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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 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 NYI 63 41 20 2 202 174 84
3 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 61 30 22 9 161 160 69
9 FLA 62 27 22 13 150 175 67
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 62 25 27 10 139 164 60
13 CBJ 60 26 30 4 157 189 56
14 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
15 CAR 60 23 30 7 137 159 53
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 62 22 15 -8 37
J. Huberdeau 59 9 24 2 33
A. Ekblad 62 9 23 8 32
J. Jokinen 61 6 28 -1 34
B. Boyes 60 10 21 8 31
J. Hayes 53 17 10 -5 27
A. Barkov 51 9 12 -6 21
T. Fleischmann 52 7 14 12 21
B. Campbell 62 3 19 3 22
D. Bolland 37 3 13 2 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 16 11 .920 2.40
A. Montoya 4 6 2 .893 2.98
 
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