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SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:28 PM
The hitting and the tempers are flaring up.....lol. You gotta love it.

Amen to that. Hard Hitting, one of the things that make hockey great.

X-Terminator
04-14-2007, 04:28 PM
How nice of NBC to go to a commercial break right when there's a scrum going on. Great job guys! :thumbsup:

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:29 PM
How nice of NBC to go to a commercial break right when there's a scrum going on. Great job guys! :thumbsup:

You can say that again. Only let fans in the arena see the fight. We at home like to see Physical Games to.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:30 PM
4 on 4 time.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:30 PM
****! Tie Game

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 04:30 PM
1-1 tie. Spezza.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:31 PM
COME ON GUYS! SHUT THE SENATORS DOWN! DON'T LET THEM SCORE AGAIN!

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:32 PM
Come on guys. LET'S SCORE AND GO BACK AHEAD AGAIN.

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 04:34 PM
Dumb penalty by Petro. Completely hacked the hell out of his stick. Sounded like he was cutting down a redwood.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:34 PM
COME ON! QUIT BEING BONEHEADED.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:34 PM
Dumb penalty. Completely hacked the hell out of his stick.

You can say that again.

tony hipchest
04-14-2007, 04:35 PM
:dang: the most compelling thing about hockey is how tangible momentum is. you can see and feel it brewing. that goal was several minutes in the works.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:36 PM
LET'S KILL THE PENALTY! OTTAWA CALLED US OUT. LET'S FIRE BACK.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:38 PM
KILLED IT! NICE WORK. MAKE THEM PAY FOR NOT SCORING ON THE POWER PLAY PENS!

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:39 PM
WHAT A SAVE! GOOD JOB ON THAT PLAY. COME ON PENS! WE NEED TO GET A GOAL ON THE BOARD.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:41 PM
11-1 shots on goal. COME ON WE NEED TO GET SOME SHOTS ON GOAL.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:42 PM
12-7 Now. on the SOG for 2nd period.

tony hipchest
04-14-2007, 04:42 PM
that sens 3 on 1 had disaster written all over it. gotta like the poise fleury has been showing so far.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:43 PM
that sens 3 on 1 had disaster written all over it. gotta like the poise fleury has been showing so far.

Minus 1 play he's done a FANTASTIC Job.

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 04:43 PM
that sens 3 on 1 had disaster written all over it. gotta like the poise fleury has been showing so far.

I thought we were done on that one. Eaton cheated up and we almost paid the price.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:44 PM
I thought we were done on that one. Eaton cheated up and we almost paid the price.

Fortunately we found a way to shut the door on that one.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:45 PM
Crosby doesn't need to get down on himself. Just go hey, one bad play, can't do anything about it now and move on get ready for the next play.

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 04:46 PM
Put on some pressure and draw a penalty. Let's go guys!

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 04:46 PM
LOL, wow. Colby didn't even bother slowing down. There's a new highway in Canada, it's call The Ray Emery Highway.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:47 PM
Net off Pegs,

DAMN! PITTSBURGH PENALTY. COME ON GUYS! KILL THE PENALTY.

Rocky music fits the mood right now.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:49 PM
GOOD REACTION TIME THERE! LET'S KEEP A GOOD DEFENSIVE EFFORT GOING GUYS!

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 04:50 PM
2-1 Sens

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:50 PM
****! ****! ****! ****! ****!

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 04:50 PM
That's what happens when you keep taking penalty after penalty after penalty. Fleury had no chance.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:51 PM
YOU HAVE TO PLAY BETTER THEN THAT GUYS!

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 04:51 PM
Complete momentum change now. All Ottawa. Stop the bleeding before it get's any worse.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:52 PM
That's what happens when you keep taking penalty after penalty after penalty. Fleury had no chance.

Not too mention

DUMB

Penalties.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:52 PM
WHAT THE HELL JAARKO.

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 04:53 PM
Sen PP again. Ruutu with the dumb penalty. Unbelievable.

tony hipchest
04-14-2007, 04:53 PM
i think fleurys peripheral vision failed him on that one. its like he didnt even realize dude was standing next to the net. momentum has clearly shifted in favor of the sens but is like how the pens are hanging tough.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 04:55 PM
Right Now Therrien might need me on his bench beside him giving his team the ferocious side of Bill Cowher. I've gotten as bad as he has been.

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 04:56 PM
Eventually we are going to have to stop taking these penalties and put some type of offensive pressure on the Sens.

25 shots to 10 pretty much says it all.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:08 PM
Eventually we are going to have to stop taking these penalties and put some type of offensive pressure on the Sens.

25 shots to 10 pretty much says it all.

You Said It Brother!

tony hipchest
04-14-2007, 05:10 PM
25 shots to 10 pretty much says it all.its like they havent even gone 2 minutes straight w/o sens being on PP

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:11 PM
its like they havent even gone 2 minutes straight w/o sens being on PP

That's for sure. If the Penguins force Ottawa to do stuff dumb for them and also score goals when they get chances, We'll win this game.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:14 PM
LET'S GO GUYS! START THIS PERIOD OFF RIGHT!

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 05:14 PM
Comrie and Colby. Weak fight.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:14 PM
5 Minutes Though.

HometownGal
04-14-2007, 05:15 PM
Gotta love Army! :toofunny: That boy takes no crap from anyone.

Anyone know why Laraque was scratched?

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 05:15 PM
Pens PP coming up!!

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:15 PM
Alright Now 4 on 3!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let's Score on at least one of them.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:16 PM
Gotta love Army! :toofunny: That boy takes no crap from anyone.

Anyone know why Laraque was scratched?

No Clue, but definantly gotta love Army.

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 05:18 PM
SCORE!!!!!!!!!! ROBERTS!!!!

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:18 PM
NICE JOB! WELL PLAYED AND A GREAT GOAL!

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 05:19 PM
OH SOOOO CLOSE!!!!! :banging: :banging: :banging: :banging:

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 05:20 PM
Ottawa PP coming on up. Looks like a hold on Gonchar.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:20 PM
COME ON GUYS!

HometownGal
04-14-2007, 05:21 PM
YESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!! :banana: :banana: :cheers:

Let's get in Emery's head NOW!!!

Thanks SCM - I get the feeling Therrien is P.O.'d at him b/c he didn't rough it up in the 3rd the last game, but I understand why he didn't. Why take a penalty late in the 3rd when your team is down several goals?

Our Pens are pouring it on!!! Fleury is playing his arse and his heart out! :thumbsup:

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:21 PM
OH SOOOO CLOSE!!!!! :banging: :banging: :banging: :banging:

That lucky Sob from Ottawa.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:21 PM
Goal Play Under Review, I don't know what would make this a goal.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:22 PM
I guess I was hearing things.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:24 PM
Good Kill Guys. LET'S GO PENS!

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:24 PM
WHAT THE HELL?

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 05:25 PM
3-2 Sens. ****

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 05:25 PM
Whitney backed up, backed up, backed up and basically gave the guy a screen and a closer shot.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:26 PM
Whitney backed up, backed up, backed up and basically gave the guy a screen and a closer shot.

He should have Pulled Closer and stole it from him.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:31 PM
Where's the Offense. We need a goal.

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 05:32 PM
STAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 05:32 PM
Where's the Offense. We need a goal.

Ask and you shall receive!!! :banana:

tony hipchest
04-14-2007, 05:33 PM
sweeeeeeeet. ive had a good feeling all game. while it can go either way, the penguins have done real nice w/o the advantage on ice or the momentum.

HIT THE POST! whew

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:33 PM
GREAT GOAL! Now LET'S GET ANOTHER ONE! HOLD OTTAWA TO WHERE THEY ARE NOW.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:34 PM
Ask and you shall receive!!! :banana:

hahaha

Where's the offense. we need a goal.

HometownGal
04-14-2007, 05:34 PM
The Pens are holding their own - nice goal by Jordan! :thumbsup: :banana: If they pull this game off, Fleury has to be the #1 star - he has been outstanding.

tony hipchest
04-14-2007, 05:35 PM
win or lose the pens gotta feel good (yet a little disappointed if they lose) taking it back home. hockey is the one sport in a 7 game series where ive seen the tides turn so much just based on being home or away.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:37 PM
win or lose the pens gotta feel good (yet a little disappointed if they lose) taking it back home. hockey is the one sport in a 7 game series where ive seen the tides turn so much just based on being home or away.

Worry about this game first.

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 05:37 PM
SCORES!!!! CROSBY!!!!

tony hipchest
04-14-2007, 05:37 PM
albertson whiffed. great set up by malkin!!!!!!!!!

oops i guess the pass was by recchi. beautiful goal by the kid

HometownGal
04-14-2007, 05:37 PM
The Wreckin Ball scores!!!!! Way to go Pens! :banana:

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:38 PM
We asked, and we received.


Where's the offense. We need a goal.

HometownGal
04-14-2007, 05:39 PM
I goofed - it was Sid the Kid. :smile:

Gotta love the puss face on Murray! :toofunny:

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 05:39 PM
Sens PP coming up. Malkin holding the stick.

tony hipchest
04-14-2007, 05:39 PM
Worry about this game first.im not worried. i like the foundation being set in this game. dont mean theyll win it all, but i dont see them laying down.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:39 PM
Come on guys. Just relax. KILL THE PENALTY.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:40 PM
im not worried. i like the foundation being set in this game. dont mean theyll win it all, but i dont see them laying down.

Have to take it one step at a time.

COME ON PENALTY KILLERS!

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:41 PM
Timeout Senators.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:44 PM
Nice Job on the Power Play.

tony hipchest
04-14-2007, 05:48 PM
Have to take it one step at a time.

COME ON PENALTY KILLERS!and the 1st step has been taken. dont lay down when you get behind.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:49 PM
and the 1st step has been taken. dont lay down when you get behind.

That's right. The Penguins just need to keep firing at the Senators like they have. Nothing Easy.

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 05:51 PM
ONE MINUTE AND SEVEN SECONDS!!! HOLD THE LEAD BOYS!!!!

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:51 PM
Empty Net. got to score.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:52 PM
Were is our offense. We need a goal.

HometownGal
04-14-2007, 05:52 PM
Under a minute left - LETS GO PENS!!!! Wow - my heart is pounding!

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:53 PM
13 SECONDS STAND TALL AND FINISH THIS GAME OFF!

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 05:53 PM
WHAT A SAVE WITH 13.1. Oh, my heart.

HometownGal
04-14-2007, 05:53 PM
Fleury has just been absofreakinlutely AMAZING!!!! :banana:

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 05:55 PM
Nice win. We grabbed one in Ottawa. VERY NICE. Now let's get our butts on that plane and back on home ice.

EXCELLENT way of responding after game one.

tony hipchest
04-14-2007, 05:56 PM
WHAT A SAVE WITH 13.1. Oh, my heart.what a barrage of shots hes fended off. i really started paying attention to him in the last 3 minutes and he really seemed to become much more aware of the puck (especially when it was behind the net) and the offensive players around him. he seemed to calm down with the late lead.

83-Steelers-43
04-14-2007, 05:57 PM
Well, SCM, Tony, it was nice almost having a heart attack while online with both of you.....lol.

Keepin' the faith SCM. :wink02: :cheers:

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 05:59 PM
WE WIN!!!!!!!!!!

SERIES TIED 1-1.

WHAT A GAME!!!!!!

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 06:00 PM
Well, SCM, Tony, it was nice almost having a heart attack while online with both of you.....lol.

Keepin' the faith SCM. :wink02: :cheers:


hahaha, it was great having a heart attack with all of you. (In my case child hood. lol.)

Keepin' the faith 83. :jammin:

Remember my fellow Pittsburgh Sports Fans.

DON'T STOP BELIEVING!

X-Terminator
04-14-2007, 06:02 PM
Fleury has just been absofreakinlutely AMAZING!!!! :banana:

A great save and a GREAT win for our boys today! THAT'S how you respond after receiving a drubbing in the previous game. And how about Sid - gets booed all game long and then shuts them all up with the game-winner! WOOHOOO!!!:banana:

I can't WAIT until tomorrow night and feel the electricity in the building - it'll be un-be-freaking-lievable!

HometownGal
04-14-2007, 06:14 PM
A great save and a GREAT win for our boys today! THAT'S how you respond after receiving a drubbing in the previous game. And how about Sid - gets booed all game long and then shuts them all up with the game-winner! WOOHOOO!!!:banana:

I can't WAIT until tomorrow night and feel the electricity in the building - it'll be un-be-freaking-lievable!

Yes it was - nooooooooo doubt about it! (Wait - wrong broadcaster!) :wink02: I don't know which of my jerseys to wear tomorrow night - probably Gonchar since I wore Ruutu to the Rangers game. 6:00 tomorrow night can't come soon enough!

What a performance by our youngins! :cheers:

tony hipchest
04-14-2007, 06:20 PM
Well, SCM, Tony, it was nice almost having a heart attack while online with both of you.....lol.

Keepin' the faith SCM. :wink02: :cheers:as a fairweather fan (or one who only watches when lemieux is playing or a few games of stanley cup) i gotta say, i almost forgot how exciting playoff hockey is. without a rooting interrest its just not the same.

and having passed on the nascar busch race you gotta know i mean it. :cheers:

tony hipchest
04-14-2007, 06:24 PM
Yes it was - nooooooooo doubt about it! (Wait - wrong broadcaster!) :wink02: I don't know which of my jerseys to wear tomorrow night - probably Gonchar since I wore Ruutu to the Rangers game. 6:00 tomorrow night can't come soon enough!

What a performance by our youngins! :cheers: im so jealous. ive never seen hockey live, and hockey is definitely the 1 sport you gotta witness live to trully appreciate.

(i say go with the gonchar) have a blast!

X-Terminator
04-14-2007, 06:44 PM
Yes it was - nooooooooo doubt about it! (Wait - wrong broadcaster!) :wink02: I don't know which of my jerseys to wear tomorrow night - probably Gonchar since I wore Ruutu to the Rangers game. 6:00 tomorrow night can't come soon enough!

What a performance by our youngins! :cheers:

Go with Gonchar - seems you have some luck with that one! I'll be wearing my Sid jersey in honor of his game-winner tonight (well, actually I'd decided to wear it prior to the playoffs - LOL). It's my first ever postseason game, and I can't wait - it's going to be so much fun!!

Tony - you really do have to see hockey live to appreciate it, no question about it. I guarantee you once you see it live, you'll be hooked! Maybe someday if you find your way up here, you can take in a game - maybe even in the new arena!

Edman
04-14-2007, 06:58 PM
I missed the game! AGGH! :banging:

I am so sorry Penguins and everybody else for missing them when it mattered. I am completely ashamed.

Great, Exciting win today for our young Penguns. They did more than just win, they have matured and gained a lot of experience. On the road in the playoffs in front of a hostile Canadian Crowd, down 3-1, and they storm back and win. Totally awesome.

Mellon Arena is going to be awesome tomorrow. A chance to go up 2-1.

Counselor
04-14-2007, 07:54 PM
Great game! I though Fleury looked stellar at certain points of the game--certainly at the end when it was really important.

How about Jordan Staal and Gary Roberts? Good decisions were made to keep one up and acquire the other by the FO.

And Crosby---he still amazes me every night----he was giving some good hits tonight.

I thought Malkin played better too.


LOVED IT. Go Pens!

X-Terminator
04-14-2007, 08:31 PM
Great game! I though Fleury looked stellar at certain points of the game--certainly at the end when it was really important.

How about Jordan Staal and Gary Roberts? Good decisions were made to keep one up and acquire the other by the FO.

And Crosby---he still amazes me every night----he was giving some good hits tonight.

I thought Malkin played better too.


LOVED IT. Go Pens!

Fleury has been good in both games, really - he kept the game from being 6-0 in the first period on Wednesday. But today, I agree - he played very well and that save at the end on Fisher was a 10-beller if there ever was one.

Jordan Staal to me looks unfazed by the playoff atmosphere. He goes out and plays his game, and as usual, plays it well.

Sid was outstanding as well, and though he'd never say it in public, his game and that goal had to be sweet satisfaction for him - silencing the crowd and his critics for one game, anyway.

The Pens need to find some way to keep Roberts on the team next season. Fly his daughter and fiancee in or give him his own private jet to go back and forth to Toronto...I don't care. Just sign him!

OneForTheToe
04-14-2007, 09:34 PM
I was listening to the game on the radio until I got home to see the last 5:00 minutes. My poor heart can take only so much ...... I swear my eyes saw the puck get past Fleury a couple of times in the last minute.


Great Game

Go Pens, take over the series tomorrow.

SteelCityMan786
04-14-2007, 10:40 PM
http://post-gazette.com/pg/07104/778161-100.stm

Penguins win Game 2 vs. Senators, 4-3

Saturday, April 14, 2007
The Associated Press

OTTAWA -- Sidney Crosby will have better memories of his second playoff goal than his first.

Crosby scored his second in two playoff games 11:44 into the third period to lift the Penguins to a 4-3 win against the Ottawa Senators today, evening their first-round series at one win apiece.

Crosby, who scored a late power-play goal in Wednesday's series-opening 6-3 loss, scored the Penguins third goal of the third period at 11:44. The Penguins tied it twice in the final frame before the 19-year-old NHL scoring champion gave them their second and final lead.

The league's youngest Art Ross Trophy winner drove the net and planted his stick on the ice to redirect Mark Recchi's cross-ice pass beyond goalie Ray Emery.

Penguins counterpart Marc-Andre Fleury stopped Mike Fisher's shot from the slot with 13.1 seconds remaining to seal the win. Fleury, who left after allowing all six goals Wednesday, made 34 saves as Ottawa outshot Pittsburgh 37-21 overall, including 20-5 in the second period.

Gary Roberts and Jordan Staal scored tying goals earlier in the period and Crosby assisted on Ryan Whitney's power-play goal early in the first.

Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza each had a goal an assist in the second to give Ottawa a 2-1 lead. Chris Kelly put Ottawa up 3-2 when he scored for the second straight game 6:18 into the third.

The Senators have never led a playoff series 2-0. Ottawa lost for the seventh straight time after winning the first game.

Staal drew Pittsburgh even for the second time in the third when was left wide open in the slot to beat Emery at 9:34.

Roberts, who tied it at 2 with a power-play goal at 2:04, checked defenseman Wade Redden off the puck behind the net. Michel Ouellet passed the puck out front to Staal, who was alone and scored with a low shot that tied it at 3.

Spezza got Ottawa even at 2 during 4-on-4 play 8:28 into the second after Ottawa's Antoine Vermette and Penguins defenseman Josef Melichar were given penalties following a skirmish behind the Penguins' net.

Alfredsson put Ottawa ahead with a power-play goal at 16:44 after the Penguins' Colby Armstrong was penalized for goaltender interference when he crashed into Emery after he was stopped on a breakaway.

Alfredsson took Dany Heatley's pass and shot the puck into an open net from the left side of the crease.

Roberts made it 2-2 when he put a rebound into an open left side after Emery stuck out his right pad to stop Sergei Gonchar's shot from the right point.

Kelly restored Ottawa's lead when he took a centering pass from Dean McAmmond and drove the slot before firing a shot over Fleury's right pad at 6:18 to make it 3-2.

Notes: Penguins RW Ronald Petrovicky replaced RW Georges Laraque in the lineup. Petrovicky became the 14th Pittsburgh player to make his playoff debut in the series. ... Roberts, Gonchar, D Mark Eaton, RW Mark Recchi, LW Jarkko Ruutu and backup G Jocelyn Thibault were the only Penguins in the lineup with playoff experience before this series. ... Armstrong and Senators C Mike Comrie fought 4 seconds into the third. They took off their gloves and helmets and went at it after lining up for the opening faceoff. ... Senators LW Christoph Schubert lay on the ice and had to be helped off 9:18 in after an open-ice collision with Ouellet. He strained his neck and didn't return.

X-Terminator
04-15-2007, 12:04 AM
Penguins Notebook: Cutting down on penalties Game 3 must

Sunday, April 15, 2007
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

OTTAWA -- With Game 3 of their first-round playoff series scheduled for 6:08 p.m. today at Mellon Arena, the Penguins probably won't have time for an in-depth analysis of the tapes from their 4-3 victory in Game 2 against Ottawa yesterday at Scotiabank Place.

It's probably just as well.

They certainly don't need video evidence that giving the Senators nine power plays, the way they did yesterday, is a high-risk way to operate.

"You're not going to beat that team sitting in the penalty box," left winger Gary Roberts said. "We got away with one [in Game 2], but we've got to be smarter."

The Penguins, who had just three chances with the extra man in Game 2, have been shorthanded 15 times in the series.

"Anytime you take that many penalties, you're playing with fire," defenseman Mark Eaton said. "We need to be more disciplined. With the power play they have, we can't give them too many chances."

Four of those came in the second period yesterday, when the Penguins experienced a near-meltdown.

"When you spend too much time in the penalty box, this is what happens," coach Michel Therrien said. "We were a frustrated team in the second period.

"[The Senators] got away with some calls, but, in the meantime, we can't lose our focus. We can't be undisciplined because they got away with some calls."

Ottawa has scored three times with the extra man so far, although it got just one of those yesterday.

"We can't play that much on the penalty-kill," forward Jordan Staal said. "It's going to hurt us, sooner or later."

One key switch

Therrien shuffled his forward combinations repeatedly in Game 2, but made only one lineup change, replacing right winger Georges Laraque with Ronald Petrovicky.

"When you don't win, sometimes you want to make some changes," Therrien said.

Petrovicky logged 5 minutes, 32 seconds of ice time and was credited with three hits, including one that drove Ottawa's Mike Comrie into the boards face-first in the first period.

"I tried to keep my shifts really short so I didn't get too tired, and just be in the right position," he said.

"I tried to make a couple of hits.

"It worked out well. We won, and everybody's happy."

In addition to Laraque, the Penguins' healthy scratches for yesterday's game were forwards Nils Ekman and Chris Thorburn, and defensemen Alain Nasreddine and Joel Kwiatkowski.

Talbot right at home

Penguins center Maxime Talbot grew up in Montreal, but played junior hockey across the river from Ottawa in Hull, Quebec.

That means the series against the Senators has significance for him that transcends the obvious.

"[Ottawa] is kind of my hometown, too," Talbot said. "My second hometown. I lived [here] for four years. There are great memories. It's a great area. I know a lot of people."

And at least some of them were hoping Talbot could get them tickets to the games here; he managed to come up with 15 when the Penguins visited during the final week of the regular season.

And, while it seems logical that at least some of those people are Senators fans, Talbot believes their ties to him surpass any connection they have to the local club.

"Obviously, they [follow the Senators] because they live so close," he said. "But because they know me, I think they're more Pittsburgh fans."

Loud noise guaranteed

When the Senators and Penguins meet tonight, it will be the first playoff game in Mellon Arena since May 19, 2001, when New Jersey earned a 5-0 victory there en route to a 4-1 triumph in the Eastern Conference final.

Particularly with the Penguins having earned a split in Ottawa, the fans figure to be animated and vocal.

"We've played a couple of times [there] this year, and the crowd has been pretty good," Ottawa defenseman Chris Phillips said. "Lots of energy. That's fun to play in front of."

Whether it will be fun for the Senators remains to be seen, but it should be loud. Therrien pretty much promised that after Game 2.

"We have great fans," he said. "I know people in Ottawa were great for the Senators, but let me tell you something: What we expect [today] in Pittsburgh is going to be pretty unique."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07105/778242-61.stm

X-Terminator
04-15-2007, 12:05 AM
Senators lament their missed opportunities on power play

Sunday, April 15, 2007
By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

OTTAWA -- The passes were crisp. The shots came from all over, from the points, from the slot, from close in.

Yet the results the Ottawa Senators got on their power play were ugly.

"Our power play wasn't very good. Understatement," coach Bryan Murray said.

When a team is 1 for 9 with a man-advantage in a one-goal loss at home in the Stanley Cup playoffs, it tends to stand out.

"I thought we had plenty of chances," defenseman and point man Joe Corvo said after Ottawa's 4-3 loss to the Penguins yesterday at Scotiabank Place dropped the Senators into a tie with the Penguins at one win apiece in their best-of-seven, opening-round series.

"We were working it around. It just wasn't going in."

Corvo launched at least three of his five missed shots during power plays. He hit the crossbar once, with the others going wide.

That's the way it went for the Senators.

Their only power-play goal came from Daniel Alfredsson, who took a pass from Dany Heatley and scored from the left edge of the crease into an open near-side of the net after Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury slid to his right.

That gave the Senators a 2-1 lead at 16:44 of the second period, but it came on their sixth power-play opportunity and at a time when they were dominating the Penguins.

Ottawa outshot the Penguins, 25-10, through the first two periods, 19-5, in the second period.

Scoring another power-play goal or two could have made it a much different game.

"Power plays this time of the year are a little tougher than they are during the regular season, but I thought we moved the puck well," center Jason Spezza said. "We were in their end the whole time. We had some good chances. Their guys are playing just as hard as we are, so you've got to do something special to get it by them."

Other than Alfredsson's goal, Fleury stopped the shots that didn't go wide or weren't blocked. The Penguins finished with 11 blocked shots, many from their penalty-killers.

"It's probably a little bit of both," said defenseman Tom Preissing when asked whether it was more Fleury or the penalty-killers that thwarted Ottawa.

"I think we had a lot of good chances, and I think a lot of it was us not really capitalizing on the chances we had.

"We were focusing on trying to beat them on the power play. I think if we can do that, we're going to win the games, for the most part."

Despite having their top line of Alfredsson, Spezza and Heatley on their top unit, the Senators' power play wasn't at the top of the heap in the regular season, finishing 14th overall with a 17.9 percent overall success rate and 21st at home with a 17.1 conversion rate.

But they were going against a Penguins team that has had trouble killing penalties away from home.

The Penguins tied for 27th on the road by snuffing 76.2 of opponents' power plays.

In their 6-3 win in Game 1, the Senators were 2 for 6, but they got away with two failed attempts to score with a 5-on-3 advantage.

"We were better about creating more chances," Alfredsson said of Game 2. "Sometimes, it just doesn't go in -- it bounces just out of our reach for the rebound or sometimes it bounces on your stick.

