Hoff­man scores win­ner; Sens stave off elim­i­na­tion

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - JONAS SIEGEL

OT­TAWA — The Ot­tawa Sen­a­tors are still alive.

Mike Hoff­man scored the goa­head goal early in the third pe­riod of Game 6 as the Sens brushed off elim­i­na­tion with a 2-1 win on Tues­day and sent the Na­tional Hockey League’s Eastern Con­fer­ence fi­nal to a de­ci­sive Game 7 in Pitts­burgh.

Ot­tawa was fac­ing elim­i­na­tion for the first time in the play­offs.

Bobby Ryan also scored a rare power-play goal for Ot­tawa and Craig An­der­son made 44 saves.

Matt Mur­ray gave up a pair on 30 shots and Ev­geni Malkin mus­tered the lone goal for the Pen­guins, who will shoot for their sec­ond straight Stan­ley Cup fi­nal ap­pear­ance once more Thurs­day.

The Sens man­aged to quickly for­get a 7-0 pound­ing two days ear­lier in Game 5, stave off the end of their sea­son and land one more shot at a first Stan­ley Cup fi­nal ap­pear­ance in 10 years.

“You can see it as an elim­i­na­tion game, or you can see it as an op­por­tu­nity, and we know what we choose,” head coach Guy Boucher said be­fore the game.

Ot­tawa was pri­mar­ily look­ing for a re­turn to struc­ture in Game 6, be­gin­ning with a smoother start — which they got.

Notable in a score­less first frame were two ef­fec­tive penalty kills, one of which saw Vik­tor Stal­berg get the best op­por­tu­nity short-handed.

Pitts­burgh had four shots with the man ad­van­tage, but An­der­son stopped them all. The 35-year-old strug­gled through Games 4 and 5 — yield­ing seven goals — but it was ev­i­dent early that he had his game back. He stopped Nick Bonino off a re­bound in tran­si­tion, Scott Wil­son off a de­flected Phil Kes­sel shot and Bonino again when Kyle Tur­ris gave the puck away.

Sharp, too, was Mur­ray, the 22year-old who re­placed Marc-An­dré Fleury af­ter Game 3. He made maybe his finest save of the first on Der­ick Bras­sard, who found an open lane down the mid­dle of the ice fol­low­ing a feed from Ryan.

The open­ing 20 min­utes looked more in line with what Boucher had in mind. He thought his team got sucked into run-and-gun hockey with the Pens in the blowout loss and re­quired a re­turn to the club’s well-estab­lished de­fen­sive brand.

JANA CHYTILOVA, GETTY IMAGES

Mike Hoff­man (68) of the Sens cel­e­brates with team­mates af­ter scor­ing a goal against Pitts­burgh in the third pe­riod in Ot­tawa on Tues­day night.

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