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Pens Hope to Even Series vs. Sens This Afternoon

Saturday, 04.14.2007 / 8:40 AM / News
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Pens Hope to Even Series vs. Sens This Afternoon
The Ottawa Senators started fast and never looked back in their series opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins. A similar performance in Game 2 would go a long way toward erasing some negative history.

Ottawa looks to win the first two games of a playoff series for the first time in franchise history Saturday as its Eastern Conference quarterfinal series continues at Scotiabank Place.

This is the 10th straight season the Senators have qualified for the playoffs, but they have advanced as far as the conference finals only once, losing to New Jersey in seven games in 2002-03.

Part of Ottawa's problem has been its inability to seize control of a series. The Senators have never held a 2-0 lead in a playoff series, going 0-6 in Game 2 after winning the opener.

It's hard to imagine Ottawa starting any better Saturday than it did Wednesday in Game 1 en route to a relatively easy 6-3 victory. The Senators dominated the much younger Penguins, outshooting them 9-2 in the first seven minutes and 29-12 over the first two periods.

Andrej Meszaros and Chris Kelly scored 5:01 apart early in the first period and the Senators held NHL scoring leader Sidney Crosby scoreless until a meaningless goal in the final minute in his playoff debut.

"When we started out strong, the crowd really rallied behind us, they've always supported us," said Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson, who led the team with eight shots on goal.

Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov, both fresh off signing contract extensions this week, helped limit Crosby to three shots on goal.

"They did a really good job tonight," Senators coach Bryan Murray said of his top defensive pairing. "This is the way they've played all year. They've been solid throughout."

Also held in check was left wing Evgeni Malkin, a leading contender for the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie. Malkin managed only an assist on Sergei Gonchar's third-period power-play goal that drew Pittsburgh within 6-2.

Crosby, who had a goal and three assists in four regular-season games against Ottawa, felt his team was too passive at the start.

"Instead of going out there and trying to set the tone ourselves, I think we tried go out there and feel things out," Crosby said. "When you do that, you get caught watching sometimes and unfortunately they were able to get a lead on us."

Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury, one of 13 Penguins making their playoff debuts, stopped 30 of 36 shots before he was replaced by Jocelyn Thibault midway through the third period with his team trailing 6-1.

Fleury is 2-5-0 with an ugly 5.07 goals-against average in eight career games against Ottawa.

"He gave up six goals but I'm glad the first game, his first playoff game in the NHL, is behind him," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "It's big for those kids. We're a team that's got a lot of attention all year long, first of all because of Sidney Crosby. Now the playoffs are another level."

Considering the way the Senators finished the regular season, it wasn't surprising to see them play so well in Game 1. They went 31-7-8 from Dec. 23 to the end of the season, narrowly edging the Penguins for fourth place in the East and home-ice in this series.

Dany Heatley's goal nine seconds into the third period gave Ottawa a 4-1 lead. Heatley, one of two 50-goal scorers in the NHL this season, has nine goals in his last nine games.

The series shifts to Pittsburgh for Games 3 and 4 on Sunday and Tuesday, respectively.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 49 28 13 8 145 125 64
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 49 18 22 9 110 137 45
15 CAR 48 17 25 6 104 125 40
16 BUF 50 14 33 3 94 179 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 46 16 13 -1 29
A. Ekblad 46 7 21 6 28
J. Huberdeau 43 9 17 1 26
J. Jokinen 45 4 21 -3 25
B. Boyes 44 10 12 2 22
J. Hayes 38 13 7 1 20
S. Bergenheim 35 8 9 2 17
A. Barkov 35 5 10 -5 15
B. Campbell 46 3 11 -1 14
D. Kulikov 41 1 13 -3 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 18 11 8 .920 2.42
A. Montoya 3 4 2 .891 2.96
 
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