According to head coach Guy Boucher, the Ottawa Senators have been the underdog story of the postseason. They continued their journey through the NHL’s elite on Saturday, posting a big 2-1 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Final matchup. Although the overtime goal was scored by Bobby Ryan, it was Jean-Gabriel Pageau who put up another big game, assisting on Ryan’s winner and scoring the team’s first goal.
Gabriel, who’s first period goal Saturday was his eighth of the postseason, scorched the New York Rangers earlier this playoff with four goals in Game 2 of their Eastern semifinal series. He’s been a big-game player in the past (a three-goal scorer against the Montreal Canadiens in just his third career playoff game in 2013), and he’s proving to be a vital piece to Ottawa’s success yet again.
DOB: Nov. 11, 1992
Birthplace: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Ht: 5’10” Wt: 180 lbs.
Drafted: 2011 Ottawa Senators 4th rd, 5th pick (96th overall)
Junior Team: Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL) — 2009-10 to 2011-12
First Career Goal
April 12, 2013 vs. New Jersey Devils — 2-0 W
Senators Depth Chart
- Pageau ranked sixth among Senators forwards in average time on ice (16:07) during the regular season.
- He has played the majority of the regular season with Mike Hoffman and Tom Pyatt on the second line (21.72%).
- He has played the majority of the postseason with Bobby Ryan and Mark Stone on the second line (13.18%).
- Pageau’s eight postseason goals is currently tied for third in the NHL.
- He is tied for 17th in the league with 35 shots this postseason. Only Hoffman (37), Derick Brassard (37) and Erik Karlsson (36) have more shots on the Senators’ roster.
- Pageau is one of just three Senators (Pyatt, Chris Kelly) to play in all 82 games this season.
- He led the Senators during the regular season in faceoff percentage (54.8 percent), and ranks second on the Senators in the postseason (54.2).
The biggest knock on Pageau early in his career was his size. Similar to Brian Gionta and Martin St. Louis, Pageau’s critics felt that the rigors of the NHL game would keep the Ottawa native from succeeding at the NHL level. His 12 goals in 29 playoff games, including two game winners, over the span of his career shows that he is fully capable of holding down an important position with a superior franchise.
Pageau possesses blinding speed through the neutral zone, as well as a knack for finding the open areas of the ice. However, his best asset may just be his hand-eye coordination, which was on display for two of his four goals against the Rangers earlier in this postseason.
The depth forward has proven time and again to be an important piece of the Senators’ success, whether it’s through goal scoring or the ability to cycle the puck in the offensive zone.
In order to defeat Pittsburgh, a team who knows what it takes to win and will likely come out of the gates on fire in Game 2, Ottawa will need to continue to receive depth scoring from their lineup. Pageau has provided plenty of heroics this postseason; a big performance in Game 2 would be his most important work to date.
Stay tuned with the Everything Hockey blog for coverage throughout the playoffs, including previews and predictions for each round.
Feature photo courtesy Bridget Samuels | Flickr
Line stats courtesy Dobber Hockey
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