"Overall, I think we had a good effort from just about everybody. Sometimes, the bounces didn't go our way. Even though we lost the game, we have something we can bring to the next game and keep building on."

The Senators' power play ranked better on the road in the regular season, tied for eighth at 18.8 percent. But the Penguins were more efficient at killing penalties at home, third in the NHL at 87.8 percent.

That makes special teams one of the emerging story lines this series.

"They did a real good job of checking, and Fleury made some big stops," Murray said. "It's not that we didn't have a number of chances. Either he made a big stop or our point shot was missing the net or getting blocked. That's what hockey is. There are nights when things go in for you, and there are nights when it goes for the other team.

"We had a lot of power-play chances, and we didn't capitalize. Bottom line is, that's the game."

And if the Penguins continue to kill penalties, it could be the difference in more games.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07105/778240-61.stm

X-Terminator
04-15-2007, 12:07 AM
Ottawa Notebook: No time to think much about loss in Game 2

Sunday, April 15, 2007
By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

OTTAWA -- The Penguins had two off days and all morning yesterday to think about their 6-3 loss to Ottawa in the first game of the teams' opening-round playoff series. They responded with a 4-3 win to tie the series.

The Senators have much less time to digest their loss yesterday.

It was just around 6 p.m. when the players talked to reporters about the loss.

It will be just around 6 p.m. when the teams face off for Game 3 today at Mellon Arena.

"There's no time to dwell on it," defenseman Tom Preissing said, looking at the clock and pointing out the 24-hour span.

Ottawa center Jason Spezza was more succinct.

"You deal with it the same way you would if we won," he said. "You think about the game for [last night], and then you've got to park it.

"When you play in back-to-back games, that's what you've got to do. You've got to move on."

Nothing spectacular

Spezza scored an important goal -- the Senators' first of the game, at 8:28 of the first period, to tie it -- when he backhanded in a short rebound of Daniel Alfredsson's shot.

Spezza didn't count it among his more spectacular accomplishments.

"There was a rebound sitting there," he said. "I just kind of whacked at it. A playoff type goal."

Rear-end collision

Ottawa forward/defenseman Christoph Schubert left the game at 9:18 of the first period after he collided with Penguins center Maxime Talbot at center ice and lay motionless for several seconds before being helped up.

Senators coach Bryan Murray immediately was incensed -- it was Schubert who tripped up Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin in Game 1 with a knee-on-knee move the Penguins thought could have caused an injury to Malkin -- but replays seemed to show that Schubert ran into Talbot, who bent over to avoid the blow. Schubert rolled over Talbot and landed on his back.

"I didn't see exactly what happened, but I was told Schubert ran into Talbot from behind," Murray said after the game.

Schubert did not return to the game and was listed as having a neck strain. It wasn't clear what his status is for today.

Early starts suit Alfredsson

If the series goes at least six games, three will be played at early start times -- Game 2 at 3:08 p.m. yesterday, Game 3 tonight at 6:08 and Game 6 at 1:08 p.m next Sunday at Mellon Arena.

That's just fine with Alfredsson.

"I like them," he said of earlier games.

"Restaurants are still open for dinner [afterward], and there's still some left of the day."

Yesterday was just the fourth daytime playoff game in the Senators' history.

Scratch that

Alfredsson said Friday that whichever team won Game 2 would have a lot of momentum going into Game 3 the next day.

Asked after the loss if that means the Penguins have an advantage, he smiled.

"I lied," he said.

Slap shots

The Senators are 2-2 in daytime playoff games. ... Ottawa has been in playoff games on back-to-back days three previous times and is a combined 3-4 after losing yesterday -- 1-3 on the first day, 2-1 on the second. ... The Senators are 11-34 in the playoffs when the opponent scores first. ... Ottawa scratched defenseman Lawrence Nycholat and wingers Brian McGrattan and Oleg Saprykin.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07105/778236-61.stm

X-Terminator
04-15-2007, 12:09 AM
Pens 4, Senators 3: Inside the Game

By The Tribune-Review
Sunday, April 15, 2007

Penguins breakdown

Hit of the game: A thousand choices here, but we'll go with Gary Roberts and Michel Ouellet double-teaming Senators defenseman Wade Redden deep in Ottawa's end and knocking him to the ice midway through the third period to set up Jordan Staal's game-tying goal. Ouellet got the first hit to keep the play alive. Roberts finished off Redden, allowing Ouellet to pass to Staal in the slot.

Turning point: Coach Michel Therrien's decision to put Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin together in the third period didn't pay immediate dividends -- the two were on the ice for an Ottawa goal on their first shift together -- but paid off handsomely when Malkin and Mark Recchi assisted on Crosby's spectacular game-winner at 11:44.

Numbers game: The Penguins set a tone early, with 19 first-period hits. They outhit the Senators, 37-32, for the game. ... The Penguins dominated the faceoff circle, winning 36 draws and losing 25. It was the first time in six meetings this season that the Penguins won the faceoff battle.

Highlight reel: Tic-tac-toe. Malkin started the winning play, passing to Recchi on the fly down the left wing. Recchi's pass to Crosby at the goal mouth never touched the ice, but Crosby deflected it with the shaft of his stick.

Save of the game: Fleury stuck out his left pad to stone Mike Fisher from point-blank range with 13.1 seconds left and the Penguins clinging to a 4-3 lead.


Three Stars

3. Sidney Crosby. How many guys bat that puck in?

2. Gary Roberts. Goal, assist, monster hit.

1. Marc-Andre Fleury. Pens outshot, 37-21.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_502849.html

X-Terminator
04-15-2007, 12:10 AM
Malkin assists on 2 of the Penguins' final 3 goals

By Rob Rossi
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, April 15, 2007

OTTAWA - The Senators' power play was nearly as quiet as Evgeni Malkin through two periods in Game 2 of this Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Malkin came to life in the third period, though. Ottawa's power play did not.

As a result, the Penguins, according to Senators coach Bryan Murray, "(did) what they wanted to do" and departed Canada's capital with a come-from-behind, 4-3 victory Saturday that secured them home-ice advantage.

"They didn't touch the puck for two periods," Murray said. "They had a great third period, though."

Malkin, a non-factor through five periods of this series, assisted on two of the Penguins' three late goals. The Penguins erased deficits of 2-1 and 3-2 over a game-time span of nine minutes and 40 seconds.

"We know, going in, they can strike quick. We don't underestimate them," Ottawa center Jason Spezza said. "We expect them to be good."

Malkin hardly played "good" in Game 1 or over the first 40 minutes in Game 2. He still has yet to record a shot in the series.

He and league-leading scorer Sidney Crosby struggled to find open space until Penguins coach Michel Therrien paired them on a line to start the third period yesterday.

From that point, the Penguins went from dormant to destructive.

"(Malkin) probably realizes that the message to us is to create more offense," Crosby said. "It does open up things for me."

That was evident on the Penguins' winning goal.

Malkin led a rush flanked by veteran ring Mark Recchi to his left. After a sharp feed to Recchi in the offensive zone, Malkin drew the attention of two Ottawa players, which allowed Crosby room to work towards the net.

Recchi delivered a pass that Crosby tipped behind Ottawa goalie Ray Emery with the shaft of his stick, and the Penguins owned a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

"The line was real good," Murray said of the Malkin-Crosby-Recchi unit. "I have to really give them credit."

Murray was far less impressed with an Ottawa power play that converted just 1-of-9 chances on the man-advantage.

"Our power play wasn't very good -- that's an understatement," Murray said.

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson tallied his club's lone power-play goal late in the second period to give Ottawa a 2-1 lead.

However, that goal was all the Senators could do to take advantage of the foul-happy Penguins.

Even though Alfredsson shrugged off Ottawa's poor power-play performance as a result of his club fielding "bad bounces and not getting any breaks," Murray credited the Penguins' penalty-kill units.

"They did a real good job of checking, and (goaltender Marc-Andre) Fleury made some good stops. Either he made a good stop or our point shot was missing the net," Murray said. "That's hockey. There are nights when stuff goes in for you, and there are times the other team does some good things."

A good thing for the Penguins was Malkin and Crosby, their two centerpiece stars, seemingly getting comfortable when their team most needed them.

"Their good players are good for a reason," Spezza said of Malkin and Crosby. "We have to shut them down, and it isn't going to be easy."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_502815.html

X-Terminator
04-15-2007, 12:10 AM
Those were Pens, Sens we know

By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, April 15, 2007

OTTAWA --

In their rollicking Game 1 victory four days ago, the Ottawa Senators looked like the greatest hockey team ever assembled.

By the end of the night, they were toying with the Penguins, taking gratuitous runs at everyone in sight. Some were saying this Ottawa team had no weakness.

The Penguins, obviously, knew better.

And if they didn't, they do now.

The Senators have at least two potentially fatal vulnerabilities.

One is their goaltender, Ray Emery, who's still looking for his first eye-popping save of the series. He sure didn't make any Saturday, when the Penguins scored four goals on 21 shots -- including three on 11 shots in the third period -- to grab a 4-3 victory and to even the series heading into Game 3 tonight at Mellon Arena.

It could be that Emery is suffering from too little work. The Penguins haven't kept him all that busy. But his series save percentage is a paltry .851.

At this point, you have to like the Penguins in the goaltending matchup. Marc-Andre Fleury was sublime yesterday, turning aside 34 shots, including a game-saving stop on Mike Fisher with 13.1 seconds left.

"I was one of the few who thought he played pretty well the other night, Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "I think he used (the widespread criticism) as motivation."

Ottawa's other dilemma is its ongoing struggle to win tight games. One might say this issue dates to 1997 or so, but let's focus on this season.

Let's focus on this series, where the Penguins' game-by-game mandate is clear: Keep it close and find a way to win.

The Senators are a great front-running team. You saw that in Game 1.

When they're good, they're very good. They won more games by three goals (24) than any team in the NHL this season.

When things don't come so easily, they're liable to invent ways to lose -- not that hyper-sensitive coach Bryan Murray is interested in dissecting that trend. Apparently, he doesn't even know it exists.

A reporter asked Murray after yesterday's game why his team has struggled so badly in one-goal games.

"Well, we haven't," he said. "This is one of the first ones. We're usually so far ahead that we don't have any worries."

He paused and added, "We haven't struggled that I know of in one-goal games, but you can do the research and find out."

OK, it won't take long.

The NHL stat sheet says the only team in the league with a lower winning percentage in one-goal games during the regular season was the Washington Capitals. Ottawa had a .313 winning percentage in one-goal games, going 10-13-9, or more accurately, 10-22.

Make that 10-23 after yesterday's game.

The Penguins, conversely, had a .568 winning percentage in one-goal games -- eighth-best in the league.

Nobody who watched the Penguins all season expected another pratfall.

The team we saw yesterday, which benefited greatly from the extra day off, was the team we saw all season -- a resilient bunch that can win even when it's outshot, 37-21, and falls behind in the third period.

"I don't think anyone was too worried or too nervous that we weren't going to bounce back," Orpik said. "We've done it all year long. The playoffs are a little different, but I don't think playoff hockey changes the character that we've had all year."

The character quotient increased exponentially when Gary Roberts came aboard. He's a guy you want on your team in close games.

Each time the Penguins neared death, Roberts brought them to life.

First, he tied the score, 2-2, at 2:04 of third, fending off bulky defenseman Anton Volchenkov in front of the net. Later, after Ottawa regained the lead, Roberts wrecked Wade Redden behind the net to set up Jordan Staal's game-tying goal.

"You can't help but follow when someone's playing like that," said Sidney Crosby, who scored the game-winner by redirecting Mark Recchi's airborne pass with the shaft of his stick.

Who knows where the series goes from here?

Ottawa's the deeper and more talented team, but its playoff ghosts were awakened yesterday. And unless ghosts know how to win tight games, that can't be a good thing for the Senators.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_502832.html

X-Terminator
04-15-2007, 12:12 AM
Roberts' leadership paying dividends for Pens

By Karen Price
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, April 15, 2007

OTTAWA - As the Feb. 27 trade deadline approached, there were two teams to which forward Gary Roberts wanted to be traded - the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Ottawa Senators.

Neither team bit, Penguins general manager Ray Shero made a pitch for the gritty veteran winger and won him over, and it's safe to say that's a turn of events Senators general manager John Muckler regrets right about now.

Roberts had a goal and an assist in the Penguins' come-from-behind, 4-3 win over the Senators in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Saturday to even the series, 1-1, heading to Pittsburgh.

He was a plus-1 and led both teams with seven hits, playing 18 shifts with 13 minutes of ice time.

"I've said all along that you can't help but follow when someone's playing like that," Crosby said. "He was banging bodies, putting the puck in the net and really doing everything in his power to make a huge difference in that game, and he did. When you see anybody lead by example, especially a veteran like that, I don't think you can help but follow and I think we all tried to follow that lead. There's no doubt he stepped up."

Laraque scratched

In a not-so-surprising move, Penguins coach Michel Therrien scratched right wing Georges Laraque for yesterday's Game 2 against the Ottawa Senators and inserted Ronald Petrovicky into the lineup in his place.

In Game 1, the Senators outplayed the Penguins physically and several players absorbed hits that Therrien later deemed dangerous, including one by Christoph Schubert on Evgeni Malkin that Therrien said Malkin was lucky to escape from without injury.

Laraque, who was acquired from the Phoenix Coyotes at the trade deadline to provide some muscle, played five shifts with just more than nine minutes of ice time and was a minus-1 with two hits and one giveaway that led to a goal.

Petrovicky played against the Senators in the Penguins' second-to-last game of the regular season. He played in only three games in the final 21 games of the season.

Generating offense

In the first two games of the series, the Penguins, who totaled the third-most goals of any team in the NHL during the regular season, have totaled seven goals on 47 shots. The Senators have scored nine goals on 74 shots.

Therrien: momentum to Penguins

The Penguins come back to Mellon Arena for Game 3 today and Game 4 on Tuesday. With 26 home wins during the regular season, the most since the team won 32 at home in 1995-96, it bodes well for the two games.

"I think we have momentum on our side right now," Therrien said. "We play solid at home and we have great fans. I know people in Ottawa were great for the Senators, but let me tell you something: What we expect (today) in Pittsburgh, I think it's going to be pretty unique."

Schubert injured

Senators defenseman Christoph Schubert was injured in the first period when he collided with Maxime Talbot in the neutral zone. He was diagnosed with a neck strain and did not return. Coach Bryan Murray said after the game that he didn't know about Schubert's availability for tonight's Game 3.

Other scratches

In addition to Laraque, the Penguins scratched forwards Chris Thorburn and Nils Ekman and defensemen Joel Kwiatkowski and Alain Nasreddine. The Senators scratched defenseman Lawrence Nycholat and forwards Brian McGrattan and Oleg Saprykin.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_502847.html

X-Terminator
04-15-2007, 12:13 AM
Pens-Sens: Outlook for Game 3

By The Tribune-Review
Sunday, April 15, 2007

Inside today's game

Game 3 - Penguins vs. Senators, 6:08 p.m. - FSN

Last game

The Penguins shook off a bad second period and came from behind twice in the third to escape with a 4-3 victory to even the series, 1-1. Gary Roberts, Jordan Staal and Sidney Crosby scored the third-period goals, and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made several key saves, including one on Mike Fisher with 13.1 seconds left. The Penguins shook off their Game 1 jitters and played a simple, effective game. They also scored first, which never hurts, and killed eight of nine Ottawa power plays. They didn't generate much offense in the first two periods but made up for it in a big way in the third.

What the Penguins need to do

Start fast, feed off the emotion at Mellon Arena and jump on an Ottawa team that could be reeling from a tough loss. Michel Therrien, with the final line change at home, should keep Crosby away from the Phillips-Volchenkov pairing as much as possible. Must keep throwing pucks at Ottawa goaltender Ray Emery -- assuming he's still between the pipes -- and bump him whenever possible. He hasn't made a great save yet. Also need to avoid foolish penalties with emotions running high.

What the Senators need to do

Get some big saves from Emery. Withstand an early flurry from the Penguins and continue to play the kind of hockey they've played for most of the first two games, with the exception of a rotten third period Saturday. Ottawa's game plan from the start was to pound the Penguins' defense. One loss shouldn't change that approach. The power play needs to start clicking. This team needs to find a way to win close games.

Expected line combinations

Penguins

Forwards

1. Malkin-Crosby-Recchi

2. Roberts-Staal-Ouellet

3. Malone-Talbot-Armstrong

4. Ruutu-Christensen-Petrovicky

Defensemen

1. Gonchar-Eaton

2. Orpik-Whitney

3. Melichar-Scuderi

Goalie

1. Fleury

Senators

Forwards

1. Heatley-Spezza-Alfredsson

2. Schaefer-Fisher-Comrie

3. Vermette-Kelly-Neil

4. Schubert-McAmmond-Eaves

Defensemen

1. Phillips-Volchenkov

2. Redden-Meszaros

3. Corvo-Preissing

Goalie

1. Emery

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_502851.html

X-Terminator
04-15-2007, 12:16 AM
Cook: Vintage Roberts huge in Game 2 victory

Sunday, April 15, 2007
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

OTTAWA -- Do you realize how easily it could have been goalie Marc-Andre Fleury who was tortured for a critical power-play goal by Gary Roberts yesterday? It could have been defenseman Brooks Orpik who was bumped into next week by Roberts as he set up another pivotal third-period goal. Roberts wanted to play for the Ottawa Senators, didn't he? He wanted to go to Toronto or Ottawa from Florida at the trade deadline in February so he could be closer to his daughter in Toronto. The Penguins weren't even in his wildest imagination, at least not until a couple of old pals -- Mario Lemieux and Mark Recchi -- called to talk up Pittsburgh and the Penguins' organization.

"Things happen for a reason," Roberts said early last night after playing a starring role in what he described as a "huge, huge" 4-3 Penguins' win against the Senators in Game 2 of their Stanley Cup playoff series.

"Obviously, I waived my no-trade clause to come to Pittsburgh. I'm thrilled that I did. I'm not complaining."

The Canadian media in a suffocating scrum around Roberts in a cramped runway of Scotiabank Place wanted to switch subjects and get him talking about how he added to his legend as a Senators' killer, but he had one more thought to offer before moving on.

"I don't think it could get much better than playing with Crosby, Malkin and Staal. ... Those guys keep me young."

There you go.

There's your explanation why Roberts, 40, plays as if he's 10 or even 15 years younger, especially at playoff time and especially when the Senators are the opponents. In three different seasons earlier in this decade, while playing for Toronto, he was the key figure in eliminating Ottawa. He had 10 goals and seven assists in 17 playoff games against the Senators.

"He knows that team really well," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said, grinning wickedly.

Knows how to break the Senators' hearts, anyway.

Roberts didn't finish 'em off this time, but he prevented the Senators from putting the Penguins in an awfully dangerous 0-2 hole. What do you think was more impressive? The way he pounced on the rebound of a Sergei Gonchar slapper and slammed a shot by goaltender Ray Emery to tie the score, 2-2, early in the third period? Or the way he knocked defenseman Wade Redden off the puck behind the Senators' net, allowing teammate Michel Ouellet to jump on it and feed Jordan Staal for the goal that produced a 3-3 tie? Who can say? How do you pick between your children? Each play was a thing of absolute beauty to the Penguins. Each was vintage Roberts.

"On the power play, obviously, it's my job to be in front of the net and try to get the puck to [Sidney] Crosby and [Evgeni] Malkin," Roberts said. "That's where I'm going to score my goals -- in front, on rebounds, battling away."

As for the Staal goal ...

"I was just trying to create something," Roberts said. "I saw the loose puck at Redden's feet and just tried to finish my check."

It's a funny game, hockey. Roberts played the first two periods on the Penguins' top line with Crosby and Colby Armstrong and didn't get a shot on net or come close to a scoring chance, mostly because that line was matched against the Senators' best defensive pairing of Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov. It wasn't until he was bumped down to the line with Staal and Ouellet that the ice opened for him.

"As we've always showed," Therrien said, "we're not afraid to shake things up."

A rotten second period, in which the Penguins took five penalties, were outshot, 19-5, and outscored, 2-0, forced Therrien to shuffle his lines in search of a spark. Crosby responded to playing with Malkin and Recchi, scoring the winning goal off a sweet centering pass from Recchi with about eight minutes left.

You might say Roberts also responded.

"He's a leader in the dressing room and, most importantly, on the ice," Therrien said. "He finds a way to make the big play ...

"He's been even more than I expected. You heard so many good things about him, but until you're around him and see his personality and how hard he works, you can't really appreciate it. He's like a big brother to those young kids. He's brought so much to them."

That would be Crosby, Malkin and Staal.

You know, the guys who keep Roberts young.

It's a good thing something is working for him because he's an old man -- relatively speaking, of course -- playing a brutally violent game. If he weren't so tough and in such great shape, he might not have gotten up from a blind-side hit from Senators winger Chris Neil after the whistle in the final minute. He clearly didn't appreciate it.

"I know who did it, that's for sure," Roberts said, matching Therrien wicked grin for wicked grin.

"It was a late hit, no doubt about it. That's all right, though. It's a long series."

The message was clear.

Neil and the Senators haven't heard the last from Roberts.

They probably should consider themselves warned.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07105/778237-87.stm

Petesburgh66
04-15-2007, 10:29 AM
I good care less about the anti-Leaf basher here, but you can see why Leaf fans could care less about Ottawa fans. They are classless in my books with the booing of superstar players. They do to Sundin and now Crosby. Stay classy, Ottawa you bunch of chokers. Try winning 13 cups first before running your mouths.

I hope the Penguins increase their level of play as you need to in the playoffs to advance. Nothing would be better to see those thin-skinned Sens fans to start their whine again. After game one, some of them already had the Stanley Cup parade already planned. lol

Prosdo
04-15-2007, 10:35 AM
The Pens are going to kick Ottawa's ass tonight. It was huge winning a game in Ottawa.

83-Steelers-43
04-15-2007, 10:38 AM
I'm glad to hear you "good care less", but Crosby receives the same type of treatment outside of Ottawa. Actually, the booing occurs in just about every city he enters. Philly and Montreal come to mind. So it's really nothing new....lol.

It doesn't really bother me. I look at it as a sign of respect and jealousy. Just my opinion.

83-Steelers-43
04-15-2007, 10:40 AM
It was huge winning a game in Ottawa.

Momentum is on our side. Short plane ride for the most part from Ottawa to Pittsburgh. I'm happy we are coming off a win and playing the day after. I wouldn't want a gap (two days off) and let the momentum slide. I would have to believe Ottawa would enjoy a few days off to regroup after what happened in game two. Much like we had after game one. Just a minor edge that might help us out in game three. :thumbsup:

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 11:02 AM
Momentum is on our side. Short plane ride for the most part from Ottawa to Pittsburgh. I'm happy we are coming off a win and playing the day after. I wouldn't want a gap (two days off) and let the momentum slide. I would have to believe Ottawa would enjoy a few days off to regroup and get ready after what happened in game two. Much like we had after game one. Just a minor edge that might help us out in game three. :thumbsup:

I absolutely agree with you on that one. It will definantly play to Pittsburgh's favor tonight when they play against the Senators tonight. Yesterday Ottawa could have ran away with the game, but the Penguins found ways to regroup. It's a good thing though that they're playing against the Sens in game 3 tonight rather then tomorrow.

polamalufan43
04-15-2007, 01:04 PM
I absolutely agree with you on that one. It will definantly play to Pittsburgh's favor tonight when they play against the Senators tonight. Yesterday Ottawa could have ran away with the game, but the Penguins found ways to regroup. It's a good thing though that they're playing against the Sens in game 3 tonight rather then tomorrow.

Yeah, there is a good advantage with that. I'm sad to say I couldn't really tell how the last few games where going to pan out at first. Oh well, I guess God was on our side...

~Polamalufan43:tt02:

Counselor
04-15-2007, 03:10 PM
Go Pens. I can't wait to see the crowd on TV---you'all better be loud! Wish I had tix--shout extra for me.

83-Steelers-43
04-15-2007, 03:26 PM
Go Pens. I can't wait to see the crowd on TV---you'all better be loud! Wish I had tix--shout extra for me.

Will do. :jammin:

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 03:31 PM
Here's to a win over the Ottawa Senators in game 3. :cheers:

polamalufan43
04-15-2007, 03:43 PM
Here's to a win over the Ottawa Senators in game 3. :cheers:

WOOT WOOT!!!!!
Let's go Pens!
~Polamalufan43:tt02:

HometownGal
04-15-2007, 04:29 PM
Go Pens. I can't wait to see the crowd on TV---you'all better be loud! Wish I had tix--shout extra for me.

Gotcha hon! :cheers: I'm off to lose my voice at the arena! I want to hear all of you Pens fans watching the game on the tube yelling so loud that we can hear you dahntahn!

Enjoy the game everyone!

LETS GO PENS! :banana:

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 06:20 PM
PLAYOFF PANDEMONIUM I LOVE IT IN PITTSBURGH!

GOAL BY ROBERTS 1-0 PENGUINS!

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 06:29 PM
Penalty Almost Killed. COME ON GUYS!

BettisFan
04-15-2007, 06:30 PM
we got this we are already beign really aggressive its great! fleury is on fire as normal!! My whole family in the burgh is there! go PENS!!!!!

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 06:37 PM
Busted the Power Play and have one of their own. LET'S GO!

BettisFan
04-15-2007, 06:39 PM
yea the senators have not capatalized on any of their power plays

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 06:40 PM
come on guys. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE POWER PLAY!

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 06:41 PM
yea the senators have not capatalized on any of their power plays

One more reason we are winning.

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 06:45 PM
Damn. we missed a Power Play Opportunity.

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 06:47 PM
BULLSHIT CALL! If a player crosses into the net it's a no goal.

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 07:15 PM
Have to ruin our fun huh refs?

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 07:19 PM
COME ON! KILL THE PENALTY!

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 07:21 PM
COME THE **** ON!

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 07:29 PM
Ottawa guy knocked out.

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 07:31 PM
Looks like he has some feeling.

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 07:32 PM
Come on guys minds back on hockey


Where's our offense. We need a goal.

LarryNJ
04-15-2007, 07:41 PM
That's good news that Eaves isn't seriously injured.


Now let's score a goal before the end of the period.

