|MIKE HOFFMAN, Senators|
|BEST IN CLASS — SLAP SHOT|
Quick sticks by the Penguins had frustrated Ottawa all series from getting the transition game going which was so instrumental in the Senators wins over Boston and New York in the first two rounds.
The Erik Karlsson stretch passes have been nowhere to be seen. J.G. Pageau bolts from the blue have succumbed to the muck and the mire of alert Pittsburgh stick work on breakout passes. So when Ottawa finally got some open ice last night, it was up to Mike Hoffman to capitalize on it.
Defenseman Frederik Claesson centered a 3-on-2 rush after the Penguins Scott Wilson got caught up-ice after throwing a monster — but largely superflous — hit on Clarke MacArthur.
With wingers on either side accompanying him, Claesson dished off to Hoffman, who was a few strides ahead, but planted at the blue line on the left half boards to make sure Claesson entered the zone first.
Hoffman burst forward after receiving the puck, completely unattended to by the Pittsburgh defense. He stepped just inside the top of the left circle, waited for an instant to allow Claesson to cut across goaltender Matt Murray’s sight line, and ripped a slap shot in full stride past the glove of Murray and off the post and in.
The mere sight of all that open ice was enough to allow the fans at Canadian Tire Center a deep breath for a change. When the light burned red, a massive discharge of pent-up tension shook the building.
|5/23/2017 vs. Pittsburgh|