It's amazing how thin the line can be between the edge of extinction in the Stanley Cup playoffs and being in the thick of a series. The Senators toed that line on Sunday night before Colin Greening's winner in double overtime kept them on the right side.
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Unable to beat Penguins goalie Tomas Vokoun for the first 59:30 of the game, it wasn't until the captain, Daniel Alfredsson, redirected a puck past Vokoun and in, forcing overtime in Game 3. So close to being down 3-0 in the series yet there was still life.
The Senators escaped through a first overtime where Evgeni Malkin was simply stellar for the Penguins and Pascal Dupuis hit the post, giving us the first double-overtime game of these playoffs. As teams prove time and time again in sports, if you let an underdog hang around long enough then it will bite you. In this case it was Greening -- even with pieces of fiberglass stuck in his face for three periods -- biting Pittsburgh when he scored on a rebound attempt, sending Ottawa into delerium and making this a series again.
Yes, you can use that overused expression because this one was so perilously close to being an insurmountable series lead for the Penguins. The Sens were so close to being all but done until they weren't.
This season the Senators have adopted the "Pesky Sens" nickname and even if that is a kind of irritating and played out nickname, this game was a perfect example why. The Penguins had them on the ropes time and time again but were unable to deliver the knockout punch.
Credit Craig Anderson if you want, he was certainly spectacular. The only goal he gave up came after a bad turnover by the Senators in their own zone that resulted in a clear shot from the short slot. Other than that, he was flawless. He kept fighting and stopping numerous great chances for Pittsburgh.
At times in the overtime the Sens looked tired, not that you could blame them in a double-OT game. However they knew what was at stake and that a loss would end their hopes for all intents and purposes, if they were to be realistic with themselves. But just when the Penguins put their guard down, they struck.
Not that we should expect anything else from a professional hockey team in a playoff game, but the Sens never quit. While I won't say the Penguins quit, they certainly didn't keep their foot on the proverbial gas pedal either, giving the Senators life. All season this has been a team that clings to those opportunities and this was clearly no exception. They scrapped their way to a massive win, one that at the risk of overstating it was a season-saver.
Some might say the Senators were very fortunate to get out of Game 3 with a win and you won't find me disagreeing with that notion, they absolutely were. If they want to take Game 4 to pull the series back to even they're going to need to be better than what was easily their best game of the series yet one they probably still "stole" from the Penguins. It's just what the Sens do, they're pesky that way.