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 07:47 PM
WHAT THE HELL! COME THE **** ON!

LarryNJ
04-15-2007, 07:48 PM
This is beginning to look like game 1 ********

tony hipchest
04-15-2007, 07:59 PM
it seems fleury has been playing 3 feet off the net on every goal scored. hes just been caught out of position.

the penguins getting outshot almost 2:1 every game isnt helping either.

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 08:17 PM
it seems fleury has been playing 3 feet off the net on every goal scored. hes just been caught out of position.

the penguins getting outshot almost 2:1 every game isnt helping either.

Yep. Sure isn't.

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 08:23 PM
They're playing like the want lose this game.

BettisFan
04-15-2007, 08:53 PM
wow we played horrible tonight lets hope we can over coem this beacuse in 7 game series when the series has been ties 1-1 the team that won that has 66 percent of the time gone on to win the series

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 08:54 PM
Awful game. I hope I'll be providing luck for the Penguins at the game Tuesday. I finally get to see a game live again at the igloo.

HometownGal
04-15-2007, 10:02 PM
Tough loss for our Pens on home ice. Two goals just isn't going to cut it in the playoffs, unfortunately, and neither is an average of 6 shots on goal per period and not getting those crucial goals on the PP. Sid's goal was a work of art, as was Roberts' goal in the 1st period - that guy is amazing for a 40 year old. :thumbsup: Why was Laraque kept out of the lineup again? The Sens played yet another extremely physical game and though Armstrong, Talbot and yes - even Malkin tangoed with them, they need that brute physical presence that our heavyweight provides. Petro hasn't done jack in the two games he's played in place of Laraque imho.

Hopefully the Pens will step it up 10 notches in Game #4 on Tuesday. I never counted them out in the regular season and I'm not going to count them out now. Believe in yourselves guys - I sure do! :smile:

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 10:04 PM
Tough loss for our Pens on home ice. Two goals just isn't going to cut it in the playoffs, unfortunately, and neither is an average of 6 shots on goal per period and not getting those crucial goals on the PP. Sid's goal was a work of art, as was Roberts' goal in the 1st period - that guy is amazing for a 40 year old. :thumbsup: Why was Laraque kept out of the lineup again? The Sens played yet another extremely physical game and though Armstrong, Talbot and yes - even Malkin tangoed with them, they need that brute physical presence that our heavyweight provides. Petro hasn't done jack in the two games he's played in place of Laraque imho.

Hopefully the Pens will step it up 10 notches in Game #4 on Tuesday. I never counted them out in the regular season and I'm not going to count them out now. Believe in yourselves guys - I sure do! :smile:

I 100% agree Remember Pittsburgh, I said this yesterday, I'll say it again. When it comes to the Penguins winning this series.

DON'T STOP BELIEVING

Edman
04-15-2007, 10:35 PM
Disapponting loss today. It started out so promising.

Let's even it up again in Game 4. The may go to six or seven.

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 10:40 PM
Disapponting loss today. It started out so promising.

Let's even it up again in Game 4. The may go to six or seven.

I don't care if takes 6 or 7 games to win the series. As long as we win the series, That's what matters.

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 10:52 PM
Rob Rossi was remarking on one fan's comments about the fans being quiet.

For those of us who go on Tuesday, Let's be loud from start to finish. We're the greatest fans in all of hockey. Let's continue to support our team like the greatest fans in hockey.

SteelCityMan786
04-15-2007, 10:57 PM
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07105/778344-100.stm

Senators top Penguins, 4-2, in Game 3

Sunday, April 15, 2007
By Alan Robinson, The Associated Press

One day after allowing a victory to slip away on their home ice, the Ottawa Senators knew doing so again in Pittsburgh might cost them the series. It didn't happen.

Daniel Alfredsson scored twice during a second dominating Ottawa second period in as many days. The Senators made this lead stand, taking the Penguins' stars and its crowd out of the game for a 4-2 victory tonight in Game 3 of their first-round series at Mellon Arena.

The Senators seized back home-ice advantage -- they have as many as two home games remaining in the series -- by mostly controlling the Penguins' stars and getting two key goals from one of their own in Alfredsson.

Ottawa, rebounding from a 4-3 loss at home barely 24 hours before in which it twice squandered third-period leads, takes a 2-1 lead into Game 4 Tuesday night. Game 5 follows in Ottawa Thursday.

The Senators have been in control for all but 1 1/2 periods of the series, winning, 6-3, in Game 1. Only this time -- unlike Saturday, when the Penguins came back with three goals in the third period -- they have the victory and the series lead to prove it.

The Senators lost forward Patrick Eaves, taken off the ice on a stretcher after being leveled by an unpenalized Colby Armstrong hit with Ottawa up 3-1 midway through the second period. Eaves appeared to be knocked unconscious, but did not require hospitalization.

The game became visibly more physical after that, with several fights. Penguins rookie Evgeni Malkin even dropped the gloves to fight defenseman Chris Phillips late in the game.

What the Penguins didn't throw at the Senators was enough scoring chances. They were outshot 25-19 in the game and have been outshot 99-66 in the series. Sidney Crosby, the NHL scoring leader, had five shots, but didn't score until Ottawa had long since seized control, and Malkin didn't score on four shots.

Initially, the Penguins carried the momentum from their comeback Saturday into this game, getting a goal from longtime Senators agitator Gary Roberts with only 52 seconds gone. The goal made an already loud crowd for the Penguins' first home playoff game since May 19, 2001 louder still, and the Senators looked not very confident.

But the Senators got the tying goal late in the period when Dean McAmmond put in a rebound of Eaves' shot from the slot that goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stopped but couldn't control.

An instant after the puck crossed the goal line, an upended Tom Preissing tumbled into the net past Fleury, but the goal was allowed to stand.

That goal clearly energized the Senators and may have allowed them to control the second period much like they did in outshooting the Penguins 19-5 in Game 2.

The Senators, playing in a 10th consecutive NHL postseason but yet to reach the Stanley Cup finals, got the go-ahead goal early in the second. Joseph Corvo's shot from the left point deflected off Mike Fisher, allowing Mike Comrie to sweep the puck into the unattended side of the net with Fleury occupied on the other side.

Alfredsson's first goal came on a power play about five minutes later on a hard shot from the left wing circle to Fleury's short side. Alfredsson's third goal of the series came late in the period, just as a Penguins power play was ending, on a one-timer off McAmmond's pass to the left circle.

And, this time, the Senators didn't allow a third-period comeback, though Crosby scored another of his can-you-top-this goal with about five minutes remaining. Collecting Malkin's pass while sliding on his left side near the left circle, Crosby managed to steer the puck past Ray Emery for his third goal in as many games.

Notes: Malkin, the rookie of the year favorite, has no goals in the series. He ended with 85 points during the season, but has only four goals in his last 26 games. Malkin got his first shot on goal in the series midway through the first period. ... Senators D Christoph Schubert (neck) returned after missing most of Game 2. ... Roberts played in three winning playoff series against Ottawa while with Toronto from 2001-04.

Prosdo
04-15-2007, 11:21 PM
What a disappointing game. I thought for sure after that win against Ottawa at their house the Pens would come home and beat them again.

HometownGal
04-15-2007, 11:31 PM
Rob Rossi was remarking on one fan's comments about the fans being quiet.

For those of us who go on Tuesday, Let's be loud from start to finish. We're the greatest fans in all of hockey. Let's continue to support our team like the greatest fans in hockey.

I am literally hoarse from tonight's game - I'm a bit "rowdy" and especially during the playoffs. A lot of the fans in attendance tonight were teens or not much older and have never experienced a playoff game before, but I was a bit surprised that they weren't more supportive. I won't even mention some of the boneheaded comments I heard in our section alone. I came very close to engaging in a game of paper cup darts.

X-Terminator
04-15-2007, 11:37 PM
No %&%$$%&#$%$ comment.

On to game 4.

X-Terminator
04-15-2007, 11:59 PM
I'm glad that Eaves is OK, but it was a clean hit. Plain and simple. And it wasn't Comrie that Talbot fought, it was Dean McAmmond.

Senators' Eaves leaves game against Pens on stretcher

By The Associated Press
Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ottawa Senators forward Patrick Eaves was taken off the ice on a stretcher after being leveled by Colby Armstrong midway through the second period of Sunday's playoff game against Pittsburgh.

Eaves was carrying the puck around the net in the Pittsburgh end with Penguins defenseman Josef Melichar tugging at him when Armstrong came from the opposite direction and put a shoulder hit on him.

Eaves appeared to be knocked unconscious on the play, but was seen talking and moving his hands while he was leaving the ice. He was not taken to a hospital, and the Senators said only that he had a head injury ? almost certainly a concussion. His status for Game 4 on Tuesday was not certain, but a concussion would likely keep him out.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported Eaves having a concussion.

As doctors attended to Eaves on the ice, the Senators' Mike Comrie and the Penguins Maxime Talbot fought near center ice.

Armstrong was involved in two similar plays this season. On Oct. 14, Carolina forward Trevor Letowski was knocked unconscious and sustained a concussion when Armstrong put a blind-side hit on him in the Hurricanes' end.

Letowski, who also sustained facial cuts, missed nine games because of the concussion.

On Feb. 1, Armstrong put a hard hit on the Canadiens' Saku Koivu near the end boards but also wasn't penalized, though Montreal's Sheldon Souray immediately went after Armstrong. A day later, Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau labeled Armstrong's hit "a cheap shot."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_502924.html

X-Terminator
04-16-2007, 12:02 AM
Another second-period meltdown dooms Penguins

By Karen Price
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, April 15, 2007

When Penguins coach Michel Therrien isn't happy, he's not afraid to say it.

So, when the Penguins again made too many mistakes, were too inconsistent and couldn't generate enough offense against the Ottawa Senators in a 4-2 loss Sunday, Therrien didn't sugarcoat the situation.

"I'm concerned, there's no doubt," said Therrien, whose team trails, 2-1, in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series. "This is three games in a row we're not capable to play 60 minutes. We can't have concentration for 60 minutes. Yes, it's a concern."

Gary Roberts and Sidney Crosby scored the Penguins' only goals. Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson scored twice, and Dean McAmmond and Mike Comrie each added one.

For the third game in a row, Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury gave his team a chance to win, making 21 saves, and the Penguins failed to really test Emery, who allowed two goals on just 19 shots.

"To me, this performance is unacceptable from some guys," Therrien said. "Some guys, we haven't seen them yet. Some guys, I'm watching tape and they're on the ice, but they're not in the picture. Some guys are going to have to start to pick it up pretty badly."

Therrien didn't name names, but when asked about Evgeni Malkin directly, he said that the Russian rookie needs to be better.

"He's a young player, but he's got to learn," Therrien said. "He can't take bad penalties. ... Some guys have to be better."

With the Penguins playing their first playoff game at Mellon Arena in six years, the towel-waving crowd of 17,132 was on its feet from the start.

They were on Emery with taunts before the puck even dropped, and, to the delight of the deliriously excited masses, he responded by giving up a goal to Roberts just 52 seconds into the game.

It was all going well for the Penguins at that point.

But McAmmond scored his first goal of the series to tie it, 1-1, before the period was over. In the second, the Penguins fell apart, just as they did in the first two games.

First, Mike Comrie got behind coverage to knock in a puck that Fleury deflected to his right after a shot from Joe Corvo at the point. That gave the Senators a 2-1 lead.

Then, Malkin took a hooking penalty at 5:53, and Alfredsson scored his first goal of the night, short-side from the circle to Fleury's right, to make it 3-1 at 7:20.

Midway through the second period, the Penguins had only one shot on goal and eight for the game.

Still, they had the perfect chance to pull within one when Comrie took a bad penalty, holding Brooks Orpik behind the Penguins' net. But the Penguins' only shot of the power play was a wrist shot from Erik Christensen that Emery gloved in the first few seconds.

Just as the power play expired, Alfredsson struck again, one-timing a pass from McAmmond that beat Fleury again on the short-side from the right circle to make it 4-1 at 17:12.

"The second period, we weren't good at all, and that's been our story," said Penguins forward Mark Recchi, who had an assist on the second goal. "They outplayed us in the second, and that was the difference in the game. You can't get down like that and think you're going to come back all the time. For whatever reason, we're not playing 60 minutes."

The Penguins must win three of the next four games to advance. The next test is Tuesday at Mellon Arena.

"We're not concerned," Crosby said. "It's like I said after Game 1, if we'd played a full 60 minutes and were nowhere close, that's when we'd panic. But we have been better, and we have to bring better."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_502926.html

X-Terminator
04-16-2007, 12:05 AM
Ottawa's Alfredsson leader on, off the ice

Monday, April 16, 2007
By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

No matter how you twist the matchup, compare the teams, analyze the series, there is one thing Ottawa has that the Penguins don't.

That's a captain.

Although Sidney Crosby certainly seems destined to ascend to that role for the Penguins, Senators veteran winger Daniel Alfredsson is comfortable with the "C" on his sweater.

Not that he likes to talk about it publicly.

"I think my part is to lead by example, as always," said Alfredsson, who did that last night at Mellon Arena in a game in which the Senators could have been tired or tentative.

He had two goals to lead Ottawa to a 4-2 win in Game 3 of Ottawa's first-round Stanley Cup playoff series with the Penguins, giving the Senators a 2-1 lead in the series.

The victory came barely more than 24 hours after the Penguins won Game 2 in Ottawa, 4-3.

In that game, Alfredsson took aim at Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury with the hope of breaking a third-period tie, only to have his composite stick shatter after it apparently was cracked earlier. The Penguins shot right back down the ice, and Crosby scored the winning goal.

Alfredsson's linemate, Jason Spezza, said he saw in the two-night sequence the hand of the "hockey gods."

"Those stupid composite sticks cost us one the other night, and [last night] they helped us out with a couple of one-timers," Spezza said.

Alfredsson just smiled.

"I made the most of my chances, I guess," he said.

He scored on his only two shots of the game.

"Danny has a lot of big nights," Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said. "[Last night] in a game we had to bounce back, he was certainly the leader."

Alfredsson scored Ottawa's third goal last night when he whipped a shot from the left circle under Fleury.

"I was able to walk in and take my time," Alfredsson said.

His second of the game -- and his fifth point of the series to match Crosby as the high scorer -- came at 17:12 of the second period when he one-timed home a pass from Dean McAmmond. It gave Ottawa a 4-1 advantage.

"It was a great pass from Dean, and I had time to take aim," Alfredsson said.

If he sounds a bit blase, it's only because that's his public persona shining through. He can be funny and informative, but he doesn't offer a lot when talking about himself.

Murray said that belies Alfredsson's impact off the ice, which comes behind closed doors.

"I think he really gets in your face once in a while as an individual player," Murray said. "We have all kinds of leadership meetings during the year, and he comes in and he's not afraid to tell me what he thinks of practice or our team, how we should work.

"You won't see that on the ice. He's one of those people, I don't think he'd ever show anybody up."

Alfredsson was Ottawa's sixth-round draft pick in 1994 but certainly has surpassed whatever expectations come with being taken 133rd overall.

He is the only player who has appeared in all 82 games in 15 playoff series for the Senators. He is also the franchise leader in the playoffs in goals (32), assists (31) and points (63).

That hasn't been enough to get the Senators past the Eastern Conference finals, and that happened just once. The team has exited in the first or second round each of the other seasons dating to 1997.

But Alfredsson's presence is huge regardless of whether Ottawa is at even strength, on the power play or killing a penalty.

He had 87 points this season to surpass 700 in his career and was second in the NHL with a plus-minus rating of plus-42.

In the three playoff games against the Penguins, he is even in plus-minus, has made five hits and is averaging more than 20 minutes of ice time.

"He's a big part of our team," goaltender Ray Emery said. "He sacrifices a lot of his offensive abilities to be a complete player. So when he starts to bury it, it's good for the team, definitely, because when he sacrifices that much, he deserves the pat on the back."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07106/778435-61.stm

X-Terminator
04-16-2007, 12:07 AM
Young Penguins draw new generation of fans

Monday, April 16, 2007
By Robert Dvorchak, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

As a member of the new generation of hockey fans who have embraced the new generation of Penguins, Autumn Dubbs was perplexed at the excruciating pace of talks that finally produced a funding plan for a new arena that keeps her team in Pittsburgh.

"My generation has really fallen in love with this team and the players," said Miss Dubbs, 23, of Crafton. "I thought the politicians were trying to keep young people here. If they had moved to Kansas City, I'd have moved, too."

All of those frustrations have been smoothed over like the way a Zamboni resurfaces rutted ice. Yesterday, in the first playoff game in Pittsburgh since May 2001 and the first home playoff game of the post-Mario Lemieux era, Miss Dubbs and her mother, Linda, were among the standing-room-only crowd greeting the Penguins at Mellon Arena with thunderous, towel-waving adulation.

Having taxed her credit card a bit to procure a couple of playoff tickets on eBay, Miss Dubbs wore her Sidney Crosby T-shirt under her Marc-Andre Fleury jersey for the occasion. Her mom wore a Lemieux sweater. Together, they represented two generations attending their first playoff game, cheering for a common love.

"I'm so excited," said Miss Dubbs, a graduate of Point Park University. "The playoffs are much more intense. You feel like you're more a part of the game. It feels more personal."

And her mom had no troubling embracing the new breed of Penguins.

"The puppies are awesome," she chuckled.

The visceral connection between a team of young stars and its admirers had the raw energy to raise goose flesh even among old-timers as the Penguins returned home tied with the Ottawa Senators in the first round of a Stanley Cup playoff series. The decibel levels climbed higher when Gary Roberts, the oldest player on the team, scored a goal 52 seconds into the game.

The Penguins expected an energy boost from the crowd -- "It's going to be wild," said assistant coach Mike Yeo -- but that and home ice advantage weren't enough to lift the Penguins over Ottawa in a 4-2 loss last night. The Penguins trail, 2-1, in the best-of-seven series.

In truth, the throng straining its vocal cords at Mellon Arena, and watching on TV at taverns and taprooms, was a cross-section of Pittsburgh -- lifelong buyers of season tickets and graying baby boomers who came of age when the franchise was born four decades ago.

But there's an undeniable new level of energy freshening the Penguins by the infusion of fans who were in elementary school when the franchise was winning multiple Stanley Cups in the early 1990s. And as young as they are, they're still older than players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal, who are making the hockey world take notice even if none of them has reached his 21st birthday.

"Just as spring is all about new beginnings, this young team, and their arena-to-be, is a new beginning for Pittsburgh," said Sarah Hannity, a Point Park graduate who was drawn to the Penguins with her friends last year, when Mr. Crosby arrived. "They're just a great, exciting group of guys, and I think people would watch them even if they were playing croquet.

"Pens fans are the most loyal in the city. See how many people would support the Steelers this year if their record is as bad as the Pens' record was last year," she added.

It's not all that difficult to quantify. The team gets an energy boost when it plays in its domed 46-year-old civic auditorium, a place affectionately known as The Igloo. (It's also a place where rain leaks through the stainless steel roof onto the public address announcer, as it did last night.)

"You need that new generation of fans. They're terrific. They give us a shot in the arm every time we're on the ice," said Eddie Johnston, a Penguins executive who drafted Mr. Lemieux and now gets to see Mr. Crosby and company grow. "The whole city is buzzing."

Hockey fans around here have suffered through some lean years. Even last season, when the team got off to its worst start in franchise history, a fan in a Crosby jersey wore a bag over his head. Admittedly, hockey isn't for everybody. But there's always been a passion for the game among fans who combine blood-boiling emotion with a frozen surface.

In fact, the ardor for hockey here approaches the passion where the game was born, according to Georges Laraque, a Penguins player who grew up in Montreal and who played with the Edmonton Oilers in last year's Stanley Cup finals.

"It almost feels like you're playing for a Canadian team," Mr. Laraque said. "I compare it to Edmonton, where we had blue collar fans who work hard, know their hockey and appreciate hockey. I never thought I would see it. It's not like Toronto where the seats are filled with businessmen coming up in ties and stuff. This is more a blue collar crowd. They come to share with us. It's just awesome."

The support of young fans is one reason why the Penguins have the highest percentage of viewers in any U.S. market. Of all the baseball, basketball and hockey teams covered by the Fox Sports Net regions in the country, the Penguins are the highest rated team.

"It speaks to the appetite of the Western Pennsylvania sports enthusiast. There's nothing like winning to raise people's enthusiasm," said Steve Tello, senior vice president and general manager of FSN Pittsburgh.

Thus far in this series, the Penguins and Senators have been featured on FSN, the English and French language national stations in Canada, the U.S. network Versus and NBC.

"You get national and international exposure when you have a team that is this young and this good," Mr. Tello said.

Whether it's in a family living room or out in any sports bar in the area, Penguins fans gather to wear their garb and cheer on their team even when it's playing in hostile arenas on the road.

"They know we're watching," said Mike Oechslein, 21, of Bridgeville, out with a couple of friends who are students at the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University and have taken advantage of buying tickets at special rates for college students.

At the Pittsburgh Bottleshop Brew Pub and Cafe in Heidelburg last week, Brittany Vonda, 21, of Collier, admitted that her stomach was churning in the playoffs more than it did when she watched the Cup teams of the past.

"It's more exciting watching now that I know the game better. We're going to grow up with them," she said, wearing a No. 87 jersey.

Her companion, Joe Clarke, 24, also has been a Penguins fan for a long time.

"Our generation watched them win the Stanley Cup when they were young. We're hoping to experience the same thing that the Steelers did for a new generation," he said. "We're back to where we were."

With five plasma TV screens, the Pittsburgh Bottleshop draws a cross-section of fans. Coach Michel Therrien and his assistants have been known to drop in to unwind after games, so it was little surprise that every seat around the bar and every table was occupied for the first playoff game.

"A lot of people are pumped up for the playoffs," said manager Natalie Plescia. "It's crazy. They haven't been in the playoffs for a while. I hear everyone talking about it -- but especially the younger crowd."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07106/778419-61.stm

X-Terminator
04-16-2007, 12:11 AM
I heard those boos in the crowd tonight - many of them were in our section - and I was incensed and embarrassed. This city already has a hard enough time being taken seriously by many other cities, and they do that? Disgusting, and a complete lack of class and respect. Every time the Pens play a Canadian team, I sing right along with their anthem, and when I heard those boos, I sang it extra loud. F'ing retards.

Penguins Notebook: Small portion of crowd boos Canadian anthem

Monday, April 16, 2007
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The first big hit of Game 3 in the Penguins' first-round playoff series against Ottawa yesterday was recorded a few minutes before the opening faceoff.

And it was delivered squarely to the region's image.

With television audiences in the United States and Canada looking on, a smattering of fans in the standing-room crowd -- clearly blessed with more lung capacity than brain power -- took it upon themselves to boo portions of the Canadian anthem.

It was a stunning show of disrespect for a country that is one of this nation's closest allies, and was unlike anything that happened during the first two games of the series at Scotiabank Place, where the U.S. anthem was applauded on both occasions.

There was no immediate word on whether any of those fans who came across as equally clueless and classless bothered to consider how Canadians would react to their jeers. Canadians such as Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury, Gary Roberts and Jordan Staal, among others.

Minor-league impact

They may not always find the spotlight, but a core group of players groomed and nurtured in the Penguins' minor-league system played a key role in the team's run to the playoffs.

"The farm team is crucial," coach Michel Therrien said. "This is where you build your foundation. The core of that group has been brought up together. You need players who are ready to play in the NHL."

Therrien and assistant coach Mike Yeo were promoted from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League midway through last season, and many of the players grew up in their system. Any successful franchise must have a productive minor-league system, and the Penguins benefited from having high draft choices in the years between playoff appearances.

Players who were drafted and developed as Baby Penguins include Maxime Talbot, Michel Ouellet, Erik Christensen, Colby Armstrong, Ryan Whitney, Brooks Orpik, Rob Scuderi and Marc-Andre Fleury.

"One thing that's created at Wilkes-Barre is a winning environment," Yeo said. "It's an environment where you learn how to win and what it takes to be successful.

"A lot of guys we have in here are winners. That's why they're in the NHL."

It's a group that's still learning and adjusting to new experiences, but the feeling of togetherness has helped in times of adversity.

"It feels like a family that's been together for three years," Christensen said. "We know what to expect from each other."

Laraque scratched

Georges Laraque, acquired from Phoenix at the trade deadline to add grit and toughness, was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. Nothing was said to him directly -- he saw his name on the list of players who weren't dressing -- but Therrien made it clear he had expected Laraque to be more of a physical presence in Game 1.

"No comment," Laraque said yesterday. "I'm just happy we're winning."

With games on consecutive days in different cities, none of the starters attended yesterday's morning skate. The other participants were goalie Jocelyn Thibault, Alain Nasreddine, Nils Ekman, Chris Thorburn and Joel Kwiatkowski.

No place like home

While the home playoff opener figured to be memorable for all of the Penguins, it likely had meaning for forward Ryan Malone. He is the first Western Pennsylvania-trained player to play for the Penguins, and Wednesday became the first to appear in a playoff game for them.

Making his playoff debut obviously was a significant moment in his career, but doing it for his hometown team made it even more special.

"This is where every hockey player wants to be right now," Malone said. "To have an opportunity like this is great, and you don't want to take it for granted. You just want to go out there and enjoy the moment, give it everything you've got."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07106/778423-61.stm

X-Terminator
04-16-2007, 12:14 AM
Ottawa Notebook: Schubert rebounds from Game 2 collision

Monday, April 16, 2007
By Robert Dvorchak and Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Christoph Schubert wasn't a big scorer for Ottawa this season, getting eight goals and 17 assists in an average of a little more than 11 minutes per game, mostly on the fourth line.

If this were last season, Schubert probably would have sat out last night in Game 3 of the first-round series of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Penguins at Mellon Arena. But Schubert returned to the lineup a day after he was helped from the ice in the first period after he fell hard onto his back when he ran into Penguins center Maxime Talbot.

"A little bit of stiffness, but beyond that, he's OK," coach Bryan Murray said before the game, adding that he made the decision whether Schubert would play.

Schubert's value to the Senators has increased this season. He plays defense, primarily as a penalty-killer, and moves up to play left wing other times.

