Here, in no particular order, are the worst of the Senator foulups last night.
Down 1-0, Jason Spezza's blind backpass at the blueline, right onto the stick of Sergei Gonchar. Spezza tried to recover from that burn by enjoying the cool breeze of Sidney Crosby blowing past him. When Spezza made the pass, Crosby was three feet behind him. When Crosby scored, he was fifteen feet ahead as Spezza casually lumbered back.
Moments later, Brian Elliott came out of his net to play the puck and put it right onto the stick of Maxime Talbot. Not a single Senator was prepared to play defence at that moment, still looking annoyed about the Spezza gaffe. Talbot hit Matt Cooke on the tape with an easy pass and he buried one. Then Elliott allowed a softy to Crosby on his off wing from long range. It was a good shot but one that an NHL goalie should stop. That ended his night. Sens trailed 4-0 at that point.
The Sens got to 4-2 before Matt Cullen joined the act. On the power play, Cullen twice fumbled with the puck at the blue line, finally allowing Greg Adams to breakout. Cullen got back to cover Talbot but misjudged everything, allowing Adams a clear passing lane and an easy tip in for Talbot.
Now down 5-2, that didn't kill the Sens. Cullen redeemed himself on a 5 on 3, smacking in a nice feed from Spezza. That brought them back to within 2 with tons of time left.
But then another collapse. A minute before the period ended, 4 Penguins charged up ice with the puck. Two Senators were chasing close behind to assist the two Sens' defenders. Kunitz put the brakes on in the slot while the two backcheckers inexplicably whizzed past him. With 2 defenceman trying to cover Crosby behind the net, he whacked it back to Kunitz in the slot and he made it 6-3.
Bad as it was, the referees' performance was just as foul. The worst was a non call on Chris Kunitz who should have been given a penalty for shooting the puck over the glass. Easy call. Automatic. All 4 officials failed to see it, presumably blinded by Sidney Crosby's awesomeness. That allowed a Penguin power play to continue as Jordan Staal then drove home the 7th and final nail in the Sens' coffin.
Yes, the officials gave the Sens a pair of 5 on 3 chances in this game. Over the course of the game, things probably balanced out but not before Pittsburgh had a 4-0 lead. The call on Chris Kelly was horrible. It got the Sens back on their heels early. They barely killed it off and then another call straight away to Anton Volchnkov led to the first Penguin goal. That's when the Sens seemed to lose their poise and began making awful mistakes.
Elliott was excellent early in the game but when the Senators began making mistakes, neither he (nor Pascal Leclaire later on) was up for it. The Penguins are good but they're not so good that every single mistake should end up in Ottawa's net. That said, shouldn't the Senators have hired someone to replace goalie coach Eli Wilson? As good as Elliott looked after Wilson left in mid January, don't you need a tweak here and there, particularly going into your first playoffs ever?
The Penguins are healthier, more talented and more poised right now. They're the defending champs. The Sens have to take way better care of the puck and get some timely saves if they're to have any chance tomorrow night.