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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 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 75 47 21 7 228 177 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 76 42 23 11 210 190 95
5 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
6 DET 75 40 23 12 220 206 92
7 WSH 76 41 25 10 223 188 92
8 BOS 76 38 25 13 201 196 89
9 OTT 75 37 26 12 218 203 86
10 FLA 76 35 26 15 190 207 85
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 76 31 33 12 168 194 74
14 CAR 75 28 36 11 174 204 67
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 73 13 36 9 49
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jagr 71 15 26 -2 41
J. Jokinen 75 8 33 -2 41
B. Boyes 73 12 23 10 35
A. Ekblad 75 11 24 11 35
J. Hayes 66 18 13 -5 31
A. Barkov 65 14 17 -1 31
B. Campbell 76 3 22 2 25
B. Pirri 43 20 2 5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 26 17 12 .921 2.33
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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