"Last year we looked at him as an extra part, and he played accordingly -- not many games," Murray said of Schubert, who had 10 points in 56 games as a rookie in 2005-06 and played sparingly in the playoffs with one assist in seven games.

This season, Ottawa made more room for Schubert.

"We wanted to get him in the lineup because he's a great skater and has a big shot," Murray said. "We played him a lot up front because of the numbers we had on the blue line. Now we find that he can play defense on [penalty-killing] during the game, and move up to left wing and fill in and be a physical player, but also to be a threat to score goals. Having that kind of guy, being able to grab an extra [defenseman] to play always helps us coaches if we have a penalty or if we have an injury during the game."

Schubert had no points in the series going into last night's game, but he got under the Penguins' skin in Game 1 with his physical play, including a knee-on-knee hit on forward Evgeni Malkin.

Lack of focus

Murray can look at a game statistics sheet and tell a lot about why the game turned out the way it did.

Take Game 2 of the Senators first-round playoff series, a 4-3 Penguins win.

The Penguins had an edge in physical play and in faceoffs, where Sidney Crosby was 11 of 14 and Talbot was 10 of 29.

"[It was] 32-37 in hits, and Crosby and Talbot dominated the faceoff circle," Murray said yesterday. "Focus. Just focus. To me, that's what it is. Just paying attention to your game."

Because he can't predict which team will do that better, Murray is not much of a prognosticator.

"Like I said to the guys -- I shouldn't say this -- I watched the first Islander-Buffalo game [a 4-1 Sabres win], and I said to myself, 'Buffalo will get through this series pretty quick.'

"Well, they lose [3-2 in Game 2]. Teams that don't pay attention to the game 100 percent have some problems. We had lots of scoring chances, lots of shots, lots of attempted shots, but not enough attention to it."

Keep it simple

The Senators had a team meeting at their hotel yesterday morning.

Murray's message was simple. As in, keep it simple.

"I think we were trying to overpower the puck at times rather than shoot the puck, hit the net, get some results from a rebound or a missed play, whatever it may be," he said of Game 1. "That was the whole theme of the meeting. Play your game, hit the net, allow the goaltender to make a mistake, get a rebound and put it back in."

Correct call

Murray said between Games 1 and 2 that this wouldn't be a sweep for the Senators, who won the opener.

The Penguins proved him correct by winning the second game.

"We knew going in it wasn't going to be four games for either team," Murray said. "It was going to be a competitive situation. We both ended up with 105 points."

Ottawa got the fourth seed with the first tiebreaker, victories.

Slap shots

Those who are playing regularly were excused from the Senators' morning skate with travel and the back-to-back games. ... Ottawa scratched defenseman Lawrence Nycholat and wingers Brian McGrattan and Oleg Saprykin, giving it the same lineup for all three games. ... Nearly 1,500 tickets remain for Game 5 Thursday at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07106/778429-61.stm

X-Terminator
04-16-2007, 12:15 AM
Senators' Alfredsson might beat Pens himself

By Rob Rossi
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, April 16, 2007

What a difference a day -- and a sturdy stick -- made for Daniel Alfredsson on Sunday.

Alfredsson scored two of his club's three buzz-killing second-period goals to help the Senators down the Penguins, 4-2, in Game 3 of an Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff series at Mellon Arena.

Ottawa leads the best-of-seven series, 2-1. Game 4 is scheduled for Tuesday night at Mellon Arena.

Alfredsson's take-charge performance last night came slightly more than 24 hours after a bad break cost Ottawa in Game 2.

Then, his stick snapped before he could connect on a shot deep in the Penguins' zone. Seconds later, Evgeni Malkin and Mark Recchi led a rush that resulted in Sidney Crosby's winning goal.

Alfredsson made sure the Penguins could make little use of home-ice advantage last night. In fact, he was solely responsible for silencing a sellout crowd that showed to see the Penguins' first home playoff game in six years.

"(Last night) was a game that we knew we had to bounce back and play well, and he was, certainly, a leader of that," Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said.

The Senators held a 2-1 lead in the second when Alfredsson, often criticized in Ottawa for the club's previous postseason failures, whipped two pucks past goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury during a game-time span of just less than 10 minutes.

Alfredsson beat Fleury to the short side on each goal -- impressive considering Fleury's quickness and athleticism.

Perhaps more impressive, though: Alfredsson's tallies seemed to take the life out of these usually difficult-to-deflate Penguins.

"He has been incredible this whole series the way he has taken charge," said Ottawa center Jason Spezza, Alfredsson's linemate.

Alfredsson has proven so incredible that Penguins fans likely left the game wondering whether faulty equipment was the only way to prevent Ottawa's captain from shooting down their formerly high-flying birds.

"I've had a lot of chances this series," Alfredsson said. "It's been nice."

Alfredsson has proven nasty to the Penguins' chances of advancing into the conference semifinals. He leads all Senators in scoring this series with three goals and five points.

His shoot-from-everywhere approach fueled Ottawa's dominating 6-3 victory in Game 1. Despite the stick mishap in Game 2, Alfredsson fired five shots on Fleury.

Alfredsson recorded only two shots last night, which lowered his per-game average to five for the series.

"One of the things I told myself was to shoot the puck," Alfredsson said. "The coaches are always on me to do that."

Alfredsson's teammates have chimed in on the subject, too.

"We harp on him to shoot the puck a lot, and we've been trying to get him the puck as much as we can," Spezza said. "He's been playing with such emotion that you just want to feed him."

Spezza was particularly pleased that Alfredsson's Game 3 heroics wiped the slate clean after that untimely stick snap the previous contest.

"The hockey gods were equaling things out," Spezza joked. "Those stupid composite sticks cost us one the other night, it was only right that tonight the hockey gods helped us out."

Given the way he has started this series, forgive the Penguins if they believe any additional help Alfredsson receives from the hockey gods is simply unfair.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_502948.html

X-Terminator
04-16-2007, 12:16 AM
Pens don't stick to simple plan

By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, April 16, 2007

The Penguins and Ottawa Senators reconvened Sunday evening at Mellon Arena, confronting yet another variable in their increasingly chippy Eastern Conference playoff series, that of the quick turnaround.

Already, we'd seen the Senators deal with a decade or so of playoff disappointment and playoff demons with an inspired effort in Game 1 and the Penguins transform themselves from a team of inexperienced playoff spectators into one with apparent serious playoff aspirations in Game 2.

Game 3 would reveal which team had enough left in the tank physically and emotionally to lace 'em up again before the equipment had a chance to dry.

This just in, that would be Ottawa.

The Senators' 4-2 triumph had enough kick to it to reclaim home-ice advantage and re-establish control of the series only hours after Ottawa had ceded both.

The Penguins have until Game 4 Tuesday night to recover, regroup and rebound.

Again.

Their plan for Game 3 seemed simple enough.

They were counting on a boost from the first postseason gathering Mellon Arena had hosted since May 19, 2001, to help keep the legs moving and intent on keeping it simple in an effort to aid decision-making and avoid mistakes.

Get it in, get it out.

Repeat as necessary.

"I think it's less tiring to play in the offensive zone than the defensive zone," Pens assistant coach Mike Yeo had said yesterday morning. "And I think it's less tiring to finish a check than it is to get hit."

The approach worked for all of 52 seconds.

That's how long it took for Gary Roberts to find the back of Ray Emery's net.

The Penguins spent the next 53:48 not scoring goals, until Sidney Crosby managed a relatively meaningless tally with 5:20 remaining.

They rarely even threatened in between.

Evgeni Malkin hit Emery in the shoulder from the high slot on a power play late in the first period, and Mark Recchi got a good look after a steal in the Senators' end late in the second.

And that was about it as far as the Penguins' quality scoring chances were concerned.

They know what they ought to be doing against Ottawa. The trick now is to do it for something resembling 60 minutes, which would be a first in the series.

"It's really just getting pucks deep," Pens winger Jordan Staal said. "It's not very difficult to chip the puck off the boards and go and crash (the net). We're getting away from that, and we gotta get back to it."

It sounds simple enough, but before any of that can happen, the Penguins' defensemen must hold up their end of the get-it-in, get-it-out equation.

"Our transition from the defensemen to the forwards, it's not there,' Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "You can't shoot the puck around the wall all the time. That should be your last option, and some guys, it seems, the only option they see is to shoot the puck around the wall."

The search for a quick fix can begin there.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_502949.html

X-Terminator
04-16-2007, 12:18 AM
Penguins' fans show Stanley Cup fever

By Kevin Gorman
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, April 16, 2007

The Stanley Cup playoffs returned to Pittsburgh on Sunday, accompanied by a life-size replica of the NHL's championship trophy.

Brian Bakowski spent six hours building his homemade Stanley Cup out of cardboard, duct tape and aluminum foil. The Pitt student adorned it with a Penguins logo and paraded it in Uptown bars and around Mellon Arena to welcome the playoffs back for the first time in six years.

"I've been to several playoff games, but this is the first Stanley Cup I've made," said Bakowski, 22, of Bethel Park, while the band The Clarks played under a tent near Gate One. "We're trying to build the atmosphere and get the fans excited. I just want to see the Pens win the Cup after so many years. I thought it would get everyone else involved. It's great for this city, for this team."

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl would be the first to agree, as he championed the Penguins' return to the playoffs and the economic impact it will have on the city.

Count the stubble-faced Ravenstahl, who visited Penguins owner Mario Lemieux's private luxury suite during the first intermission, among those who have playoff fever.

"I'm going to give it a shot," Ravenstahl said. "I'm a young guy, and this is a young team. What better way to show support than by growing a playoff beard?"

Hand-crafting your own Stanley Cup, perhaps? Nothing could dampen Bakowski's spirit before the game, not even after Mellon Arena event staffers warned that he couldn't take the Cup inside because it would obstruct the view of other fans, telling him, "You almost need another ticket."

Bakowski knew that was impossible, considering Game 3 of the Eastern Conference first-round series between the Penguins and Ottawa Senators drew a standing-room-only, sellout crowd of 17,132 at Mellon Arena.

The game, won by the Senators, 4-2, included at least one fan who was in diapers the last time the Penguins reached the postseason. Greg Rajchel, of Butler, celebrated the new arena deal that will keep the Penguins here for the next 30 years by bringing his 7-year-old son, Peyton, to his first Stanley Cup playoff game.

"It's outstanding," Rajchel said. "They'll stay in Pittsburgh, and he'll get to see them the rest of his life."

Dave Moore of Franklin Park felt the emotions inside Mellon Arena when the Penguins won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in the early 1990s and wanted to share the experience with his 11-year-old son, Dominic.

"It was unreal," Moore said. "I told Dominic, 'You've got to come, just to feel the playoff atmosphere, because it feels like the roof is going to come off.' It's the first game, but you can feel everybody getting jazzed about it."

When the lights came on 30 minutes before the first puck dropped at 6 p.m., fans started waving white towels and cheered heartily when the Penguins took the ice.

They chanted, "Let's Go Pens!" when the players were introduced. They even booed when Jeff Jimmerson sang "Oh, Canada" first - even though it's the national anthem of many Penguins players - and then taunted Ottawa goaltender Ray Emery. When Gary Roberts scored the first goal only 52 seconds into the game, tapping in a shot assisted by superstar Sidney Crosby, the crowd roared.

And when the video scoreboard showed shots of fans throughout Mellon Arena, one of them was Bakowski. Somehow, he and his Stanley Cup replica made it inside the building, hoping that the real thing would soon follow.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_502938.html

X-Terminator
04-16-2007, 12:19 AM
Senators 4, Penguins 3: Inside the game

By The Tribune-Review
Monday, April 16, 2007

THREE STARS

3. Ray Emery, Senators G. Welcome to the series

2. Daniel Alfredsson, Senators LW. Two goals

1. Dean McAmmond, Senators C. Gordie Howe Hat Trick - goal, assist, fight

HIT OF THE GAME

A scary moment occurred at 9:04 of the second period, when Penguins winger Colby Armstrong smashed into Senators forward Patrick Eaves on Eaves' wraparound attempt. Eaves lay motionless on the ice for several minutes -- even as teammate Dean McAmmond was fighting Maxime Talbot -- and was removed from the ice on a stretcher. He was not taken to the hospital but suffered a head injury and was kept out for precautionary reasons. The hit appeared to be clean. Armstrong was not penalized.

TURNING POINT

Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik got caught up ice, trying to keep the puck in the Senators' zone, and Ottawa's fourth line raced back and tied the score, 1-1, with 1:56 left in the first period. The goal deflated the Penguins and the crowd and set the stage for Ottawa's dominant second period.

NUMBERS GAME

Penguins center Evgeni Malkin recorded his first shot of the series at 10:09 of the first period. ... In the second periods of the first three games, Ottawa has outshot the Penguins, 44-18, and outscored them, 6-1, including 3-0 last night. ... Through two periods, the Senators had no giveaways, according to the official stat keepers. The Penguins had seven.

HIGHLIGHT REEL

Malkin fed a charging Crosby for a goal at 14:40 of the third period to cut Ottawa's lead to 4-2. Mark Recchi started the play with a soft breakout pass. Crosby cut down the center of the ice and shrugged off defenseman Anton Volechnkov to tip Malkin's pass into the net.

SAVE OF THE GAME

Ray Emery made his first big save of the series to keep the Penguins from taking a 2-0 lead midway through the first period. Sidney Crosby was flying down the right wing and labeled a shot for the far side, but Emery got his blocker out just in time.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_502934.html

X-Terminator
04-16-2007, 12:23 AM
A lot of intent there? You know, somebody needs to show Mr. Spezza the tape of Chris Neil's - that would be YOUR TEAMMATE, Mr. Spezza - hit on Chris Drury that sparked that huge brawl in Buffalo back in February. It was a carbon-copy of Armstrong's hit last night. Funny, I didn't hear you whining about it being a "dirty hit" back then. If you want to see a "dirty hit," look no further than your buddy and teammate, Christoph Schubert, who hit Scuderi FROM BEHIND. Kiss my ass, Jason.

Notebook: Pens' Armstrong knocks Senators' Eaves from game

Monday, April 16, 2007

? Ottawa right wing Patrick Eaves was taken from the ice on a stretcher after absorbing a hard hit from Colby Armstrong at 9:04 of the second period. He was not hospitalized but did not return to the game after sustaining a concussion. Eaves was battling for position with defenseman Josef Melichar to the right of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury when Armstrong lowered his shoulder to deliver the hit. It was the second time a hit from Armstrong resulted in a player leaving the ice on a stretcher. Carolina's Trevor Letowski suffered the same fate on Oct. 14. Armstrong was not called for a penalty on either hit. "You don't want to see anyone get hurt. I just hit him," Armstrong said. "I wasn't exactly sure where I caught him."

? Ottawa center Jason Spezza on the hit by Armstrong: "You realize who it was, and there was probably a lot of intent there," Spezza said. "The league has got to look at that." When asked if he considered Armstrong's hit "dirty," Spezza said, "You watched the play, you tell me."

? Ottawa defenseman Christoph Schubert was in the lineup after playing only 53 seconds in Game 2 following a collision with Penguins center Maxime Talbot. Schubert had been diagnosed with a neck strain.

? With a goal that tied the score in the first period, a fight against center Maxime Talbot and an assist on Daniel Alfredsson's second tally in the second period, Ottawa left wing Dean McAmmond needed less than 40 minutes to record a "Gordie Howe" hat trick. "I would have to look it up to see if that's my first one of those," McAmmond said. "I was just trying to do my part to help this team press on after a tough loss."

? Penguins coach Michel Therrien went back to the same forward lines he started in Game 2. The line of Jordan Staal-Talbot-Michel Ouellet started the game, and the other three were Gary Roberts-Sidney Crosby-Armstrong; Ryan Malone-Evgeni Malkin-Mark Recchi; and Jarkko Ruutu-Erik Christensen-Ronald Petrovicky.

? Right wing Georges Laraque was scratched for the second consecutive game. "No comment," Laraque said yesterday morning when asked if he was OK with the decision to bench him following Game 1 Wednesday. "I'd rather not say anything. I'm just happy we're winning." Laraque said he was not personally informed by Therrien that he wouldn't be playing in Game 2.

? The Penguins also scratched defensemen Joel Kwiatkowski and Alain Nasreddine and forwards Nils Ekman and Chris Thorburn. The Senators scratched defenseman Lawrence Nycholat and forwards Brian McGrattan and Oleg Saprykin.

? Malkin got his first shot of the series midway through the first period last night.

Digits

6 - Penguins players who went into yesterday's game with points in the first two games of the series.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/breaking/s_502953.html

X-Terminator
04-16-2007, 12:26 AM
Cook: Senators exploiting Penguins' weakness

Monday, April 16, 2007
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It would have been funny if it weren't so darned sad. First, Sergei Gonchar's skates went out from under him and he went tumbling to the Mellon Arena ice. Then, Mark Eaton went down after Gonchar knocked him over. And they're the Penguins' top defensive pairing! The next thing you knew, the Ottawa Senators' Joe Corvo was skating in alone on Marc-Andre Fleury last night. The Penguins' goaltender bailed out his defense that time by robbing Corvo, but he couldn't cover for all of the Penguins' many defensive liabilities. Ken Dryden probably wasn't that good. Those defensive shortcomings were the biggest reason the Penguins were 4-2 losers in pivotal Game 3 of their Stanley Cup playoff series.

It wasn't just the uncontested shots such as Corvo's or the one the Senators' Daniel Alfredsson scored on in the second period when Gonchar lost track of him. It was the Penguins' inability to get the puck out of their end. Their defensemen couldn't handle the Senators' relentless forecheck. They couldn't handle their speed. It frequently was as if the ice was tilted toward Fleury's end of the rink.

That has been a problem for three games.

Fleury was able to steal Game 2 for the Penguins in Ottawa Saturday afternoon with a terrific performance.

If he isn't able to steal at least a couple more, it's hard to like the Penguins' chances of climbing out of that 2-1 hole.

We probably shouldn't be surprised for multiple reasons.

Everyone has made a big deal about how the Penguins' young offensive stars -- Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal -- are breaking their NHL playoff maiden in this series. But it's also the first NHL postseason experience for most of the team's defensemen. This is all new to Ryan Whitney, Brooks Orpik, Rob Scuderi and Josef Melichar.

"That's the biggest thing," Penguins veteran winger Mark Recchi said. "It's a whole new pressure they're facing. That's a very fast team and they're on our defense quick. There's always that constant pressure."

But this goes beyond just experience.

Talent is a factor.

The Penguins' defense isn't as bad as it was last season when coach Michel Therrien, in his infamous rant not long after he took over the team, publicly suggested it was trying to be the worst defense in the league.

But it's not Stanley Cup-worthy, either.

Whitney and Orpik get passing grades. Each is a young player who will continue to get better. Gonchar has fabulous offensive ability, but he tends to be nonchalant at times on defense, as he was when Alfredsson got away from him. Eaton is a solid NHL defenseman, but he's not what he was early in the season because of serious wrist and knee injuries. Scuderi and Melichar are barely marginal, if that.

That's going to be a tough nut for the Penguins to crack before the end of this series.

It's one that general manager Ray Shero must address after the season.

"The transition from the defensemen to the forwards was not there," a clearly distressed Therrien acknowledged. "You can't shoot the puck around the wall all the time. That should be the last option."

The numbers are telling:

The Penguins had totals of 12, 10 and 12 shots after the first two periods of the three games. It's no coincidence that they trailed at that point in each game.

What good is all of that offensive talent if the defensemen can't get them the puck?

It's a shame because Senators goaltender Ray Emery looks eminently beatable. But the only way the Penguins are going to beat him is by testing him. They've done little of that in the three games, at least until the third periods when they have played desperation hockey and the Senators have sat on their leads. They have scored six of their nine goals in the series in the third period.

This is not a new problem. The Penguins were able to overcome it much of the season because of their marvelous top-end talent, their youth, their exuberance, their hard work and the system Therrien coaches.

But it's different in the playoffs. A good opponent is going to find a team's weakness. The Senators certainly have found the Penguins.' They've done a nice job of exposing it.

To steal from Therrien, it's a "recipe" for disaster for the Penguins.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07106/778421-87.stm

X-Terminator
04-16-2007, 12:28 AM
Collier: Penguins could use miracle at this point

Monday, April 16, 2007
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The first hockey playoff game in this town in six years started just after 6 p.m. yesterday, a rare burst of NHL dinner theatre, and when Game 3 of these Eastern Conference quarterfinals ended some three hours later, one truth stood out from 100 others.

The Penguins, so often throughout their history in need of a miracle, sometimes just to exist, are going to need another.

A miracle on ice.

Wait, is that taken?

The Ottawa Senators, maybe you've noticed, are generally superior to Ray Shero's overachieving flock, and even if these Penguins stretch this ordeal out to six or seven games, even if they win it -- one might say miraculously -- that judgment will stand.

A Game 7 would be interesting mostly from the standpoint that if the Penguins continue to curl into the fetal position offensively at the current rate, they'll get exactly five shots that night in Ottawa.

"You can't shoot the puck around the wall all the time," said Penguins coach Michel Therrien, battling an acute seethe. "That should be your last option. Some guys want to do that like they see that as their only option."

Others, the coach mentioned, don't appear in the picture when he watches tape, and yet he remembers putting them on the ice.

What do you figure, vampires?

Most of those would figure to be defenders, because the open ice in front of Marc-Andre Fleury looks suspiciously like the back lot at "March of the Penguins."

"He's been solid all the way through," Penguins rookie Jordan Staal said of Fleury, "even in the first game. We just haven't been there for him."

It is of little solace to the Penguins that the Senators, ahead, 2-1, are leading this series in just about every statistical category up to and including stretcher rides. The dynamics of exactly nothing changed when Colby Armstrong drove his shoulder into the skull of Patrick Eaves behind the Penguins' net in the second period. Ottawa coached Bryan Murray called it "a fair hit, a hockey hit," Eaves was wheeled off, and then Maxime Talbot and Ottawa's Dean McAmmond slugged each other stupid for about two minutes.

All that represented, aside from a snapshot of the shoddy process by which the Penguins were turning a 1-0 lead into a 4-1 deficit, was proof that Talbot and McAmmond probably wouldn't be turning up on Kiss Cam for the rest of the series.

The more salient issue remained the disparity in shots in the first three games of this hair-pull. When Daniel Alfredsson whipped a shot past spectating Sergei Gonchar for Ottawa's third goal, the Senators were outshooting the Penguins in this series, 89-52. That was with nearly half the game remaining.

After three fully formed episodes, Ottawa has ripped 99 shots on the net to the Penguins' 66. The Penguins had 26 in Game 1, 21 in Game 2, 19 last night.

"I think it's just a matter of getting the puck in deep," said Staal, who failed to get a single shot last night after scoring goals in the first two playoff games of his NHL life. "It's about getting the puck behind the net, behind the defense. We're not doing it right now and I don't know why.

"It's not very difficult to shoot the puck off the boards and go crash, but we're not doing that. That's what was going on in the second period. It's either just not there or it's too little, too late. Their 'D' is doing a good job of holding us up at the blue line, but we've got to start chipping it in."

From the first shift of this series, the Penguins have been making so many mistakes in their end and at center ice that any coherent offense is nearly impossible. Ottawa tied Game 3 on a goal that typified the Penguins' predicament. Fleury had just stoned Eaves' uncontested blast from 20 feet when traffic converged on him like four cars running a four-way stop. Brooks Orpik knocked Ottawa's Tom Preissing into the cage just as McAmmond swiped the biscuit passed the toppling goaltender.

"I guess," sighed Therrien when asked if that looked like a legitimate goal to him.

Didn't matter, there were three more where that came from.

You can pretend Game 4 will proceed as if all things are equal, but the truth is elsewhere. In this series, the Penguins are 0-2 when they really stink, and somehow 1-0 when they stink only enough that Senators outshoot them, 37-21, and hit the post about 17 times.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07106/778432-150.stm

HometownGal
04-16-2007, 09:58 AM
I heard those boos in the crowd tonight - many of them were in our section - and I was incensed and embarrassed. This city already has a hard enough time being taken seriously by many other cities, and they do that? Disgusting, and a complete lack of class and respect. Every time the Pens play a Canadian team, I sing right along with their anthem, and when I heard those boos, I sang it extra loud. F'ing retards.

Penguins Notebook: Small portion of crowd boos Canadian anthem

Monday, April 16, 2007
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The first big hit of Game 3 in the Penguins' first-round playoff series against Ottawa yesterday was recorded a few minutes before the opening faceoff.

And it was delivered squarely to the region's image.

With television audiences in the United States and Canada looking on, a smattering of fans in the standing-room crowd -- clearly blessed with more lung capacity than brain power -- took it upon themselves to boo portions of the Canadian anthem.

It was a stunning show of disrespect for a country that is one of this nation's closest allies, and was unlike anything that happened during the first two games of the series at Scotiabank Place, where the U.S. anthem was applauded on both occasions.

There was no immediate word on whether any of those fans who came across as equally clueless and classless bothered to consider how Canadians would react to their jeers. Canadians such as Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury, Gary Roberts and Jordan Staal, among others.

Minor-league impact

They may not always find the spotlight, but a core group of players groomed and nurtured in the Penguins' minor-league system played a key role in the team's run to the playoffs.

"The farm team is crucial," coach Michel Therrien said. "This is where you build your foundation. The core of that group has been brought up together. You need players who are ready to play in the NHL."

Therrien and assistant coach Mike Yeo were promoted from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League midway through last season, and many of the players grew up in their system. Any successful franchise must have a productive minor-league system, and the Penguins benefited from having high draft choices in the years between playoff appearances.

Players who were drafted and developed as Baby Penguins include Maxime Talbot, Michel Ouellet, Erik Christensen, Colby Armstrong, Ryan Whitney, Brooks Orpik, Rob Scuderi and Marc-Andre Fleury.

"One thing that's created at Wilkes-Barre is a winning environment," Yeo said. "It's an environment where you learn how to win and what it takes to be successful.

"A lot of guys we have in here are winners. That's why they're in the NHL."

It's a group that's still learning and adjusting to new experiences, but the feeling of togetherness has helped in times of adversity.

"It feels like a family that's been together for three years," Christensen said. "We know what to expect from each other."

