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Pens Hope to Even Series vs. Sens This Afternoon

Saturday, 04.14.2007 / 8:40 AM ET / 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 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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