Penguins vs. Senators: Pittsburgh offense continues success in Game 1

Justin K. Aller

The Pittsburgh Penguins continued their high offensive output in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night.

While the opponent has changed, the result largely remained the same.

Following Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal, the Pittsburgh Penguins successfully provided a counterargument to those wondering if the defensive-minded Ottawa Senators could shut down the Penguins' high-octane offense.

They couldn't, at least, for one game.

Rattling off four goals for a fifth-consecutive contest, Pittsburgh coasted to a 1-0 series lead.

The Penguins' four goals were augmented by a power play that converted on two of four chances, as well as a short-handed tally around the midway mark of the third period that served as the back-breaker. Evgeni Malkin's game-winning goal in the first period was Pittsburgh's lone even-strength conversion of the contest.

However, Ottawa's even-strength play wasn't much better and, with the exception of a misplayed puck by Penguins' goaltender Tomas Vokoun, the team would have been shutout in Game 1. In addition, the team's power play failed to convert on five opportunities and allowed a goal against.

While Vokoun managed to stop 35 of 36 shots faced, he registered a shaky opening to the game, which harkened back to moments from the quarterfinal when Marc-Andre Fleury allowed the New York Islanders to remain in contests. Ultimately, Vokoun finished with the lone blemish on his stat line.

Over the course of the last three games -- all of which resulted in Pittsburgh wins -- Vokoun has registered a .962 save percentage and allowed four goals against. Seemingly, the difference between the first four games of the Penguins' 2013 playoffs and the last three have been the improved play in goal. With the exception of a shutout in Game 1, Fleury allowed at least four goals in each of his three subsequent contests. Vokoun has allowed four goals total over a similar span.

Whether Vokoun can maintain that kind of performance remains to be seen. Ottawa didn't compile the strongest effort in Game 1 and certainly could improve over the course of the series. In addition, the Senators appeared to generate chances when driving the net and potentially could look to expand on that strategy in Game 2.

Pittsburgh opened Round 1 with a 5-0 win before volleying victories with a New York team many believed had no chance. Three games later, some wondered if the Islanders potentially could complete an upset.

In essence, one game does not a series make and that is certainly true of this match-up.

Game 2 is scheduled for Friday night in Pittsburgh.

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