Laraque scratched

Georges Laraque, acquired from Phoenix at the trade deadline to add grit and toughness, was a healthy scratch for the second consecutive game. Nothing was said to him directly -- he saw his name on the list of players who weren't dressing -- but Therrien made it clear he had expected Laraque to be more of a physical presence in Game 1.

"No comment," Laraque said yesterday. "I'm just happy we're winning."

With games on consecutive days in different cities, none of the starters attended yesterday's morning skate. The other participants were goalie Jocelyn Thibault, Alain Nasreddine, Nils Ekman, Chris Thorburn and Joel Kwiatkowski.




As you well know, XT, I sing the Canadian anthem, as well, being Canadian by birth. What a total lack of disrespect for all of the Canadian born Pens, as well as their coaches, the Sens fans in the crowd and yes - the Sens themselves. I was outraged and terribly embarassed. I can guarantee you that those who exhibited that behavior were more of the younger generation FWFs who didn't even know Pittsburgh had a hockey team before this season. The 4 that I saw in our section who were booing all looked to be under 20 years of age. Pitiful and pathetic don't even come close to the way I feel about that. :mad: :mad:

As for Laraque being a healthy scratch for the second game in a row, I totally disagree with Therrien's actions here. He only played for 5 minutes in Game 1 and that was towards the end of the game when we were down several goals - would Therrien have been pleased if he had taken a penalty and put the Sens back on the PP? Petrovicky hasn't done squat - put Laraque back in the lineup and let him do what he does best. Just knowing he is in the lineup may cause the Sens to think twice about cheap-shotting our guys. We need Sid, Army, Malkin and Max to concentrate on getting to the net, not defending themselves against brutal hits and cheap shots.

Prosdo
04-16-2007, 12:58 PM
As you well know, XT, I sing the Canadian anthem, as well, being Canadian by birth. What a total lack of disrespect for all of the Canadian born Pens, as well as their coaches, the Sens fans in the crowd and yes - the Sens themselves. I was outraged and terribly embarassed. I can guarantee you that those who exhibited that behavior were more of the younger generation FWFs who didn't even know Pittsburgh had a hockey team before this season. The 4 that I saw in our section who were booing all looked to be under 20 years of age. Pitiful and pathetic don't even come close to the way I feel about that. :mad: :mad:

Booing a country's national anthem is just ignorant. I know how I would feel if someone booed during the National Anthem. I am only 20 and it's rather embarrassing that people my age showed that lack of respect. I mean sure the Senators are from Canada, but so are a lot of our Penguins. Boo the players once they are on the ice, do not disrespect a country's anthem.

Counselor
04-16-2007, 02:02 PM
Um....

Do fans realize most of our team are still Canadian citizens? Do they realize they probably just offended Sidney Crosby?

Unbelievable and embarrassing and just plain ignorant.

SteelCityMan786
04-16-2007, 03:44 PM
As you well know, XT, I sing the Canadian anthem, as well, being Canadian by birth. What a total lack of disrespect for all of the Canadian born Pens, as well as their coaches, the Sens fans in the crowd and yes - the Sens themselves. I was outraged and terribly embarassed. I can guarantee you that those who exhibited that behavior were more of the younger generation FWFs who didn't even know Pittsburgh had a hockey team before this season. The 4 that I saw in our section who were booing all looked to be under 20 years of age. Pitiful and pathetic don't even come close to the way I feel about that. :mad: :mad:

I'd like their to be a reminder about respecting our neighbors to the North. I'm not a fan of any Canadian teams, but we owe respect to BOTH countries involved. NOT JUST OUR OWN. Those fans who booed the national anthem should be disgusted with themselves.
Some people in Canada aren't bad people. Some of which were VERY respectful of me and my family when were on the Canada Side of Niagara Falls.

Also do some people forget a couple of our own players are CANADIAN as HTG mentioned. From what I see, YES THEY DO.

Also what do the Senators fans think that since they're out of Canada(That is if they're from canada.) that they don't have to conduct themselves like the rest of us in America. When people younger then 20 are being like that, I feel pretty disrespected and they give a bad name to those of us who are younger then 20. I'm one of the few exceptions to that whole thing about Teenagers being trouble some people.

Bottom Line. I do not care whether you are Italian like me, Polish, English, German, whatever background you are by birth. You still owe respect to the countries. Don't boo during the national anthems. It's very inappropriate. ALSO, ACT YOUR AGE if you don't do so. My own cousin who is about 10 years old has more maturity then that. I didn't notice any watching the game at home. But this just drives me up a wall to hear stuff like this happend from those who were there at the game.

polamalufan43
04-16-2007, 03:54 PM
wow, biggest act of disrespect possible... I have absolutely nothing to say...

~Polamalufan43:tt02:

HometownGal
04-16-2007, 04:41 PM
I'd like their to be a reminder about respecting our neighbors to the North. I'm not a fan of any Canadian teams, but we owe respect to BOTH countries involved. NOT JUST OUR OWN. Those fans who booed the national anthem should be disgusted with themselves.
Some people in Canada aren't bad people. Some of which were VERY respectful of me and my family when were on the Canada Side of Niagara Falls.

Also do some people forget a couple of our own players are CANADIAN as HTG mentioned. From what I see, YES THEY DO.

Also what do the Senators fans think that since they're out of Canada(That is if they're from canada.) that they don't have to conduct themselves like the rest of us in America. When people younger then 20 are being like that, I feel pretty disrespected and they give a bad name to those of us who are younger then 20. I'm one of the few exceptions to that whole thing about Teenagers being trouble some people.

Bottom Line. I do not care whether you are Italian like me, Polish, English, German, whatever background you are by birth. You still owe respect to the countries. Don't boo during the national anthems. It's very inappropriate. ALSO, ACT YOUR AGE if you don't do so. My own cousin who is about 10 years old has more maturity then that. I didn't notice any watching the game at home. But this just drives me up a wall to hear stuff like this happend from those who were there at the game.

It was quite embarrassing to say the least, SCM. Not all teenagers are bad, not at all, but you are right - the douchebags who act like some of them did last night give you good kids a bad rap and it just isn't fair at all. You can betcha that if I see or hear anyone disrespect the Canadian anthem tomorrow night, I'm not gonna keep quiet (a warning to XT - LOL!). I think I'm going to smuggle in a few foil balls just in case. :wink02:

SteelCityMan786
04-16-2007, 04:59 PM
It was quite embarrassing to say the least, SCM. Not all teenagers are bad, not at all, but you are right - the douchebags who act like some of them did last night give you good kids a bad rap and it just isn't fair at all. You can betcha that if I see or hear anyone disrespect the Canadian anthem tomorrow night, I'm not gonna keep quiet (a warning to XT - LOL!). I think I'm going to smuggle in a few foil balls just in case. :wink02:

Definantly.

If anyone has a problem with any other country's National Anthem.

"Keep your thoughts to yourself."

It's as easy as that.

X-Terminator
04-17-2007, 12:10 AM
Penguins still looking for first complete game effort

By Karen Price
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The players in the Penguins dressing room may not have a whole lot of NHL playoff experience, but it doesn't take experience to understand the importance of tonight's Game 4 against the Ottawa Senators at Mellon Arena.

Win, and the Penguins tie the Eastern Conference first-round series, 2-2, going back to Ottawa for Game 5 on Thursday.

Lose, and they'll be looking at an unpleasant statistic: Of the 214 times a team has gone ahead 3-1 in a best-of-seven series, the trailing team has come back to win the series just 20 times, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

"I don't think it's panic, but I think everyone realizes you can't go down 3-1 to a team like this," defenseman Brooks Orpik said.

The Penguins did not practice Monday after playing back-to-back games in Ottawa on Saturday and Pittsburgh on Sunday.

After a team meeting in the afternoon, the players met with the media and repeated the same phrase uttered after Game 1's 6-3 loss and Game 2's 4-3, come-from-behind win: They have yet to play a full, 60-minute game.

"The intensity's there, but it's not there for 60 minutes, and that's when we run into trouble," said veteran forward Mark Recchi, who won the Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes last season. "We lose our focus for short periods of time, get it back and lose it again. That's not how you win games in the playoffs."

The Penguins have had a particularly great amount of trouble in the second period.

In the three games, they've been outscored, 6-1, in the second period and outshot, 44-18.

None of the players asked yesterday seemed to know why the middle period has caused them so much trouble.

"I'm sure if we did know we would fix it," winger Colby Armstrong said. "I think it's just focus and playing the way we can. We seem to come out flat in the second, and they seem to come out flying. We have to keep our focus."

During the regular season, the Penguins allowed more goals (92) and shots (913) in the second period than either the first (60 goals, 758 shots) or the third (82 goals, 759 shots) periods.

But the difference in goals scored in the second period (87) compared to the first (80) and third (92) periods wasn't nearly as great in the regular season as it has been during the three playoffs games. Shots were also spread out evenly during the regular season between the first (742), second (751) and third (781) periods.

"It seems like our second period just isn't there," Jordan Staal said.

Said Orpik, "The first period (of Game 3) we had so much momentum. I don't know why we came out like that in the second period. Even during the season, the second period was sometimes a problem for us. I can't really put my finger on the reason why."

The Penguins also have gotten into penalty trouble in the second period of these playoffs, taking 10 penalties to the Senators' six. The Senators scored on three of those second-period power plays, while the Penguins didn't score on any of theirs.

"We definitely have to find a way to keep our focus and discipline," veteran forward Gary Roberts said. "It's a physical series back and forth, and you're going to take hits, you're going to give out hits, and the key is to be more disciplined than them and stick to our game plan."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_503049.html

X-Terminator
04-17-2007, 12:11 AM
Pens' Armstrong forced to defend himself

By Karen Price
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Colby Armstrong readily admitted Monday that he plays hard, he plays an in-your-face style and he will try to finish his checks.

But Armstrong defended himself in the face of repeated questions about his hit Sunday on Ottawa Senators forward Patrick Eaves, saying that he's no head hunter.

"I'm not looking to go out there and hurt anyone, if that's what you guys are thinking," Armstrong said to reporters. "I mean, I just try to play the game hard and finish my checks like anyone else does. It was just a play where he came around the net, and I just tried to meet at the post and make a hit. You don't want to see anyone get hurt. Hopefully he's all right. But I have to play hard and play in-your-face."

Eaves, who suffered a concussion, was taken off the ice on a stretcher and was moving his hands as he was being wheeled off. He did not return to the game, but he did not go to the hospital and was walking around and talking to teammates afterward.

No penalty was called on the play.

Senators coach Bryan Murray told reporters after the game that he felt the hit was clean.

"I read all the articles when (Senators forward) Chris Neil hit (the Buffalo Sabres') Chris Drury (in February) and it was the same type of hit," Murray said. "It was a kid trying to make contact. (Eaves) had his head down a little bit. He got driven with the shoulder, that's part of hockey. I feel bad with (Eaves) getting hurt the way he did, and I know you'll write extensive articles about how tough Armstrong was and how that shouldn't be allowed, but we felt the same way when Neil hit Drury.

"It was a fair hit, a hockey hit and we live with it accordingly."

Eaves will not play tonight.

Penguins coach Michel Therrien, who also coached Armstrong in Wilkes-Barre, defended his forward.

"Colby's not a dirty player," Therrien said. "He's a hard-nosed kid. We saw a guy get hurt (Sunday), and nobody likes that. Players don't like it, coaches don't like it, fans don't like it. But sometimes it's going to happen, as long as it's fair and clean. That was a hard hit, yes, but Armstrong didn't want to hurt the guy. He just wanted to finish his check."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_503054.html

X-Terminator
04-17-2007, 12:13 AM
Senators' team defense frustrating Penguins

By Keith Barnes
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Ottawa Senators left wing Oleg Saprykin was a healthy scratch in the first three games of the playoff series against the Penguins. But with Patrick Eaves sidelined with concussion-like symptoms after being knocked out of Game 3 on a hit by Colby Armstrong, Saprykin will dress and see his first action tonight in Game 4.

"We've got guys who can step in and, in the playoffs, you see that all the time," Senators forward Chris Phillips said. "You've got depth, you've got guys in the minors coming up, and it just gives guys an opportunity to come in and be effective. You just look at it as fresh legs."

Eaves was knocked from the game with 9:04 to play in the second period. He was coming from behind the net and was being ridden by Penguins defenseman Josef Melichar when Armstrong hit him under the chin with his right shoulder. Eaves laid on the ice for several minutes and eventually was removed on a stretcher.

"I think we see it over and over again, and I do think it's an issue that the league has to address," Senators coach Bryan Murray said. "I know that guys don't try to bury people in that fashion; I think you try to knock people down. I don't think that Colby Armstrong tried to hit Patty Eaves and knock him out of the game."

Eaves averaged only 7:42 of ice time in the first two games but was a vital part of the Senators' checking line with Dean McAmmond and Christoph Schubert.

Losing Eaves does take away a key cog in what has been an efficient defensive attack. The Penguins have averaged only 22 shots per game, but their offense has been nonexistent in the first two periods of all three games as the Senators' checking lines have limited them to 5.3 and 6.0 shots in the first and second periods, respectively.

"It's work, it's play your position, move the puck, get the puck in the right position, get the puck in the right spot so you get a chance to forecheck," Murray said. "If you don't get it in right, (Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre) Fleury, in Game 2, handled the puck a fair amount at stages in the game and helped the defense a lot. If we keep the puck away from the goaltender and make the 'D' go back, we have a chance to get a forecheck and that's where the third and fourth line come into play a great deal."

Although the third and fourth lines have been setting the tone, those six players aren't the only ones getting involved in the physical confontations with the Penguins. Second-line center Mike Fisher leads all Senators forwards with 12 hits in three games. Captain Daniel Alfredsson, a player known more for finesse than physicality, has eight hits in the series, including four in Game 3.

"We're trying to do to them what teams have done to us in the past, and that's to frustrate you," Senators forward Jason Spezza said. "At times, we've gotten frustrated and then you turn the puck over, and it's in the back of your net. I think, with our offensive talent, if we can frustrate a team, we can get chances and put the puck in the net."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_503052.html

X-Terminator
04-17-2007, 12:15 AM
There's plenty of room for improvement in Game 4

By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Michel Therrien wasn't about to name names Monday, but he also wasn't backing off post-Game 3 indictment of still-anonymous Penguins who are "not in the picture" against the Ottawa Senators.

"When you don't see a guy in the play, that means he doesn't move his feet, that he doesn't make plays happen," Therrien said. "That means a lot of things. We've got some guys that so far have been a disappointment."

The Penguins have a 2-1 deficit to deal with as a result, and a looming Game 4 tonight that's "close" to a must-win situation, in the estimation of Sidney Crosby.

The Senators are good enough that the Penguins might be in the same predicament had they played as well as they're capable of through the first three games.

But, to a man, the Penguins maintain they haven't come close to doing so.

Yesterday was about correcting problems rather than identifying them.

Only seven Penguins players skated, but everyone attended an afternoon meeting that Therrien hopes will benefit some more than others.

"We show the game, and we break down the game, and we break down the periods," Therrien said of the routine. "That's part of the process that we have with that young club."

Evgeni Malkin, who has yet to score his first playoff goal, is one player Therrien has identified as being capable of producing more than he's shown.

But Malkin isn't alone.

His company includes:

? Sergei Gonchar: The bar is set higher for Gonchar than most because of his talent level and because of the way he emerged this season as the Penguins' best two-way defenseman. He has yet to reach it in this series. He also has yet to record an even-strength point.

? Mark Eaton: He blocked eight shots in Game 1, including two in succession while prone in the crease, but his game hasn't been the same since.

? Ryan Malone: Therrien went with Jarkko Ruutu in Malone's spot on a line with Malkin and Mark Recchi briefly at the outset of Game 3, perhaps in an effort to inspire Malone. He kills penalties with passion but ranks a team-worst minus-4 against Ottawa and has yet to register a point. Malone has battled inconsistency in his game before and bounced back to repay the Pens for their continued faith in him. Now would be a good time to do so again.

? Recchi: His effort is never questioned, but he's coming up empty as far as scoring goals is concerned. Recchi was snake-bitten in the stretch run, too. The Pens need him to bite back as well as provide leadership.

? The fourth line: Ruutu, Erik Christensen and either Ronald Petrovicky or Georges Laraque have all but disappeared. Ottawa's fourth line is thriving. The Pens' fourth line, no matter its configuration, has lost Therrien's trust.

"I don't think it's a matter of work ethic," Therrien said of the Penguins' struggles in this series. "I don't think it's a matter of will."

Nor is it a matter of merely breaking the glass and reuniting Crosby and Malkin in the event of an emergency such as the one the Pens are suddenly confronting.

Get the picture?

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_503044.html

X-Terminator
04-17-2007, 12:16 AM
Senators' Eaves to miss at least 1 game with head injury

By The Associated Press
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Ottawa forward Patrick Eaves, knocked out by a hard hit from Pittsburgh's Colby Armstrong on Sunday, will miss Game 4 of the teams' first-round playoff series Tuesday night.

While Eaves was not hospitalized, and could be seen congratulating teammates following their 4-2 victory in Game 3, he will be replaced for at least one game by Oleg Saprykin.

"He's a lot better today," Senators coach Bryan Murray said Monday. "He needs a little time, of course. A little headache, but beyond that, he's OK."

While the Senators haven't said if Eaves has a concussion, a brain injury caused by force that results in a loss of consciousness is by definition a concussion.

Armstrong wasn't penalized for delivering a hit to Eaves' head with his shoulder as Eaves carried the puck from behind the Penguins' net during the second period.

"I just try to play the game hard and finish my checks," Armstrong said. "It was a play where he came around the net and I just tried to meet (him) at the post and make a hit.

"Hopefully, he's all right. I have to play hard and play in their face. But I didn't mean to pinpoint on his head, I tried to hit the guy," he said.

The play, along with several others during the season, has raised anew the debate whether any blow to the head should be penalized.

Eaves became the second player to miss playing time with a head injury after being leveled by Armstrong this season. Carolina forward Trevor Letowski missed nine games with a concussion after Armstrong knocked him out with a blindside hit in Pittsburgh on Oct. 14.

Neither Eaves nor Letowski saw Armstrong coming until being hit. Letowski had just made a pass and was skating with his head turned.

While Ottawa forward Jason Spezza said the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Armstrong's hit on the 6-foot, 192-pound Eaves was dirty, Ottawa coach Bryan Murray called it "a hockey hit."

Murray scouts and prefers to sign players like Armstrong who aren't hesitant to throw their bodies around, even against bigger players. The Senators' willingness to do exactly that has made for a more physical series than expected between two of the NHL's top four scoring teams.

"Guys don't try to bury people in that fashion, you try to knock people down," Murray said. "I don't think Colby Armstrong tried to hit Patty Eaves and knock him out in the game. He wanted to get a big hit on him. But I do think something has to be done about guys who get hit in the head, whether it's our guy getting hit in the head or otherwise."

Penguins star Sidney Crosby's answer is to penalize all hits to the head.

"I don't think you can paint every hit with the same brush," Crosby said. "The guys leaving their feet, that's the biggest one. When a guy leaves his feet, he's definitely going for the guy's head. But when a guy's bent over, facing you with his head, there's nothing else you can hit."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_503095.html

X-Terminator
04-17-2007, 12:18 AM
Notebook: Therrien not blaming Pens' Fleury for loss

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

? Coach Michel Therrien is sticking by goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. After the Penguins' 4-2 Game 3 loss to the Senators on Sunday, Therrien was asked whether he was considering a goaltending change for Game 4. Therrien said no. Fleury, who was 40-16-9 in the regular season with a 2.83 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage, is 1-2 in the postseason with a 4.64 GAA, highest of the 16 starting playoff goalies, and a .869 save percentage. But Fleury's teammates have been quick to come to his defense. "He's been solid all the way through, even the first game," rookie Jordan Staal said. "We just weren't there for him. He's been great every single game and hopefully he can keep doing it."

? There's a chance forward Georges Laraque may be back in the lineup tonight. Therrien answered, "We'll see," when asked about the possibility.

? Part of the reason for the Penguins' trouble generating offense - they've been outscored, 13-9, and outshot, 99-66 - has been their lack of a transition game from the defensemen to the forwards. "You can't shoot the puck around the wall all the time," Therrien said. "That should be your last option. Some guys, that's the only option they see is to shoot the puck around the wall, so it's tough for the transition."

? Heading into Monday's games, Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson and Penguins center Sidney Crosby led the NHL in playoff scoring with five points each. Crosby's five points against the Senators in the three playoff games ties his total in the seven regular-season games he's played against the Senators in his career.

Digits

23.5 - Penguins' percentage on the power play in the postseason, good for third in the league.

22.2 - Senators' percentage on the power play in the postseason, good for fourth in the league.

77.8 - Penguins' percentage on the penalty kill, fourth-worst in the league.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_503045.html

X-Terminator
04-17-2007, 12:19 AM
Notebook: With 2-1 lead, Senators hard to stop

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

? Much has been made of Ottawa's postseason failures -- since 1997 the Senators are only 4-5 in first-round series -- but give them a 2-1 series lead and they are almost unbeatable. In six previous series, the Senators have held a 2-1 lead and been eliminated only once, in the 2002 opening round against Toronto. Ottawa lost Game 4 only twice when leading 2-1 -- in that series against the Maple Leafs and in 2003 against Philadelphia. The Senators beat the Flyers in six games and went to the conference finals.

? Daniel Alfredsson lost his scoring touch in the playoffs last season with only two goals in 10 games. Against the Penguins, he has three, including a pair in Sunday's 4-2 win at Mellon Arena, but it's not what he's done in the offensive zone that has most impressed the Senators' coaches. "We know that he gives up a little bit of the offensive opportunities that he would otherwise have to play as the leader of the hockey team and play at both ends of the rink," Senators coach Bryan Murray said. "During the year, time after time, if I wanted a checking line, I'd flip him on with (Mike) Fisher or (Chris) Kelly or whoever it might be, and I'd have a checking line."

? Alfredsson's toughness has shown. Not only does he have eight hits in the series, he has eight penalty minutes to lead the Senators. "I think I'm a better player this year, especially in the second half, than I was last year," Alfredsson said. "Even though I had more points last year, I think I played more consistent this year, and I just try to keep things simple for myself."

Digits

15 - Number of shots taken by Daniel Alfredsson in the first three games.

16 - Number of first period shots faced by Senators goaltender Ray Emery in the first three games.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_503055.html

X-Terminator
04-17-2007, 12:21 AM
Pens-Sens: Outlook for Game 4

By The Tribune-Review
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

INSIDE TONIGHT'S GAME

Game 4 - Ottawa Senators at Penguins, 7 p.m. - FSN Pittsburgh

Last game

The Senators coughed up the first goal just 52 seconds in but stayed patient and were gradually able to take the game over, scoring the next four goals in succession in a 4-2 triumph. Captain Daniel Alfredsson scored Ottawa's final two goals, but the comeback had been jump-started by a couple of crash-the-net-and-get-a-deflection efforts, the type that don't end up on anyone's highlight reel but always seem to prove critical come playoff time. The Senators outshot the Penguins, 25-19, for the game and 12-5 in the second period, when they snapped a 1-1 tie with three consecutive goals. Ottawa was 4-for-4 on penalty killing, and scored its fourth goal -- the dagger goal -- just as a penalty to Mike Comrie was expiring.

What the Penguins need to do

Find a way to get more pucks on Ottawa goalie Ray Emery, whose .864 save percentage suggests vulnerability. Before they can do that, the Penguins are going to have to achieve much more cohesion on their breakout and then make better decisions against a Senators' defensive corps that seems determined to stand them up at the Ottawa blue line. If the Penguins can find a way to get the puck deep in the Ottawa end consistently, they'll have a chance to establish their forecheck and their cycling game and build some offense from that. They also might draw a few more penalties, which might lead to a few more power-play goals (one of those would be more than they managed in Game 3).

What the Senators need to do

More of the same. They're getting offensive contributions from a variety of sources, and they've been the more dominant team, for the most part, on faceoffs and from a physical standpoint, which has helped dictate a territorial edge. Through 180 minutes of play, the Senators have trailed for just 50:55 and they've been ahead entering the third period in each game. One reason why is the Senators have enjoyed a profound edge in shots on goal (99-66). And while they've been robbed in spectacular fashion by Marc-Andre Fleury on several occasions, they've also managed to score a couple of ugly/soft goals when they've needed them. Those count, too.

Expected line combinations

Penguins

Forwards

1. Roberts-Crosby-Armstrong
2. Malone-Malkin-Recchi
3. Staal-Talbot-Ouellet
4. Ruutu-Christensen-Petrovicky

Defensemen

1. Gonchar-Eaton
2. Orpik-Whitney
3. Melichar-Scuderi

Goalie

Fleury

Senators

Forwards

1. Heatley-Spezza-Alfredsson
2. Schaefer-Fisher-Comrie
3. Kelly-Vermette-Neil
4. Schubert-McAmmond-Saprykin

Defensemen

1. Phillips-Volchenkov
2. Redden-Meszaros
3. Corvo-Preissing

Goalie

Emery

X-Terminator
04-17-2007, 12:24 AM
Ron Cook: Recchi knows what it takes to win

Tuesday, April 17, 2007
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ask any hockey player. He'll tell you the way it is. The greatest thing in his life -- other than faith and family, of course -- is the chance to play in a Stanley Cup playoff victory. The second-greatest thing is playing in a loss.

So it is for Mark Recchi.

"This time of year," the man said, "is why I play the game."

Things could be better for Recchi, sure. His Penguins trail the Ottawa Senators, 2-1, going into Game 4 tonight at Mellon Arena and haven't looked like the better team. But that hardly deters him. At 39, a veteran of 138 NHL postseason games and twice a member of Stanley Cup-winning clubs, he knows how quickly a series can turn. It took Recchi about two minutes after the Penguins' startling 6-3 loss in Game 1 to point out to his callow teammates how his Carolina Hurricanes lost their first two first-round playoff games to Montreal last year -- at home, no less -- and came back to win the series and, later, the Cup. It's a message he surely delivered to the boys again yesterday with the Penguins still stinging from their 4-2 spanking Sunday night.

