The Senators proved they could win a one-goal game when it counts – they lost 22-of-32 such games during the regular season, despite finishing second in the league in goal scoring. They weathered a dominating second by Pittsburgh, a reversal of the first three games, and remained patient and persistent until getting the winner.
Ottawa takes a 3-1 lead into Game 5 on Thursday night, where the teams split the first two games in the Eastern Conference first-round series.
The go-ahead goal by Volchenkov, one of the least likely scorers in a series matching two of the NHL’s three best offensive teams, came amid an ever-shifting flow in which one team would press for a goal and the other would answer, creating an up-and-down and entertaining game despite the relative lack of scoring.
Mike Comrie took the puck out from behind the net toward the left corner and threw a hard pass to the slot, and Volchenkov blasted a 30-foot shot over Marc-Andre Fleury’s left shoulder. Fleury had dropped to his knees early on the play in anticipation of the pass going toward the crease.
Volchenkov, a defenceman, scored only once in 78 games during the season and had only one previous playoff goal, four years and a day before scoring his second. He has only nine goals in 229 career regular-season games.