Ovechkin played through hamstring, knee injuries in playoffs

And it was a handsome pass from Ryan that set up a first-period goal by Jean-Gabriel Pageau, who scored his eighth of the playoffs. Game 2 will be played in Pittsburgh on Monday night. May.

Neal scored 9:24 into OT, Pekka Rinne made 27 saves and the Predators kicked off their first appearance in the Western Conference finals with a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Friday night.

I just said that we're gonna look at everything and try to get better so I'm not really thinking that [way].

Consider the forward all caught up.

The Senators did appeal to Schultz, too, even if he was going to have to stand in line behind a then-21-year-old rising star on their blue-line.

Evgeni Malkin tops the National Hockey League season with 18 points (5G-13A) while captain Sidney Crosby has a 3-game assist run since returning from a concussion.

Ryan was at the centre of it all, hardly recognizable from his regular season form.

I'm sure a hangover from last round narrative will start soon if it already hasn't, but no so certain that was necessarily the case.

The Penguins enter the series a heavy favorite after winning the Cup a year ago and ousting Washington in the second round in a battle between the NHL's two winningest teams this season.

Not that it seems to bother Ottawa.

Karlsson wouldn't budge when asked if the Penguins should feel more pressure than the Senators because they're the near consensus pick to win the series. Couse said turnout at his pub - the Lieutenant's Pump along a strip the city has dubbed Sens Mile - was smaller than expected for the first three playoff games.

Now that doesn't sound like a player who is embracing the underdog role. If anything, he's embraced it.

Before they send the Canadian capital packing along with the American capital, however, the Penguins are going to have to figure out how to win against a team that is, in so many ways, their polar opposite. Now Ottawa finds itself on equal footing and hardly appeared intimidated by the stage.

Despite the controversy, Ottawa still held the advantage entering the third period, as it largely stymied Pittsburgh during 5-on-5 play. The team that looked drained while getting booed on home ice in a Game 6 loss to Washington zoomed past the Capitals in Game 7, a coolly efficient 2-0 victory that served as a three-period clinic on how to close out a series. We didn't collapse when they scored.

Pittsburgh largely dominated the first period in terms of puck possession and quality chances, as the Senators were called for four minor penalties.

Ryan's goal was a thing of beauty in a game with rare sparkles. Ottawa is at its best when it slows the game down, forces turnovers in the neutral zone and quickly counterattacks.

"I know, it's insane to think about", said the Pittsburgh defenceman and power-play quarterback. I think he's done a lot more than score goals.

Ottawa took the lead 14:32 into the first period after Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin left a blind drop pass behind his net that Ryan intercepted and slipped to Pageau in the right circle.

The transient nature of Ottawa's population - which includes civil servants, political staffers and students - further complicates the team's local reach, since those who come from away bring their own allegiances that don't suddenly change to Senators red. But eventually they broke through the Senators' 1-3-1 defense, as Evgeni Malkin tied the game at one goal when he tipped Chris Kunitz's shot between Craig Anderson's legs with 5:35 left in the game.

No matter. The Senators did what they've done repeatedly during their surprising run to the NHL's final four: they found a way.

Kevin Shattenkirksaid that he would meet with MacLellan today to discuss what kind of role he could play in the future for the Capitals, and while he said he "really enjoyed [his] time" in Washington, he sounded like someone who relishes the chance to enter free agency.

Added a third: "U.S.: Our leader says something bonkers every day".