But it's not just the chance to win another playoff game, another series, another Cup, that drives Recchi. It's the competition, the opportunity to measure himself against the best in his sport, in this case the Senators' Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza, Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov. You can't believe the high that produces in Recchi in spite of his age.

Or is it because of his age?

Recchi looks around and realizes how lucky he is. Sure, he sees ancient teammate Gary Roberts, 40. But mostly he sees Jordan Staal, 18, Sidney Crosby, 19, Evgeni Malkin, 20, Marc-Andre Fleury, 22. Almost all of his teammates from the Penguins' Cup-winning team in '91 -- man, that seems like a lifetime ago, doesn't it? -- are gone, probably wishing they could be in his skates about now. He and Jaromir Jagr are the last ones standing from that great championship team.

Maybe that explains why Recchi is approaching this series as if it could be his last, which probably is pretty wise the way the Senators have dominated. That he refuses to leave anything on the ice was evident late in Game 3 when his relentless backchecking prevented the Senators from getting an empty-net goal on three separate occasions. Maybe he didn't play with any less passion in '91 when Penguins voice Mike Lange started calling him "Wreckin' Ball" and turned him into something of a Pittsburgh sports icon. But he certainly isn't playing with any less now on those old wheels. No doubt about it, Crosby, Malkin and Staal can learn a lot from listening to Recchi talk about his playoff experiences. But they can learn a heck of a lot more from him by watching tape of that final minute.

"That's how you're supposed to play the game," Recchi said, offering a no-big-deal shrug.

Still, these playoffs came at just the right time for Recchi. He limped to the finish line of the regular season, in large part, because of a severe sinus infection, although he begged that his illness wouldn't be used as an excuse. He went 20 games without a goal despite playing mostly on the top line with Crosby and the top power-play unit.

First, Recchi lost his spot on the Crosby line. Then, he lost his power-play spot to Roberts. It was hard on him, a proud man with such a storied hockey past. But, as it turned out, it was pure torture on coach Michel Therrien.

"He seemed a little upset about having to make the changes," Recchi said. "We talked and I told him, 'Don't worry about me. I understand this.'

"It was inevitable because we needed a change. We were very flat 5-on-5 because I wasn't doing what I needed to do. It hurt because of Sid. I wanted him to win the scoring title. I knew I was letting him down. That really bothered me.

"But other than that, I was OK with it. I was bumped down with Staalsie, which isn't bad. Now, I'm with [Malkin]. Who's going to complain about that?

"I know the coach still has trust in me. He expects me to provide energy by being physical. He knows I'll be focused on defense."

It's true, all of it.

And guess where Therrien turned in the third period of Game 2 when the Penguins were perilously close to being swept into an 0-2 hole? That was Recchi with Malkin and Crosby on the top line, a unit that responded big-time when Crosby scored the winning goal off a sweet centering pass from Recchi. That also was Recchi on the top line late in Game 3. The Penguins got another sublime goal from Crosby, but it was too little, too late because the Senators had buried them with three second-period goals.

"Our intensity is there, but not for 60 minutes," Recchi said. "We'll lose focus for a short period of time, get it back, then lose it again. You can't have those lulls in playoff hockey. It's inexcusable at this point."

Spoken like a disgusted pro who knows exactly what it takes to win hockey games in April and beyond, and isn't seeing it.

Spoken like a man who doesn't want to take the uniform off for the last time this season.

Spoken mostly, though, like a guy who knows he might not get the chance to put one on again for another precious playoff game.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07107/778591-87.stm

X-Terminator
04-17-2007, 12:25 AM
Penguins in 'a desperate situation' for Game 4 tonight
Aware that they can't afford to fall behind 3-1 in series, tonight's game is almost a must-win

Tuesday, April 17, 2007
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Brooks Orpik wasn't a math major at Boston College -- he answered the most lofty of callings, communications -- but understands a little something about numbers.

Like how, even though the Penguins' first-round playoff series won't be over if they lose Game 4 to Ottawa tonight at Mellon Arena, their prospects for running off three victories in a row against the Senators would rival the odds of them winning the next Powerball jackpot.

"You look at it, you can't go down, 3-1," Orpik said yesterday. "Chances are that if you go down 3-1 against a team that good, you're not going to come back.

"You try to not look at the stats, the percentages of coming back. But I think everyone knows that against a team like that, you need a win [tonight]."

So technically, Game 4 doesn't qualify as a must-win for the Penguins. More like a must-win-if-you-want-to-be-realistic-about-it.

Perhaps nothing underscores the significance of this game like the Senators' record after Game 4 of previous series: They are 3-0 when they hold a 3-1 lead at that juncture, 1-4 when they are tied, 2-2.

Much as Ottawa coach Bryan Murray and his players have tried to separate themselves from their franchise's rancid playoff legacy, having this become a best-of-three could put excruciating pressure on a club that hasn't always handled it well.

Then again, the Senators' ability to exorcise their historical demons has no chance of becoming an issue unless the Penguins ratchet up their performance level. Significantly and quickly.

Play the way they did for most of the first three games, and they can start booking supersavers home for early next week.

"We have better," center Sidney Crosby said. "And we have to bring better."

No surprise there. Ottawa is one of the NHL's deepest and most talented teams and would have challenged -- if not overtaken -- Buffalo for first place in the overall standings if it hadn't stumbled through the first six weeks of the season.

"You know you're in for a heck of a battle when you play these guys," Penguins left winger Gary Roberts said. "I'm not surprised by how well they've played."

Much as they respect the Senators, though -- and could be forgiven if they were in near awe of Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson's work during the first three games -- the Penguins figure they've played a prominent role in how good Ottawa has looked so far.

"It's not really a matter of what they're doing," Orpik said. "It's a matter of what we're not doing."

The Penguins reviewed tape of their 4-2 loss in Game 3 during a team meeting yesterday, and Orpik came away feeling that "we pretty much dictated play the whole first and third periods."

The second period? Well, if the coaching staff is as details-oriented as it is reputed to be, every player probably had an air-sickness bag within easy reach.

"The second period just killed us again," Orpik said.

Roberts volunteered that "you're not going to play [only] 20 or 40 minutes real well and win" against an opponent with Ottawa's pedigree and personnel, and the outcomes of Games 1 and 3 reinforce that point.

Ottawa has been opportunistic throughout the series, adept at forcing mistakes and then exploiting them. The Penguins have been guilty of bad decisions and worse execution, and a lot of their errors get posted on the scoreboard immediately.

"In the playoffs, especially against a team like Ottawa that has a lot of dangerous players, if you give those guys opportunities, they're going to take advantage of them," Crosby said. "Unfortunately for us, we've made some big mistakes, and they've cost us."

Coach Michel Therrien attributed some of the Penguins' most grievous problems to lapses in focus -- "I don't think it's a matter of work ethic, I don't think it's a matter of will" -- and Orpik agreed.

"Everyone's working hard," he said. "Maybe not working smart."

That happens over the course of a season, sometimes at inopportune times. But something else happened during the 2006-07 season -- a 47-24-11 record -- that convinced the Penguins it's still a bit early to begin fine-tuning their concession speech.

"We didn't get 105 points for no reason," Orpik said. "I don't think it's any time to panic. But it's definitely a desperate situation."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07107/778594-61.stm

X-Terminator
04-17-2007, 12:28 AM
Penguins Notebook: Ottawa's Murray admires Armstrong's play

Tuesday, April 17, 2007
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Ottawa coach Bryan Murray sounds as if he's willing to put a price on Colby Armstrong's head.

If Armstrong ever becomes available as a free agent, anyway.

Armstrong has been a major irritant for the Senators in the first three games of their opening-round playoff series against the Penguins -- he knocked Patrick Eaves out of Game 3 Sunday with a wicked check, skated into goalie Ray Emery at least once and has played the body aggressively since the series began -- but Murray said yesterday he not only accepts Armstrong's play, but approves of it.

"The only guys you ever get mad at on the other team are the guys who try real hard and play real competitively, and Colby plays real competitively for them," Murray said. "When we're out scouting and looking for players, those are the guys we're looking for."

Armstrong reiterated yesterday that he was only looking to "finish my check" when he apparently caught Eaves not looking and laid him out with a shoulder to the chin.

"I just try to play the game hard and finish my checks, like anyone else does," Armstrong said. "You don't want to see anyone get hurt, so hopefully he's all right, but I have to play hard, play in-your-face."

Although Eaves -- the younger brother of former Penguins prospect Ben Eaves, Armstrong's one-time teammate in Wilkes-Barre -- was taken off the ice on a stretcher and will not play in Game 4 at 7:08 p.m. today at Mellon Arena, he appears to have suffered no major injuries.

Eaves' place in the lineup tonight will be taken by Oleg Saprykin, a virtual nonfactor for the Senators since being acquired from Phoenix at the trade deadline.

The Penguins picked up rugged winger Georges Laraque from the Coyotes the same day, and it's hardly out of the question that he'll play tonight.

Penguins coach Michel Therrien made no secret that he was disappointed that Laraque didn't have more of an impact -- literally -- in Game 1, and sat him the next two games. He was noncommittal about whether Laraque will dress tonight.

If he does play, no one should be surprised if Ottawa swing man Christoph Schubert turns up in his crosshairs. The Penguins believe Schubert threw out his left leg while closing in on Evgeni Malkin in Game 1 and made potentially devastating knee-to-knee contact, and he drove defenseman Rob Scuderi head-first into the glass with a hit from behind late in Game 3.

"Certainly, I didn't think it was a real good hit," Scuderi said. "And after I saw it [on tape], I thought it was even worse than I initially thought. But fortunately, I'm not seriously damaged."

Scuderi declined to say whether he felt the hit was worthy of a major penalty -- or even a one-game suspension -- and said he believes Schubert simply is fulfilling the role in which he has been placed.

"I think he's just doing what they want him to do," Scuderi said. "That's going to be his job."

Turnover issues

Therrien cited the Penguins' penchant for turning over the puck as the major reason they've been unable to develop an offense that generates consistent pressure.

"That's our biggest thing right now," he said. "The Senators are doing a great job forcing us to turn the puck over. This is where we have to be smarter, where we have to learn about being disciplined with the decisions we're going to make with the puck.

"When there is time to make plays, we have to make plays. ... When there is no play to be made, accept being patient and play [the puck] behind the defensemen."

Slap shots

The Penguins have lost Game 4 in seven consecutive series, although the past five times were on the road. ... The Penguins did not practice yesterday, opting to hold a team meeting. Only players who did not participate in Game 3, along with Jarkko Ruutu and Ronald Petrovicky, worked out on the ice, although Ryan Malone and Sergei Gonchar made brief appearances.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07107/778593-61.stm

X-Terminator
04-17-2007, 12:29 AM
Emery hasn't been team's soft spot

Tuesday, April 17, 2007
By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Three games into his team's opening-round playoff series with the Penguins, Ottawa goaltender Ray Emery hasn't jumped to the top of the statistical heap among NHL postseason teams.

Yet he is 2-1 for a team that is playing solid two-way hockey and can put the Penguins in a deep hole if it can win Game 4 tonight at Mellon Arena.

So much, at least to this point, for Emery being a vulnerability the Penguins needed to exploit in the series.

That was a popular theory after his performance in the regular season, when he was winless at 0-1-2 against the Penguins with a 3.17 goals-against average and an .824 save percentage. Less than a week before the playoffs began, he took the loss in a 3-2 game at home.

Emery is right with those who thought his play in those regular-season games was substandard.

"During the year, I didn't feel that strong about my performances" against the Penguins, he said. "I thought I couldn't do any worse than I did against them."

He disagrees with the part about it affecting him now.

"I don't think I lack confidence, and I don't think as a team we lack confidence."

Proof might have come over the weekend, when he got the win on the road Sunday in Game 3, 4-2, just 24 hours after giving up a couple of soft goals at home in the Penguins' comeback, 4-3 win in Game 2 in Ottawa.

"The second [game], I felt bad," Emery said. "I did everything I could, but they scored some timely goals and our effort kind of went for naught. But, for the most part, I think we've outplayed them.

"I always think with this team that, more often than not, we're going to score three or four goals. If the other team has a couple bursts throughout the game, as long as I can kind of keep it to a minimum, we're going to get our chances and bury most of them."

Observers might have said the same thing about the Penguins, whose 277 goals during the season were third in the Eastern Conference to Ottawa (288) and Buffalo (308).

But the Penguins' scoring chances have withered since the postseason started, thanks in large part to help Emery is getting from Senators skaters at all positions who are forechecking, backchecking and hitting with precision.

Getting that much help from his teammates comes with a price. He could give the Maytag repairman lessons in loneliness, especially in the first two periods.

He has faced fewer than 10 shots in seven of the nine periods. The Penguins are averaging just 11.3 shots in the first and second periods combined.

"It's tough," Emery said of the idle time. "Especially with the players that they have when they get a chance. It's not like they're hitting you in the stomach with their shots. They can pick some corners. It's more of a challenge for me. I've just got to stay on my toes."

In the series, Emery has an .864 save percentage and a 3.02 goals-against average despite facing an average of just 22 shots per game. That's a drop-off from the regular season, when he was 33-16-6 with a 2.47 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage, with five shutouts.

He won the starting job last fall after Dominik Hasek left for Detroit.

But he won over coach Bryan Murray a year ago. That's when Emery, a rookie, had to fill in during the playoffs for Hasek, who had a lingering injury.

"We kept thinking almost on a daily basis that that would be the day [Hasek returned]," Murray said. "I think it affected the room, but I don't know how much it affected Ray. He's a strong guy, and he probably handled it better than I did."

While everyone else wrung their hands and waited for Hasek to get better, Emery backstopped Ottawa to a five-game win against Tampa Bay in the first round. The Senators then fell to Buffalo in five games in the conference semifinals. Hasek never did return.

In his second playoff spring, Emery has toned down the combative tendencies that drew as much attention as anything else -- except, perhaps for the tattoos, hairdos and exotic pets.

All of that seems hidden so far this series but for the eye-popping diamond earrings that look bigger than Hines Ward's.

Emery's numbers this series are hardly as flashy, but he's getting the job done for Ottawa.

He even joined in the fun in Game 3, picking up an assist on a Daniel Alfredsson goal in the second period.

"It's all right," Emery said. "I'd rather let one less in, though."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07107/778635-61.stm

X-Terminator
04-17-2007, 12:31 AM
Senators Notebook: Eaves 'OK,' still out for Game 4

Tuesday, April 17, 2007
By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Winger Patrick Eaves was not at Mellon Arena when Ottawa practiced yesterday and will not play tonight in Game 4 of the opening-round playoff series against the Penguins at Mellon Arena, but coach Bryan Murray said Eaves' head injury is not serious.

"He still needs a little time," Murray said. "He's got a little headache, but he's OK."

Senators center Jason Spezza called the hit on Eaves by Penguins winger Colby Armstrong "dirty," but Murray said the third-period check Sunday that left Eaves motionless on the ice and required that he be taken off on a stretcher was within the rules.

It's the rules that Murray has a problem with. Eaves is one of several players who have missed games this season because of concussions and other head injuries sustained in games, sometimes because of what are considered clean hits.

"I do think it's an issue that the league has to address," he said. "I know that guys don't try to bury people in that fashion. I think you try to knock people down. I don't think Colby Armstrong tried to hit Patty Eaves and knock him out in the game. He wanted to get a big hit on him, though.

"I think that something has to be done about guys who get hit in the head, whether it be an Ottawa player doing the hitting or otherwise. I'm sure the league, after this year and after the attention that's been given to it, will address the issue."

Murray would like to see some sort of automatic penalty or other punishment for hitting an opponent in the head.

"If you mandate that you can't hit people in the head, then you get called for it whether you intended to or not," he said. "I don't think Colby meant to hurt Patty Eaves in that situation, but it happened and maybe if there were a league rule or policy, something then would be done about it."

Boo birds

Senators winger Mike Comrie, an Edmonton native, had never heard the Canadian anthem booed until some of the fans at Mellon Arena did so Sunday night, enough that they could clearly be heard.

"I think that they're just excited for the playoffs and they were trying to let their presence to be felt," he said. "I don't think it was disrespect."

He might not be so willing, then, to let them off the hook if they boo the Canadian anthem again tonight.

Close call

Someone suggested to center Dean McAmmond that he won his fight Sunday with Penguins center Maxime Talbot.

"I don't know. He came out of the gate pretty good and I took a few from him right off the bat," McAmmond said. "I wanted to see if he could just tire himself out and just tried to give some back to him."

The fight came after the hit on Eaves and while trainers and doctors were attending to him. McAmmond said he didn't see Armstrong's hit but got involved as a matter of responsibility.

"I turned around and I saw the scrum, so I just jumped in," he said.

Slap shots

Murray said Oleg Saprykin, who has not played in this series, will replace Eaves in the lineup. ... Ottawa had a little better attendance -- 12 skaters and backup goaltender Martin Gerber -- at its practice than the Penguins had. ... Going into last night's games, Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson and Penguins center Sidney Crosby were tied for the playoff lead with five points. ... Despite going 1 for 9 on the power play in Game 2, the Senators ranked fourth among playoff teams with a conversion rate of 22.2 percent. ... Ottawa ranked 14th in penalty killing at 76.5 percent, one slot behind the Penguins (77.8 percent).

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07107/778636-61.stm

X-Terminator
04-17-2007, 12:32 AM
FSN Pittsburgh criticized for lack of HD coverage

Tuesday, April 17, 2007
By Bob Smizik, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The inability of FSN Pittsburgh to carry any of the playoff games between the Penguins and Ottawa Senators in high definition brought a hail of criticism from viewers with HD sets.

FSN will carry as many as five first-round games. NBC already has carried one game in HD. If there is a sixth game, it will be on NBC in HD. Versus also is carrying some Penguins playoff games in HD, but those games are blacked out in Pittsburgh because of contractual commitments to FSN.

FSN executive producer Shawn McClintock provided this explanation.

"Everything runs through our facility in Houston. They have limited capacity. Additionally, it can be challenging to find an available truck on such short notice. With the quick turnaround, we could not pull it off for the first round.

"In the event the Penguins advance, we're making plans to cover as many games as we can in HD."

FSN likely will be limited to a maximum of three games in the second round. In all likelihood, NBC will take its allotted two and Versus will do the same.

McClintock emphasized FSN has a strong commitment to HD coverage of the Penguins and Pirates. He pointed out that FSN did 10 Penguins games in HD last season and 25 this season. It plans to do 35 next season. With the Pirates, FSN's high-definition coverage went from seven in 2005 to 27 last year and will go to 40 this season.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07107/778597-61.stm

HometownGal
04-17-2007, 07:59 AM
Folks - can we PLEASE not post articles on the same subject from different sources? One article on each topic is sufficient - thanks.

83-Steelers-43
04-17-2007, 11:11 AM
1) Colby Hit.

2) A few who were supposedly booing the Canadian National Anthem.

Savern had another Pens RT on last night. They had Bourque, Steigy and the Ottawa Senators play-by-play guy (really cool guy BTW).

On the Colby hit, all agreed that it was a clean hit and the Senators p-b-p guy was stressing that point more than anybody on the show. Eaves had his head down and Colby took advantage of the opportunity. Murray agreed. It's not the first time he's done that this season. Eitherway, if I'm Colby I'd keep my head up in game four...lol.

On the booing. Much like when Canadian fans have booed our National Anthem on a couple of occasions in the past (Bruins/Canadiens series a few years back) it's a few idiots in the crowd. All teams have them. It's a shame there isn't a law requiring an IQ test before some buy hockey tickets. If that was the case Philly would lose a hockey team. :wink02:

Savern brought up a very interesting point pertaining to the booing. He stated that he heard the reason why Penguin fans were booing was not because of the Canadian anthem, but because they were showing all the Ottawa players at the exact same time they were singing the Canadian anthem. Just something to think about. Eitherway, it's probably not the smartest idea. They might want to wait until the anthem is over before they show players of the opposing team? Just an idea.


Anyways, let's bounce back tonight and even this series up. It's not over until Ken Hitchc0ck sings! :cheers:

Prosdo
04-17-2007, 11:58 AM
I agree 83! Let's tie it up tonight!

83-Steelers-43
04-17-2007, 12:09 PM
Pens' Ekman will dress for tonight's playoff game

By Rob Rossi
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Nils Ekman will dress for the Penguins in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal playoff series, tonight. He will replace center Erik Christensen, who had not scored and was a minus-1 through the first three games.

Ottawa leads the series, 2-1. Game 4 is scheduled for 7 p.m., tonight.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_503161.html

83-Steelers-43
04-17-2007, 01:04 PM
I'm still trying to figure out what Therrien expects of Christensen while playing him on a 4th line.

Ryan Malone: Through the first three games he has 0 goals, 0 assists, 2 shots on goal and is a -2.

83-Steelers-43
04-17-2007, 02:37 PM
Yes, there is a calmer side to Therrien
By Scott Burnside
ESPN.com
Archive

PITTSBURGH -- If you went exclusively by reputation, you would assume Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien would leave Mellon Arena after Monday's practice, scream obscenities at some old ladies crossing the street, eat a handful of nails and wash them down with some diesel fuel.

The reality? Attending track and field practice for one of his children, family grocery shopping and then a quiet dinner together.

"Tonight's the first time [in a while] I get to do the little things with them," Therrien said of his children Charles, 13, and Elisabeth, 14. "You need a break from hockey. They give me the opportunity to have that break."

For a man who is a favorite to win the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year and who has his talented young Penguins in the postseason for the first time since 2001, it is this relationship with his children that has brought him the most satisfaction.

"That's the thing that I'm most proud of. Raising a family as a single dad with two kids," he told ESPN.com Monday.

They have been together for the past three years after Therrien launched, and ultimately won, a custody battle with his ex-wife, whose erratic behavior led to at least one altercation with Quebec police after an incident at Therrien's apartment where she allegedly assaulted him with her cell phone. He has said on a number of occasions he felt it was extremely important his children grow up with him.

"It's not easy for them, too," said Therrien, 43, who relies on a nanny to help out when he's on the road or working, but who is the sole care-giver when he's at home. "It's a demanding job [being an NHL coach], but they're very mature for their age."

Back in 1991, when current Atlanta Thrashers coach Bob Hartley got his first major junior coaching break in Laval, he needed someone to help out as an assistant. He also needed someone who would work cheaply, at about $100 a week.

"It was almost like a favor I was asking more than offering a job," Hartley recalled in a recent interview.

Owners suggested Hartley give the Montreal native a call and he did. It was the only call he made.

The two got along famously as did the Laval Titans. Playing in a rink dubbed "The House of Pain," Hartley and Therrien both established reputations as iron-willed, combustible coaches whose teams reflected their "if you can't beat 'em on the ice, beat 'em in the alley" sensibilities.

"We were always together," Hartley said of Therrien, who still helps out with Hartley's hockey camps in the summer.

Tough? Therrien was once suspended 10 games for punching an opposing coach in the nose in junior. One night in Atlanta, while coaching Montreal, he hurled all of the players' sticks onto the Philips Arena ice after local time keepers botched the timing of a game the Habs lost in overtime.

Is he as tough as he appears? Hartley laughed. "Oh yes. Michel Therrien does not send e-mails," Hartley said. "If he's got something to tell you, he's going to tell you right to your face."

When Hartley moved on, Therrien took over and eventually made his way to what many considered the prime coaching job in the NHL -- bench boss of the Montreal Canadiens.

Therrien took the Habs to the playoffs for the first time in three springs in 2002. The Habs upset favored Boston in the first round, then looked to be headed toward a berth in the Eastern Conference finals. But a much-publicized throat-slashing gesture at an official earned Therrien a bench penalty that allowed Carolina to come back and tie the series. Instead of an almost insurmountable 3-1 series lead for the Canadiens, they were deadlocked at two wins apiece and the Habs didn't win again.

When Montreal struggled out of the gate the following season, Therrien was fired. Therrien said it didn't cross his mind that he might not get another shot, but he is thankful one came along as quickly as it did. The Penguins organization swooped up the tough-as-nails Therrien to coach their AHL team in Wilkes-Barre in 2003-04 and he took the Baby Penguins to the Calder Cup final that season. In 2004-05, the team established a team record for points, and had an explosive 21-1-3 pace out of the gate before Therrien was brought up to clean up the mess that was the parent club last December.

He gave the big team a month, meeting with players, trying to work out some of the problems. Then he brought the hammer down.

"When I saw we were not capable of changing the mentality on what it takes to win, I decided to go hard because I wanted to make an impact," Therrien said. "Let's break it and fix it."

The sharp-tongued Therrien put the underachieving Penguins through boot camp-like workouts. There were push-ups and bag skates. Players had to do one-on-one drills against the boards. They were forced to drive from the suburbs to downtown, then change and take the team bus back to their suburban rink for practice. At one point, he suggested some of the players should give half their salaries back if they only played at half their worth.

"I heard plenty of stories about him in Wilkes-Barre so it kind of prepared me for last year," Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik said.

Well, sort of.

"I think everyone's first impression of him wasn't all that great a one when it came to his personality because he was so hard on us," Orpik admitted. "He really had to kind of put his foot down."

This season, it's not so much that Therrien has softened; "he's just as competitive," though perhaps he has changed his approach just slightly, Orpik said.

"I think the guys who were here last year appreciate it a bit more," Orpik added. "Maybe last year, we thought he was too hard for our liking. But when you take a step back, you saw where he was coming from and that he was doing it for our good in the long run."

When he finished the season at 14-29-8 and GM Craig Patrick was fired, it looked like Therrien would go out with the dishwater when a new GM was hired. Instead, ownership told Ray Shero he could have the GM job, but they didn't want a new coach. Whether it was to hedge his bets or not, Shero asked Therrien how he would feel about having former Montreal GM Andre Savard as one of his assistant coaches. Therrien agreed, even though Savard fired him in Montreal.

"He's well-prepared. He prepares his team very well," Savard said. "This year, what I think he's done very well, the few times when we've slipped, when the effort wasn't there, he adjusted really quick and the players adjusted really quick and they came back and we got right back on the right track. Because, early in the year, we could have side-tracked a little bit."

Sometimes teams need a drill sergeant to shake them out of their doldrums. But if you can't teach Xs and Os, especially to a young team, then all the bluster in the world won't save your job. Once again, defying the perception, Therrien has proven to be a gifted strategist.

