBP.
This girl really loves Kyle Turris. And they are clearly members of Sens Army, litreally. Interesting costume choices people.
Guess this guy didn't get the memo regarding the fake Walrus shirts from Sports Experts.
Chris Neil had what appeared to be an empty net to shoot at, but he had to shoot quickly and didn't have the chance to raise the puck, so it hit Vokoun's pad. The crowd was stunned. Looking at Methot's reaction, he was too.
Erik Karlsson is arguing with the refs here, which he never does, because minutes before while he had the puck, Matt Cooke of all people, was reckless with his stick and his blade smacked EK in the grill. No call! This was a theme of the night.
Down a goal, with 1:27 left in the game, the refs once again screwed us and called EK65 for a super borderline "slash" call, when Karlsson's stick is the one that broke. Of course Matt Cooke was the other guy. So now down a goal and a man, we had just under 90 seconds left to try and tie the game somehow, with one of our best offensive players in the box. Things didn't look good. We were close to being down 3-0 in the series.
And then it happened, down a goal and a man, who else but Daniel Alfredsson scored to tie the game shorthanded off a beautiful pass from Milan Michalek. Just 28 seconds left and SBP went nuts!!!! I almost couldn't believe what I just saw. It was that improbable.
Lost in all the excitement of the goal was the fact that the Pens still had a minute left in their powerplay. Everyone was celebrating, I was worried. Life as a Sens fan.
Phewf! We survived the last 28 seconds. we still had 30 some left to kill at the start of the overtime though. Still, it was nice to see them get pesky again and tie it up regardless of the outcome. The crowd was still in shock I think, but cautiously optimistic.
Big Mac's for all!!!!!!
So very pesky!
We killed off the remaining 30 seconds and were back to full strength. We were playing pretty well in the OT. I'd even say we were taking it to them. Chris Neil was a force all night. Here he is laying out Chris Kunitz.
Sens getting some love from Toronto. That's a smart kid.
We had a bunch of chances to end it in OT, but didn't get it done. As the game went on, Ottawa had the better of the play and Pittsburgh look tired. Here's Benoit taking a shot on Vokoun, who looked shaky all night. It didn't go in but it was a good foreshadow for later.
The first OT solved nothing, still tied at one's. This was the type of game we could win. A hard fought, low scoring affair. As the game went on, we got better. The Penguins looked rattled.
Double OT started and just a buck fifty six in, Chris Phillips was called for a very questionable holding call. Certainly not a penalty in the second overtime with all the obvious penalties they didn't call in our favor the rest of the game. A powerplay in a second OT had SBP worried. You can only keep the #1 ranked PP off the board for so long.
We killed off the penalty and then a few minutes later, the Pens took a minor. We had our chance to take the game with the man advantage. Niskanen to the box for tripping. We didn't end up scoring but we kept the pressure on.
Neil was skating hard and challenging the puck carrier when he was tripped/lost his balance, depending on your allegiances, and went into the boards very hard shoulder first. He didn't get up. Chris Neil doesn't fake injuries. He was helped to the dressing room. Just what we didn't need.
And at 7:39 of the second OT, Colin Greening backhanded a shot past Vokoun and the comeback was complete. The Sens won 2-1 and the series was now the same. The crowd erupted with joy. I love this shot of the Sens celebrating with the fans while the puck is in the net still, just over the line.
And the wideshot of the game winning celebration, with the fans, the Sens and the Pens leaving the ice after the L. What a night! This is one of those games you'll always remember. An instant classic.
And the crowd was sent home well after 11pm very happy. There were chants of Go Sens Go everywhere. And yes that is a Pascal Leclaire jersey on the left.
This is the last picture of the night. It sort of encompasses the highs and lows of the night. I left SBP happy and still in shock of what had happened. This is the picture form of how I felt. Not quite sure what happened, but I knew it was something cool. Thanks for reading and be sure to follow on twitter @SensTown