Kessel and Fleury lift Pens over Sens
Close 1-0 Pittsburgh victory evens NHL’s best-of-seven Eastern Conference final at 1-1
PITTSBURGH — Phil Kessel scored at 13:05 of the third period to break up a goaltending duel and give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 1-0 win over the Ottawa Senators in Game 2 of the National Hockey League’s Eastern Conference final Monday night at PPG Paints Arena.
That gives the teams a 1-1 split heading to Ottawa for the next two games. Game 3 is Wednesday.
Pens goalie Marc-André Fleury made 22 saves to earn his second shutout of the playoffs, and second in three games, as well as the 10th of his career in the post-season.
Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson also was strong, stopping 28-of-29 Pittsburgh shots.
Kessel scored on his own rebound from the slot after his initial shot was blocked by Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
Kessel had gone three games with no points and had just one point, a goal, in his previous five games.
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.
Pittsburgh, already playing without winger Patric Hornqvist after he left warm-ups early, 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 Ottawa defenceman Dion Phaneuf and fell backward hard onto the ice. A little later, defenceman Justin Schultz appeared to hurt his right arm or shoulder going into the end boards behind the Penguins net.
Neither of the plays resulted in a penalty.
There was no immediate update on the injured players.
The Penguins made shooting more 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 to no avail, thanks to Anderson.
Dion Phaneuf (2) of the Ottawa Senators hits Penguins’ Bryan Rust on Monday night in Pittsburgh.