Early in the season, when 18-year-old Jordan Staal was struggling, there were questions about the team's handling of the second overall pick in last summer's draft and whether he'd be better off back in junior. Yet, Therrien held fast to a plan the team's formulated plan for Staal. By the end of the season, Staal had blossomed into a dynamic two-way player who likely will end up on the rookie of the year ballot.

In recent days, Ottawa coach Bryan Murray praised Therrien's juggling of lines that resulted in a come-from-behind win in Game 2 in Ottawa.

Defenseman Rob Scuderi played for Therrien in Wilkes-Barre and acknowledged that players were surprised at first by his "very, very strict mentality."

"I think he's changed a bit in his approach," Scuderi said. "But you can't change who you are. In the end, he's a very stand-up guy. As long as he wants you to get better, I'm not sure how much more you can ask of a coach."

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/playoffs2007/columns/story?columnist=burnside_scott&id=2839780

Prosdo
04-17-2007, 11:13 PM
That game just ripped my heart out.

X-Terminator
04-18-2007, 12:33 AM
Penguins lose to Sens again, down 3-1 in series

By Karen Price
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Penguins' first trip to the playoffs since 2001 is on the verge of being over, just a week after it began.

Although the Penguins played better -- much better -- in Tuesday's 2-1 loss at Mellon Arena than they had in any of the three previous games against the Ottawa Senators, it wasn't enough.

With just over 10 minutes to go in the third period and the score tied, 1-1, Senators defenseman Anton Volchenkov blasted a shot from the high slot that beat goaltender Penguins Marc-Andre Fleury. It was the only puck to get past Fleury since a fluke goal from Jason Spezza on the power play just 3:25 into the game, but the Penguins couldn't answer.

The Senators have a 3-1 death grip on the Eastern Conference first-round series and can close it Thursday at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, only 20 teams out of 214 have come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-7 NHL playoff series.

"It's tough," Sidney Crosby said. "I think we have to be proud of the way we played, though. We can come in the room ... and look at ourselves in the mirror and look at the guy next to us and say we gave an honest effort and laid it out there. It's playoff hockey. You're not always going to come out with a win. But I think we showed them we're a tough team to play against when we want to and, moving forward, going into Ottawa, I think if we bring that game we give ourselves a chance."

Rookie Jordan Staal, 18, scored the Penguins' only goal. Fleury made 24 saves on 26 shots, and Senators goaltender Ray Emery stopped 23 of 24 shots.

"(Emery) was the difference," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said.

Therrien, who said his team looked comfortable for the first time in the series, went to his big threats early, starting Crosby on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Mark Recchi. It's a move he usually reserves for situations late in games when his team is trailing.

The trio generated a scoring chance on their first shift, but the Senators scored first, when an intended cross-ice pass from Spezza to Dany Heatley on the power play hit Staal's stick, went in the air and landed in the net.

Fleury never saw it.

"I knew (the puck was going across), it hit Staal's stick, and I just lost in the air," Fleury said. "It was the beginning of the game, and it was a tough start. But the guys didn't quit."

The second period - which was the Penguins' worst in each of the first three games - was when they started to put serious pressure on the Senators.

Staal tied the score with his third playoff goal at 8:08 of the middle period.

The play started when Gary Roberts leveled Wade Redden in the corner and got the puck to Staal, who found Michel Ouellet behind the Senators' net. Roberts went to the front and had the puck on his stick, but it was Staal who pulled in behind Roberts and knocked it in.

The Penguins dominated after that, outshooting the Senators, 13-4, in a period in which they'd been outshot, 44-18, and outscored, 6-1, in the first three games.

But they also had two power plays for the chance to go up 2-1 before the period ended, the first on a penalty to Chris Phillips and the second on one to Volchenkov, the Senators' top two defensemen.

They were blanked on both occasions, finishing 0 for 5.

"That's a pretty big problem right now," Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney said. "You get five chances, you have to get one. It's pretty disappointing. There's not much else to say besides that."

The Penguins need to win all three of the remaining games in the series, including two in Ottawa, to advance.

"You have to win the next game, that's the way you have to look at it," Crosby said. "You can't win three in one. You have to win the next game."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_503248.html

X-Terminator
04-18-2007, 12:41 AM
Pens' power play goes lame

By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Several hours before his team played its biggest game of the season, Penguins coach Michel Therrien posed the obvious question.

"We got our backs against the wall," Therrien said. "How are we going to react?"

Quite well, as it turned out. Just not well enough to win.

Blame the power play, even if Therrien and Sidney Crosby didn't want to after a 2-1 loss Tuesday night put the Penguins in a three-games-to-one hole.

It's true that not a single one of the Penguins' role players has found the net in this series. Scoring depth up front is one big difference between these teams.

Another is that the Penguins have four defensemen who contribute little or nothing offensively, while the Senators' defense has rung up 15 points in four games, including Anton Volchenkov's game-winning goal last night.

Volchenkov took a pass from Mike Comrie, who slipped Ryan Whitney's check behind the net, and beat Marc-Andre Fleury from the high slot at 9:12 of the third period.

On the Senators' first goal, just three minutes into the game, Mark Eaton was knocked off the puck by Chris Neil behind the net. That led to Jason Spezza's fluke power-play goal, which deflected high off Jordan Staal's stick and bounced behind Fleury.

But the real culprit in this loss -- in the series, actually - is the Penguins' suddenly lame power play. It's the main reason they are staring at elimination going into Game 5 Thursday night in Ottawa.

It went 0 for 5 last night and 0 for 9 in the two home games.

"You get five chances, you gotta get one," Whitney said.

The Penguins couldn't even get shots. Ottawa blocked several, and a few Penguins deflections sailed wide, but it's inexcusable that they failed to register a shot on their first two power plays and most of a third.

The power play is just 4 for 22 in the series, and two of those goals were meaningless at the end of Game 1. Therrien claimed he made adjustments going into Game 4. Hard to tell what they were.

Before the game, Whitney talked about what needed to be done.

"I think we're kind of being on the perimeter a little too much," he said. "We need to get guys in front, get some tips and get some dirty goals. That's the way it is in the playoffs from what I've seen so far. We just got to shoot the puck a little more and create some traffic."

It didn't work out that way, which made things fairly easy on Senators goalie Ray Emery. But give Emery credit, too, for making a few marvelous stops among his 23.

Two of his best came on power plays late in the second period, with the scored tied, 1-1. On one, Nils Ekman took a carom off the end boards and tried to stuff a shot past Emery, who stuck out his left pad just in time. A few minutes later, Whitney tried to jam a Crosby rebound past Emery.

Strangely, neither Therrien nor Crosby pinned the loss on the power play.

"The power play is a big reason why we're here," Therrien said. "Don't blame the power play."

Why not? That's where the big names are supposed to make the difference. In the Penguins' only victory in the series, Game 2, they went 2 for 3 on the power play.

"We had some chances," Crosby said. "I would have liked to have more, but we had our chances. I don't think you can look at (the power play) as a huge thing."

Oh yes, you can. The power play absolutely is the biggest reason the Penguins are here. They had the fifth-best percentage in the league this season.

This team played by far its best even-strength game of the series last night, but it's safe to say the Senators are the better team 5-on-5, which is why the Penguins' power play better come to life.

It's getting awfully late.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_503276.html

X-Terminator
04-18-2007, 12:43 AM
Senators 2, Penguins 1: Inside the Game

By The Tribune-Review
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Game 4 breakdown

Re-enforcements factor: The Penguins and Senators changed their lineups for Game 4, the Senators because winger Patrick Eaves was injured and the Penguins because coach Michel Therrien had presumably grown tired of not seeing center Erik Christensen in the picture.

Ottawa's Oleg Saprykin replaced Eaves and skated on the fourth line with Dean McAmmond and Christoph Schubert. The Pens put Nils Ekman in Christensen's place and skated Ekman with Maxime Talbot and Colby Armstrong. Ekman suffered an apparent hip injury in the third period.

Welcome to the series: The Penguins' previous fourth line of Christensen between Jarkko Ruutu and Ronald Petrovicky had fallen out of favor with Therrien. The new fourth line, initially comprised of Ruutu, Petrovicky and Ryan Malone, provided energy and physical play early. By the third period, Malone had earned time with Sidney Crosby and Mark Recchi.

Hit of the game: Penguins winger Gary Roberts glided in from the neutral zone, crossed the width of the ice and plastered Senators defenseman Wade Redden deep in the Ottawa end. That helped create a turnover, which led to the scramble that produced the goal that tied the score, 1-1 (Jordan Staal from Roberts and Michel Ouellet at 8:08 of the second period).

Honorable mention: Defenseman Brooks Orpik blasted Senators winger Mike Comrie in the Pens' end, which helped jump-start a breakout and kept the crowd emotionally charged in the minutes following the tying goal.

Save of the game: Senators winger Peter Schaefer got his stick on a backhand attempt by Staal from the slot that was whistling past goalie Ray Emery and may have given the Penguins a 2-1 lead moments after they'd tied the score.

Opportunities lost: The Penguins' five power-play opportunities came at the expense of Ottawa's top two defensemen. Chris Phillips was whistled three times and Anton Volchenkov twice. The Pens failed to convert with the man-advantage and with the Senators minus one of their top penalty-killers five consecutive times.

Turning point: Volchenkov's game-winning goal at 9:12 of the third period was fired from the high slot over Staal, who had gone down in an attempt to block the shot. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury never moved as the puck navigated through Staal's screen.

Break of the game: Ottawa's Jason Spezza was credited with the game's first goal at 3:25 of the first period when his centering pass from the half-wall deflected off the stick of Staal, over Fleury's shoulder, under the cross bar and into the net.


Three Stars

1. Ray Emery. The presumed weak link is one win from the second round.

2. Anton Volchenkov. Sometimes, getting it on net means everything.

3. Gary Roberts. A team with 19 more like him would never lose.

X-Terminator
04-18-2007, 12:45 AM
Sens' Eaves calls Arnstrong's hit 'part of hockey'

By Keith Barnes
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ottawa Senators forward Patrick Eaves had a terrible headache after being knocked unconscious and suffering a concussion from a hit by the Penguins' Colby Armstrong during the second period of Game 3 at Mellon Arena on Sunday.

He wasn't too groggy, however, to take a phone call from an unlikely source -- Armstrong.

"I talked to Colby, and I've kind of known him before and he's just a tough hockey player," Eaves said. "He called me, and we talked, and I really appreciate the gesture that he made, and it says a lot about him as a person."

Armstrong's crushing blow stirred controversy surrounding checks to an opponent's head.

"I just think it was a hard hockey play in the playoffs, and I'll be back before they know it," Eaves said. "I think people are trying to blow it out of proportion and trying to change the rules, but I don't think one rule can cover every hit like that."

Eaves tried a wraparound and came from behind the Penguins' net, where he was being ridden by defenseman Josef Melichar. That's when Armstrong targeted him.

"I was coming around the net and there was one 'D' on my hip and one 'D' out in front," Eaves said. "Then, Colby came down kind of in my blind spot. I wish I could have scored on the play, but unfortunately it didn't happen."

Eaves had his head down and was looking at the puck when Armstrong hit him under the chin with his right shoulder. The hit knocked Eaves unconscious for a brief amount of time, and, after a long delay, he was wheeled off the ice on a stretcher.

"It was a hard hit, and it's part of hockey, and it's unfortunate I got hurt out of it," Eaves said. "It's a contact sport, and people get hurt when people get hit and ... I was just happy about the way the team responded after I did get hit."

Eaves was replaced in the Game 4 lineup by Oleg Saprykin. Whether Eaves returns to the ice in the series is undetermined.

Said Eaves, "I'll be back as soon as I can."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_503242.html

X-Terminator
04-18-2007, 12:48 AM
Bob Smizik: Penguins' best effort just wasn't enough

Wednesday, April 18, 2007
By Bob Smizik, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It was a secret to no one that Game 4 of this Stanley Cup playoff matchup between the Penguins and the Ottawa Senators was of critical importance. The Penguins, down a game, were in desperate need of a victory. They needed to play well, They needed to seize energy from a passionate crowd.

It all started so well. Unlike the first game of this series played at Mellon Arena, the crowd came poised to help. They were passionate and they were smart.

The 17,132 who jammed the old building had the decency and good sense not to boo the Canadian national anthem, something a few jerks in the crowd two days earlier did. Maybe this crowd realized that -- duh! -- most of the Penguins, including Sidney Crosby, Mark Recchi and Marc-Andre Fleury, are Canadians and quite understandably might take exception to such stupid behavior.

This crowd did one other thing differently than the one at the first game: It didn't grow silent when the Penguins fell behind. Instead, the passion remained high even after the Senators scored on a fluke goal before the game was four minutes old. A centering pass off the stick of Jason Spezza, hit the stick of Jordan Staal, who was defending the area in front of the goal, and sailed past Fleury.

But for this game, though, the power of the crowd wasn't enough. Neither was the best performance of the series by the Penguins.

In a fiercely and well-played game, the Senators got a goal midway through the third period from defenseman Anton Volchenkov to win, 2-1, and take a 3-1 advantage in the best-of-seven series which resumes tomorrow night at Ottawa.

Obviously, the Penguins are in a desperate situation. They need to win three in a row against the Senators, with two of the games being played in Ottawa. If they require inspiration, they need only recall the final month of the season when they did beat the Senators three times, with two of those victories coming on the road.

It they are to make such a run, and it will be extremely difficult, at least they showed on the ice last night they are poised to make it. Unlike after their two earlier defeats, the Penguins weren't second-guessing their commitment. They had fretted ever since losing the third game Sunday about their lack of focus. They talked incessantly about the need to focus. For this game they were focused.

"Both teams played well," Sidney Crosby said. "It was a good game. You need a break to win playoff games. We didn't get a break."

Although they started slowly and allowed Ottawa to dominate early, eventually the Penguins took their cue from the pumped-up crowd and gained control of the game. The second period was their best of the playoffs. They scored on a goal by Jordan Staal, who threw a rebound past goalie Ray Emery, and dominated play. They outshot the Senators, 13-4.

That they took seriously their situation was indicated by their physical style of play. With veteran Gary Roberts playing possessed, and being criticized by Ottawa coach Bryan Murray for his aggressiveness, the Penguins outhit the Senators, 30-16.

Roberts was credited with nine hits.

But the unheralded Emery, a large question mark before the series and relatively untested before last night, countered what the Penguins did so well.

"He was the difference tonight," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "He made some crucial saves."

Emery was particularly masterful in the second period as he continually turned aside good scoring chances.

With the score tied after two periods and the Penguins clearly having the momentum, a chance a victory looked good.

But the Senators wouldn't have it.

"We found a way to rally and play the way we're supposed to in the third period," Murray said. "Then we got a goal from a player we don't expect to get one from."

Crosby said, "It was the next goal wins, and they got it."

Murray was critical of his team's play for most of the first two periods but was more than willing to credit to the Penguins.

"Pittsburgh played very, very strong," he said. "Their crowd rallied them. They got a lot of energy from their crowd.

"They played as hard as I've seen them play all year."

The Penguins' power play, their strength for much of the season, failed them. They were scoreless in five chances. On their first two power plays, they failed to put a shot on Emery.

But there was no disgrace in this defeat.

"Both teams played well," Therrien said. "It was a good game."

Just not quite good enough for the Penguins.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07108/778900-194.stm

X-Terminator
04-18-2007, 12:51 AM
Ron Cook: Feeling empty as the power play

Wednesday, April 18, 2007
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

You can argue this Penguins season will be remembered as an enormous success -- even if they exit the playoffs quietly in Game 5 at Ottawa tomorrow night -- and I won't argue. Only a fool would suggest otherwise and mama didn't raise no fool. We're talking about a young team that wasn't necessarily expected to make the playoffs, yet finished with 105 points, the second-best total in franchise history.

You can say the Penguins' playoff inexperience can't be discounted and I'll buy it. This is all new to most of them, even to their stars. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Marc-Andre Fleury will grow from the journey and be better players even if they end up hating the final destination.

But don't try telling me this series against Ottawa hasn't been a huge letdown.

Especially the 2-1 loss in Game 4 last night at Mellon Arena, a loss that put the Penguins on the edge of elimination and in desperate need of divine intervention.

This defeat hurt more than the first two combined because, for the first time in the series, the Penguins were the better team. "I thought it was the first time we felt comfortable in the playoffs," coach Michel Therrien said. Comfortable? The Penguins outhit the Senators; outplayed them, too. The Senators' first goal was a fluke, an own-goal charged to Staal when he somehow deflected Jason Spezza's routine centering pass behind Fleury, who played great again and deserved better.

It's a shame that ended up as the difference.

Even sadder is that the Penguins had a chance to win in spite of it.

One power-play goal probably would have made the difference.

One power-play goal that never came.

That's where this game was lost and where, if things continue to go Ottawa's way, the series will be lost. That the Penguins led the NHL with 94 power-play goals during the regular season was no accident. Their high-end talent is extraordinary. "The power play is a big reason we're here," Therrien said.

It's also the reason the series is such a bummer.

"We didn't show up there tonight," said point man Ryan Whitney, a key element of the unit.

The whole series, actually.

Only in Game 2 was the power play effective. Whitney and Gary Roberts scored goals. Not coincidentally, the Penguins won, 4-3.

Other than that, the power play has been abysmal. Yes, the Penguins scored twice on it late in Game 1, but only after the barn door long had been closed on their 6-3 defeat. They were 0 for 4 in the 4-2 loss in Game 3 at home Sunday and 0 for 5 last night.

Zero for nine on friendly ice just won't get it done.

"It's got to be the difference for us," winger Mark Recchi said. "We had better chances five on five tonight. The power play just wasn't as sharp as we need it to be."

This game was lost when the Senators took four consecutive penalties in the second period and the Penguins couldn't make them pay. They produced just three shots on Senators goaltender Ray Emery during those 8 minutes of man-advantage play, none very threatening. Malkin had the best chance after taking a beautiful centering pass from Roberts, but he shot right into Emery's chest.

Therrien gave credit to the Senators, to Emery in particular. "Emery was real good. He was the difference tonight." Emery was good, but leaving it at that is letting the Penguins off the hook too easily. They have world-class talent on their power play, especially on the first unit with Crosby, Malkin, Roberts, Whitney and Sergei Gonchar. To win, that group has to be productive. The Penguins still aren't quite good enough to beat the Senators five on five.

"They changed things up a little tonight," Recchi said. "They pressed more on the half-boards and didn't let guys hold the puck as long. We didn't adjust very well. We'll look at the tape and see what we have to do to be better in the next game."

It might be too late, now.

That's why it was a dispirited group in the Penguins' dressing room. Climbing out of a 3-1 hole will be almost impossible against such a quality opponent.

At least Crosby could lean on a soft shoulder for a little comfort. Mario Lemieux paid a visit after the game and offered some comforting words.

"Nah, he just wanted to make sure I had a meal. He was looking out for me," Crosby said.

Maybe that's really how the conversation went. Lemieux is Crosby's landlord at the Sewickley Heights mansion, you know? But it's also likely the great Lemieux told Crosby something on the order of, "Hang in there, kid. There are going to be better games ahead."

Sure, there will be for Crosby and the others.

But that doesn't ease the sting of this loss or this series.

It doesn't come close.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07108/778910-87.stm

X-Terminator
04-18-2007, 12:55 AM
Spezza: 'We want to bury [Penguins]'
A return for Game 6 not in Senators' plans

Wednesday, April 18, 2007
By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Both teams in the Ottawa-Penguins first-round playoff series got to sleep in their own beds last night.

It's a pretty safe bet the Senators had the more restful night after flying home following their 2-1 win at Mellon Arena that gave them a commanding, 3-1 lead.

Ottawa had an unlikely hero.

Defenseman Anton Volchenkov, who had one goal in the regular season, eight goals in 151 career NHL games and one in 35 career playoff games, broke a 1-1 tie with a slap shot from the top of the slot at 9:12 of the third period off of a feed from Mike Comrie.

"I don't score so much, so I was happy to score a big goal for this game," Volchenkov said with a thick Russian accent.

Game 5 comes at Scotiabank Place tomorrow night. The Senators would like to send the Penguins home alone rather than have to return Sunday for Game 6.

"We've got to digest this one. But definitely going into the next game we want to bury them," Senators center Jason Spezza said. "We don't want to have to come back here and give them life. When you get a team on the ropes, you want to try and knock them out."

That isn't the reputation Ottawa has carved for itself over the years.

The Senators have been playoff regulars since 1994, but they have not been playoff giants. They've bowed out in the first round five times, the second three times -- including last season -- and in 2003 advanced to the Eastern Conference final, where they lost to New Jersey in seven games.

They insist it is not a postseason past that haunts them.

"I know there's lots of commentary about the history, but this is a very different hockey team than I had last year. Very different," Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said. "We play different. We work different. We handle things better. We've talked about it.

"We went through something [a slow start] early in the year. We paid a price, but I think we're past that now. The history lessons are well learned, I hope and think, and we're just going to be calm and play."

One slice of history favors the Senators.

They have held a 3-1 edge in four playoff series and won them all, most recently last season when they took a 2-1 series lead against Tampa Bay, then won the next two.

"Going back to Ottawa being up 3-1 is a lot different than going back 2-2," Comrie said. "We know it's not over. We still have to play hard and realize Pittsburgh's not going to die. But we worked hard to get to 3-1."

Ottawa took it to the Penguins early. The 1-0 lead and 10-6 advantage in shots in the first period did not fully define the Senators' dominance.

Spezza got his second goal and fourth point of the series with a fluky power-play sequence at 3:25.

His centering pass caromed high off Penguins penalty-killer Jordan Staal and bounced past goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

"A nice little bounce," Spezza said, with a laugh. "Not the power-play play we worked on, but it's nice when they go in like that."

The Penguins turned the table in a fast-paced, high-octane second period, holding a 13-4 edge in shots -- thanks at least in part to four Penguins power plays -- and tying the game, 1-1, when Staal poked the puck in from a scrum in front of goaltender Ray Emery.

Whether it's a surprise goal from someone like Volchenkov or a few from the top line of Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley, Ottawa is looking for a defining blow tomorrow night that could be the start of a new page in its history.

"We're really playing for each other now," Spezza said. "We're playing with a purpose. We're playing the smartest we've probably played in a long time. We don't care if they're pretty or ugly. We just want to win games."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07108/778898-61.stm

X-Terminator
04-18-2007, 12:59 AM
This post has been edited due to repetitive content.

Penguins Playoff Notebook

Wednesday, April 18, 2007
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It's all new

Therrien feels the Penguins' lack of NHL playoff experience doesn't manifest itself only on the ice.

Some players, he said, have been struggled to deal with a variety of distractions during the first week of the Ottawa series. Among the culprits Therrien cited yesterday: Increased media attention.

The series has attracted national TV outlets and reporters from Canada and the United States, and local reporters who couldn't find Mellon Arena without assistance from the auto club have become regulars at practices and games.

"This is brand new for them, after the morning skate to see so many [media] people," Therrien said. "It's brand new for them, so they could lose their focus of little things like that."
[B]
Slap shots

There were no discernible boos during Jeff Jimerson's performance of the Canadian anthem, unlike Game 3, and respectful applause when it was over. ... There was a moment of silence before the game in recognition of the killings at Virginia Tech Monday, and the flags outside Mellon Arena are at half-staff. ... In addition to Christensen, the Penguins scratched forwards Chris Thorburn and Georges Laraque and defensemen Alain Nasreddine and Joel Kwiatkowski.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07108/778913-61.stm

X-Terminator
04-18-2007, 01:02 AM
Ditto this post.

Senators Notebook

Wednesday, April 18, 2007
By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Flexibility a must

Ottawa made several changes to its roster last offseason, losing prominent players such as goaltender Dominik Hasek, defenseman Zdeno Chara and winger Martin Havlat.

The Senators replaced them with players who have stepped into prominent roles, including goaltender Ray Emery and defensemen Joe Corvo and Tom Preissing.

The short-term effect was an 8-11-1 start to the season, but once the new and returning players sorted things out, the team took off. Ottawa was 27-7-8 in its final 42 games of the regular season to earn the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Coach Bryan Murray said that's the kind of cycle all teams face under the NHL salary cap and free agency.

"Obviously, in this day and age of hockey, you have to make changes on an annual basis, and we lost some good people," Murray said. "The replacements have played a nice role to this point in time."

He sees the Penguins, with their stable of young players, many still on their entry contract, as a team that will be tested by the cap.

"There's no question that teams like Pittsburgh are going to be facing a dilemma in a very short period time," Murray said. "They're only going to be able to pay so many players. The Buffalo Sabres will face it next year.

"Ottawa happened to be one of the first teams, if not the first team, to lose a number of quality players because of the salary cap. So you have to make changes. You hope you can add the right kind of character to your team to give it a little different look. I think we've done that.

"Whether you want to do that or not, it's going to be a requirement as you go forward in the National Hockey League."

For coaches, that means being flexible, but it also keeps them from getting stale.

"You have to be almost like a college coach where you have changeover every year and you've got to address that," Murray said. "But it's a great opportunity as well."

No regular practice

Ottawa did not have a full-team skate between Games 3 and 4, with 12 skaters and backup goaltender Martin Gerber participating in practice Monday and 14 skaters and both goaltenders taking part yesterday in the morning skate.

"What I was going to do [Monday] was practice, but, after two [games] in two nights, a very short period of time, I gave them an option," Murray said.

"This group has worked really hard in getting ready. What we've done is allowed them to skate in one of the two days, and I think most have done that."

The only player who did not skate with his teammates either day was top-line winger Dany Heatley.

Slap shots

Besides Eaves, the Senators scratched defenseman Lawrence Nycholat and winger Brian McGrattan.

X-Terminator
04-18-2007, 01:06 AM
Comrie has been catalyst for Senators

By Rob Rossi
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Captain Daniel Alfredsson has led the charge.

Goaltender Ray Emery has proven able when needed.

However, if the Ottawa Senators do eliminate the Penguins from these Stanley Cup playoffs -- a real possibility following a 2-1 victory in Game 4 at Mellon Arena that afforded them a commanding 3-1 series lead -- Mike Comrie will deserve due credit.

"Me, (Dany Heatley) and (Daniel Alfredsson) get a lot of the attention ... but (Comrie) has first-line skills," Ottawa center Jason Spezza said. "He's a Canadian guy that grew up wanting to win the Cup, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to help this team out."

In Game 1, Comrie delivered a crushing check to Evgeni Malkin in the opening minutes that set the tone for a 6-3 Ottawa victory.

In Game 3, Comrie scored the first of Ottawa's three second-period goals that paved the way for a 4-2 win.

Last night, Comrie stunned a sellout crowd, and presumably defenseman Ryan Whitney, with a slick move to avoid a check before delivering a perfect pass to Anton Volchenkov, who buried a shot behind goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury for the winning goal at 9:12 of the third period.

Ottawa coach Bryan Murray described Comrie's assist as "simply a great play down low."

As teammates figured he would, Comrie downplayed his contribution.

"It was just a cycle down low -- that's all," Comrie said. "(Ottawa left wing Peter) Schaefer got it to me. Whitney came at me, and I just tried to get it by him. I saw their forwards collapse and leave (Volchenkov) open in the slot.

"Give (Volchenkov) the credit. He took a great shot."

Comrie has delivered a serious shot to the Penguins' chances of advancing past the opening round in their first postseason appearance since 2001.

Through four games, he has scored twice, added an assist and made it a point to initiate contact with every Penguins player near his space.

Oh, and he is a plus-4.

"He's been everywhere," Spezza said. "When you have guys like him stepping up, it's a huge boost."

Comrie, a midseason acquisition from Phoenix, has proven exactly what the doctor ordered for an Ottawa club that entered these playoffs haunted by previous postseason ghosts.

"If you want to go on a long run, you have to look all the way down the lineup for guys to step up at different times," Ottawa defenseman Chris Phillips said. "He's been an example of that the whole series -- on the road, he has chipped in where he can, he has not made big mistakes and he has finished checks.

"He's doing the kind of stuff you don't see guys do all the time during the regular season. Those are things you have to do in the playoffs."

If Comrie keeps it up, Ottawa could end this best-of-seven series Thursday at home in Game 5.

"Going back to Ottawa up 3-1, the mentality is a lot different than being tied 2-2," Comrie said. "We still have to focus and keep the same approach."

For Comrie, that should not be a problem.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_503267.html

HometownGal
04-18-2007, 09:39 AM
That game just ripped my heart out.

I feel your pain, Steph, and even though they fell short by 1 goal, I really felt they played their best game of the series last night. The Sens are a very good hockey club and there's no denying it. Our PP has been dead in the last couple of games which hasn't helped matters. While their chances of winning 3 straight - 2 in Ottawa - are slim, as I've always said - I never count this team out. Sitting in the crowd last night and watching the game unfold, I truly believe these guys gave it their all for the majority of the game. One fluke goal (the Sens first) was the difference maker. All we can do at this point is keep the faith and hope for one more miracle. :cheers:

83-Steelers-43
04-18-2007, 09:45 AM
That game just ripped my heart out.

Yeah, that was a tough game to lose. They didn't play all that bad really compared to last game and game one. The Sens first goal was a fluke goal.

We still have troubles breaking out clean and what suprises me the most is that our PP has completely bombed. I did not expect that to happen. We spend more time fetching and playing around with the puck in our own zone while on the PP than we do in the opposing teams zone.

Oh well. Bring on game five and let's see if we can ring off three straight. :cheers:

Edman
04-18-2007, 10:55 AM
Pens just can't get any breaks.

I'm not giving up on them until it's over, and it's not over yet. Come on, Pens, you can do it!

X-Terminator
04-18-2007, 06:02 PM
I feel your pain, Steph, and even though they fell short by 1 goal, I really felt they played their best game of the series last night. The Sens are a very good hockey club and there's no denying it. Our PP has been dead in the last couple of games which hasn't helped matters. While their chances of winning 3 straight - 2 in Ottawa - are slim, as I've always said - I never count this team out. Sitting in the crowd last night and watching the game unfold, I truly believe these guys gave it their all for the majority of the game. One fluke goal (the Sens first) was the difference maker. All we can do at this point is keep the faith and hope for one more miracle. :cheers:

Well, after being a little disappointed last night, I say if they win tomorrow night, then great - there's a game 6 on Sunday. If not, it's been a great season, one that had low expectations going in. Regardless, I'm extremely proud of this young team and what they accomplished this season, and if nothing else, this playoff series will give them valuable experience that will serve them well next season. I'm sure Ray Shero will get the pieces he needs in the offseason to improve the team, and maybe next year we'll make a serious Stanley Cup run. :smile:

SteelCityMan786
04-18-2007, 06:47 PM
That game just ripped my heart out.

Same here. It was just heartbreaking to see them go down like that from my F Balcony Seats.

X-Terminator
04-19-2007, 12:33 AM
Penguins have twice rallied from 3-1

By Keith Barnes
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, April 19, 2007

Down, three games to one, in the Penguins' playoff series with Ottawa, coach Michel Therrien wasted no time downplaying the hype heading into Game 5 tonight at Scotiabank Place.

"It's funny because, when you're in a position like this, everyone will say the right things," Therrien said. "We'll say the right things, Ottawa will say the right things, but, basically, it's going to happen on the ice, so let's play the game, and you never know."

It is a statistical improbability that the Penguins will come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the series. In 210 previous playoff series, it's happened only 20 times, but the Penguins did it twice, in 1992 and 1995.

Before making brunch plans that include a 1 p.m. faceoff Sunday at Mellon Arena for Game 6, remember that these aren't the veteran Stanley Cup championship teams of that era, nor is the franchise's personal postseason whipping-boy, the Washington Capitals, laying in wait for an annual postseason collapse. This is a young team with most of its players engaging in their first NHL postseason faced with a monumental task that would make more experienced squads shake their heads at the prospect.

"They're going to come out hungry to win the series, and we've got to win one to prolong it," Penguins forward Gary Roberts said. "I think the minus side is (when up 3-1) you start looking too far ahead and, hopefully, that's going to be the case with them."

When he played for Calgary, Roberts was on the opposite side, on a team that blew a 3-1 lead in the first round. In 1994, he was on the ice as Vancouver came back in an amazing fashion, winning Games 5 and 6 in overtime, then taking the clincher in double overtime.

"I've been on the losing end of a series like that and, hopefully, I'll be on the winning end," Roberts said. "I think it helps that we've won there, and we've played well against this team throughout the year, but we're down, 3-1, and, obviously, we need some luck on our side."

Ottawa has never blown a 3-1 lead in a series and has never even been pushed to a seventh game when they've held that advantage. In 1998, New Jersey took a game at home before losing the series in six, but the last three times the Senators had a 3-1 lead -- in against Philadelphia in 2002, the New York Islanders in 2005 and last season against defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay -- they didn't give their opponent a hint of hope and put them away immediately in Game 5.

Down, not out
Here's a look at Penguins' roles in Stanley Cup playoff series in which a team came back from a 3-1 deficit to win:
Year

Outcome
1975

New York Islanders 4, Penguins 3*
1992

Penguins 4, Washington 3
1995

Penguins 4, Washington 3
* Penguins led, 3-0.

"I don't think we can focus too much on the result, but we have to focus on how we play," Penguins forward Sidney Crosby said. "Sometimes if you get caught up in the results, then you're not focused on how you play, but I think we're all confident that if we put our game out there, we'll be fine."

Considering the Penguins are down, 3-1, just blew home-ice advantage with back-to-back defeats at Mellon Arena and are coming off a hard-fought 2-1 loss that put them into a must-win hole, the team was relaxed at its optional practice yesterday. Players were joking and laughing, almost as if they were prepping for a midseason matchup instead of what could be their final game of the season.

"I think we know it's not over, and we just have to win one," Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said. "I think all the guys are believing that, the way we played (Tuesday) night, if we can bring it in the next game, then we can win."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_503436.html

X-Terminator
04-19-2007, 12:35 AM
Pens won't be easy out

By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, April 19, 2007

Elimination could come as early as tonight in Ottawa, though nobody should be shocked to see the Penguins force Game 6. If the past six months have taught us anything, it's that getting rid of this bunch will be about as easy as extinguishing an army of fire ants.

That said, the Senators have some experience in driving a stake through a team's heart. They eliminated the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in five games in a first-round series last year.

Observations from the first four games of this series:

• Penguins defenseman Josef Melichar hasn't been as big a liability as many would suggest. Disagree? OK, a little quiz: How many Senators goals has Melichar been on the ice for? How about one, none at even-strength. Compare that to, say, Mark Eaton, who has been on the ice for six of the Senators' 15 goals.

• Sidney Crosby is having a good series, not great. Crosby had the second-most assists (84) in the NHL this season but has only two in the series, one of which was a second assist. Part of that is the lack of firepower around him, but Crosby has been off the mark way more than usual (give the Senators some credit there) and has passed up several opportunities to shoot.

• Ottawa has taken away the Penguins' back-door play to Ryan Whitney on the power play. The Penguins have not responded with any discernible new wrinkles. Whitney should do more of what he did late in the second period of Game 4, when he crashed the net for a rebound and nearly scored. That was one of the few times Ottawa goalie Ray Emery was forced to make a second save.

• Crosby delivered the most telling quote of the series yesterday, when asked whether the Penguins have made adjustments to their power play during the series. "We've made little adjustments, probably not as big as they've made on their penalty kill." Clearly, the Penguins are missing the element of surprise.

• Emery has done enough to win. The Penguins have failed to make him go side-to-side.

• Gary Roberts might play his final game in a Penguins sweater tonight, but if this team ever wins a Stanley Cup, it should immediately wire him a winner's share. General manager Ray Shero will never regret the day he traded for Roberts, who, with an assist from the Senators, has taught the young Penguins players how to reach a level they didn't even know they had. Pat Quinn once said of Roberts, "He plays with a lack of respect for his body." Or anyone else's, he might have added.

• Did you see Roberts' 90-foot sprint toward defenseman Wade Redden to set up the Penguins' goal Tuesday? Redden must have felt like Ben Roethlisberger against the Baltimore Ravens' blitz. He avoided the brunt of Roberts' hit but threw an interception that resulted in Jordan Staal's goal. Imagine the lasting lessons Staal has received from playing next to the maniacal Roberts.

• Great as Roberts has been, Senators coach Bryan Murray had a legitimate gripe when he spoke of Roberts "getting free runs at a couple of our guys when they didn't even have the puck." Senators defenseman Anton Volchenkov was called, rightly, for interference when he hammered Staal away from the puck in the second period. Roberts got away with some blatantly illegal hits in the third, including one on Andres Meszaros on the same shift Ottawa scored the winning goal.

• Even-strength points for Ottawa's defense: nine. Even-strength points for the Penguins' defense: one.

• Series MVP: Mike Comrie. Ottawa's mini mite is a series-leading plus-4 with two goals, a game-winning assist and the hit heard 'round the East. He hammered Evgeni Malkin a minute into Game 1, setting up a goal - and setting the tone for a series that could be much shorter than most expected.

But don't throw away those rally towels just yet.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_503441.html

X-Terminator
04-19-2007, 12:38 AM
Notebook: Ottawa upset with Pens' Roberts' contact

By Keith Barnes
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, April 19, 2007

• Gary Roberts has been a thorn in Ottawa's side since he helped Toronto knock the Senators out of the playoffs in 2001, 2002 and 2004. After the Senators' 2-1 win in Game 4, however, the Senators believed Roberts was a bit more vociferous than he should have been. "I'd like to comment on Gary Roberts getting free runs at a couple of our guys when they didn't even have the puck and there was no calls," Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said. "We made one comment to the referees, and they shook their head like, 'What are you talking about?' but, the bottom line was, they drew penalties because they were skating more than we were in the early going, and we felt that the calls the referees were forced to make went against us." Roberts forced contact on several occasions and his crushing check on Senators defenseman Anton Volchenkov in the second period helped set up the Penguins only goal of the game. "I don't really have a reaction," Robert said. "I'm just trying to be physical, I know it's playoff hockey, and you're trying to create opportunities for your linemates, and my job's usually to be the first one down on the forecheck and take the body. I don't really feel that that's the case. If the puck's there, I'm going to take the body, and I'm not going to worry about it.

• Penguins forward Nils Ekman played only two games since Dec. 29 before taking the ice in Game 4 but had to be helped off the ice with what is being called a left leg injury. Because it's the playoffs, the severity of the injury -- or it's exact location, for that matter -- will remain a closely guarded secret. But it will not keep Ekman from playing in Game 5 "It's all right and not bad," Ekman said. "There's absolutely nothing that will keep me out of the game."

• Though the Penguins listed their practice Wednesday at Mellon Arena as optional, they still had 17 skaters and both goaltenders on the ice. Among the players who didn't take advantage of the extra session were Sidney Crosby, Mark Recchi, Sergei Gonchar, Evgeni Malkin and Roberts.

• The Penguins have not gone one-and-out in a playoff series since Montreal defeated them, 4-2, in 1998. It was a series that featured the second overtime penalty shot in Stanley Cup playoff history when Aleksey Morozov hit the post behind Canadiens netminder Andy Moog, and the Penguins lost Game 1.


Digits

6 - Shots the Penguins are averaging in the first period.

9 - Consecutive penalties that Ottawa has killed.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_503425.html

X-Terminator
04-19-2007, 12:41 AM
Senators well aware of Pens' history

By Don Brennan
OTTAWA SUN
Thursday, April 19, 2007

Nothing fazes kids these days, does it?

"Whatever," they shrug.

"Been there, done that," they say.

Between all the rhetoric of "taking it one game at a time" from the adults, the latter expression could also serve as a rally cry for the young lads in the visitor's dressing room at Scotiabank Place tonight.

By now, they've been informed the franchise they represent has, indeed, been there, done that.

Of the 210 teams that have trailed a best-of-7, NHL playoff series, 3-1, only 20 have come back to win it. The 1991-92 and 1994-95 Penguins are two of them.

Both times, the Penguins turned the tables on the Washington Capitals. In the spring of '95, current-day Penguins defenseman Sergei Gonchar was with the Caps. In '92, Washington was coached by Terry Murray -- the brother of Senators bench boss Bryan Murray.

"We're not taking anything for granted," Bryan Murray said Wednesday, remembering full well the painful experience of his sibling. "You can't open the door for anybody."

The Senators built their 3-1 series lead over Sidney Crosby's Penguins by boldly marching into Mellon Arena and claiming back-to-back games.

They are now poised to advance to Round 2 for just the fifth time in the 10 consecutive years they've made it to the playoffs.

The Senators have had a 3-1 series lead four times. They have gone on to win each, and have a 3-1 record in Game 5s.

"This will be a big test for us ... the last one is always the hardest, they say," said Senators forward Mike Comrie, who in seven NHL seasons has made it to the playoffs twice -- and never past the first round. "We're going to approach Game 5 like we did the last four. We need to work hard."

And remain disciplined.

In stealing both games in Steeltown, the Senators were a perfect 9 for 9 on the penalty kill. The Penguins had a league-high 95 power-play goals during the regular season.

"It's a testament to how much the guys want to win," said Senators goalie Ray Emery, who not only starred in Game 4 but also has absorbed much abuse from net-driving Penguins without striking back. "What they're willing to sacrifice to help the team."

It has been a "team" effort that has given the Senators a stranglehold on the Penguins. Emery has played well. Captain Daniel Alfredsson has provided leadership, with his scoring, his work ethic and, according to Comrie, with his words in the dressing room between periods 2 and 3 Tuesday.

While Murray blasted the players for their lack of "attitude," Comrie said "Alfie was calming us down."

"We needed to remind ourselves that, even though through the first 40 minutes we weren't that great, we were still tied," said Comrie, who is prominent on a supporting cast that has stepped up in the playoffs.

Most important, however, has been the ability of the Senators to keep Crosby from really cutting loose. The NHL's regular season scoring champ does have three goals and five points in the series, but he was held off the sheet in Game 4.

Defenseman Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov took all five of Ottawa's penalties in the game, suggesting the shutdown pairing is prepared to do whatever it takes to keep Crosby and his line from beating the Senators.

Phillips, who has popped Crosby a couple of times in the nose this series, figures the Penguins will make some adjustments tonight.

"The last game they stretched their wingers out, tried to back us off," Phillips said. "We had to do a better job of taking him away, slowing him down.

"We have to keep playing better hockey. Their backs are against the wall, and they're going to come at us with everything. We have to be prepared to play our best game of the series."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_503440.html

X-Terminator
04-19-2007, 12:43 AM
Pens-Sens: Outlook for Game 5

By The Tribune-Review
Thursday, April 19, 2007

INSIDE TODAY'S GAME

Game 5: Penguins at Senators, 7:08 p.m., FSN Pittsburgh, Versus

Last game

The Penguins went 0 for 5 on the power play and fell into a three-games-to-one hole with a crushing, 2-1 loss on home ice. Senators defenseman Anton Volchenkov scored the go-ahead goal at 9:12 of the third period on a feed from Mike Comrie, who continued his series-long penchant for making big plays. The Penguins played by far their best game of the series and spent considerable time in Ottawa's end but still did not test Senators goalie Ray Emery with enough second shots.

What the Penguins need to do

Capitalize on the power play. They scored more power-play goals than any team in the NHL this season but have only two meaningful ones in this series, both in the Game 2 victory. The Penguins also must continue their physical play from Game 4, get the puck out of their zone quickly and avoid foolish penalties. An early goal, like the one they got in Game 2, would go a long way toward taking a bloodthirsty Ottawa crowd out of the game. Somebody other than Crosby, Roberts or Staal needs to score a goal, too. Roberts needs to watch out for penalties, because referees will be on the lookout after Ottawa coach Bryan Murray's complaints.

What the Senators need to do

Feed off the crowd early and "bury" the Penguins, to quote center Jason Spezza. The Senators need to recapture the edge they played with for most of the first three games of the series but seemed to lose in Game 4. They must continue to confound the Penguins' power play, block shots, get offensive production from their role players and defensemen and keep Sidney Crosby in check on the scoresheet -- as they've done in just about every matchup against the Penguins the past two years. It'd be a bonus if Dany Heatley established himself in the series. He's been nearly invisible.

**Expected line combinations

Penguins

Forwards

1. Malkin-Crosby-Recchi
2. Roberts-Staal- Ouellet
3. Ekman-Talbot-Armstrong
4. Ruutu-Malone-Petrovicky

Defensemen
1. Gonchar-Eaton
2. Orpik-Whitney
3. Melichar-Scuderi

Goalie
1. Fleury

Senators

Forwards
1. Heatley-Spezza-Alfredsson
2. Schaefer-Fisher-Comrie
3. Vermette-Kelly-Neil
4. Schubert-McAmmond-Saprykin

Defensemen
1. Phillips-Volchenkov
2. Redden-Meszaros
3. Corvo-Preissing

Goalie
1. Emery

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/penguins/s_503444.html

X-Terminator
04-19-2007, 12:45 AM
Collier: Penguins' playoff survival depends on power play

Thursday, April 19, 2007
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Had it not been interrupted, the question was going to be, "Coach, is there anyone performing with Ottawa's penalty-killing unit who has been so outstanding that he has made a huge difference in this series all by himself?"

Or something like that.

Maybe it was with a verbal high stick, although I'd have to see at least six replays, but Penguins coach Michel Therrien swatted the question away in mid-flight yesterday inside Mellon Arena.

I believe I got as far as "so outstanding ...

"We're trying to make adjustments," Therrien interjected as the Penguins were concluding perhaps the final practice of their season. "We're going to sit down later and discuss it. You've got to give credit -- Ottawa's penalty-killers have been doing a good job."

Yeah, youbetcha.

It has probably been pointed out enough that these Penguins, sculptors of the National Hockey League's fifth-best power play during the regular season, were 0 for 9 with the man advantage in the two home games that left them gasping in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, three games to one.


Matt Freed, Post-Gazette
Despite the 31 penalties Ottawa has taken in the series, goalie Ray Emery has faced just 90 shots in the four games.
Click photo for larger image.


It has probably been pointed out enough that on all five Penguins power plays in Game 4 Tuesday night, the Senators had key penalty-killers way out of position, like in the penalty box. Anton Volchenkov was whistled twice and Chris Phillips thrice, and not even that presumed imbalance tipped the ice Pittsburgh's way. As a result, Ottawa's Christoph Schubert led the club in short-handed minutes and helped kill every one of those power plays.

Perhaps, he was the answer to the half-asked question.

But the larger issue is, at the approach of Game 5 tonight in Canada, little less than the largest issue: Will Therrien's adjustments be obvious enough to jump-start the power play into firing the way it did in Game 2? The Penguins were 2 for 3 that afternoon, and won, 4-3.

"They've adjusted pretty good throughout the series," Sidney Crosby said after practice yesterday. "That's just part of playing in the playoffs I guess; teams adjust. We've made some adjustments, too, but probably not as big as theirs."

Hmmm.

The specifics of power-play adjustments and the inversion of how teams respond when short-handed are perpetual grace notes to the broader theme, which never really changes in hockey when it comes to special teams. You can discuss how the Senators are pressing more on the perimeter of the Penguins' power play, and you can stick handle all the offensive minutia that you please, but the major recommendation remains as simple as it is eternal.

Shoot the puck. Then crash the net.

Despite the 31 penalties Ottawa has taken in this series, Senators goaltender Ray Emery has faced 90 shots total, way fewer than any goalie with four playoff starts. On two of the Penguins' Tuesday night power plays, he handled no shots. None.

Shoot the puck. Then crash the net.

"You've got to execute really well," Crosby said when asked the correct response to defensive pressure in these situations. "If there's a guy in your face, you've got to make a play, and a lot of times it's tough to do."

True enough, but more times, the Penguins are making it look tougher than it is. The power play is a brain-bending interlude in the course of normal hockey affairs. Players who would shoot reflexively given x amount of open ice, will fiddle with the biscuit or pass it away on the power play on the empty promise that a better opportunity surely lies just around the boards.

Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney veered awfully close to the conventional, validated wisdom before Game 2 when he invoked the term "dirty goals." A goal that results from traffic in front of the net, one that is pinballed past a screened goalie, even inadvertently, counts as much as the prettiest power-play gambit drawn on a grease board.

When this series ends, perhaps as soon as tonight, it will be clear that the Penguins had enough power-play opportunities to win it, which was, by the way, the only way they were going to win it.

"Our top line played really well," Therrien said. "There were times when they were hooked and there were no calls. But you keep skating and hope that the penalty calls will be there. If the refs would have called more of the hooking and the holding, it might have been different."

Crosby might have drawn three times the penalties he has in this series with a little less official reticence, but Sid's team has had plenty of chances. Maybe if the shots it does take weren't consistently hitting Emery in the breastbone, then, as the head coach suggests, it might have been different.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07109/779289-150.stm

X-Terminator
04-19-2007, 12:46 AM
Bottom line: Penguins win tonight or the season is over

Thursday, April 19, 2007
By Dave Molinari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

OTTAWA -- Gary Roberts has accomplished an awful lot during his 19 seasons in the National Hockey League.

He has won a Stanley Cup, appeared in 1,156 regular-season games and 118 more during the playoffs and overcome a horrific neck injury.

But for all he has experienced and achieved, Roberts never has played on a team that has overcome a 3-1 deficit in a best-of-seven series, the kind the Penguins face as they prepare to meet Ottawa in Game 5 of their opening-round series at 7:08 tonight at Scotiabank Place.

He knows it can be done, though, because he has seen it happen. Had way too good of a view, actually, because he was on the Calgary team that lost Games 5, 6 and 7 -- the first two in overtime, the last in double-overtime -- to Vancouver in 1994.

"I've been in that situation before, on the other end," Roberts said. "Hopefully, that's going to be the case for us."

That hardly seems likely, given the quality of Ottawa's lineup and the Senators' strong play for most of the series, but there is precedent for teams rallying from being down, 3-1, to win a series: It has been done 20 times in NHL history, twice by the Penguins.

"It's definitely doable," defenseman Mark Eaton said.

True enough, although the Penguins probably shouldn't start breaking down tape of possible second-round opponents just yet. Not only do roughly 90 percent of the teams that build a 3-1 advantage end up advancing to the next round, but the Penguins are 3-7 in their past 10 Game 5s and 4-6 the past 10 times they have faced elimination.

Coincidentally, all four victories while facing elimination came in series when the Penguins rebounded from a 3-2 deficit to win Games 6 and 7. They did it against New Jersey in the opening round in 1999 and Buffalo in the second round two years later.

Whether the Penguins' performance during a 2-1 loss in Game 4 Tuesday should give them genuine hope or strip them of it is a matter of perspective.

It was universally acknowledged to be their finest showing of the series -- "Pittsburgh played very, very strong," Senators coach Bryan Murray said -- and demonstrated that they are capable of competing with Ottawa on fairly even terms.

"If we go into Ottawa and play that way, we give ourselves a chance," center Sidney Crosby said. "If we do that again, there's no reason we can't come out of there [with a victory]."

That's a valid point, but if the Penguins' best performance to date wasn't enough to earn a victory, what makes them think that a similar one will produce a different result, let alone three of them?

Score Game 4 on a 10-point must system, and perhaps the Penguins come out on top. Do it the conventional way -- by which club ends up with the most goals -- and, well, not so much.

"They'll probably admit that they stole one from us," defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "That's what good teams do, so you have to give them credit for that."

There are many things for which the Senators deserve credit. Their special teams have been strong, their five-on-five work excellent and the goaltending of Ray Emery mostly solid.

If the Senators have a major soft spot, the Penguins have not detected it, let alone exploited it.

The Senators are talented, deep, poised, confident and motivated, as the status of the series reflects.

"We know they're a good team over there," Roberts said. "They've been fighting for years trying to win playoff rounds, so they know what it's like to be in those situations."

Still, the Penguins had some success getting the puck in deep and creating scoring chances by cycling it in Game 4, which is part of the reason they were awarded four power plays during the second period.

"Their [defensemen] were struggling, big-time," winger Jarkko Ruutu said. "They were getting tired and started taking penalties. Little things like that, that's what it's all about. We just have to keep doing it."

Of course, getting those chances with the extra man does not matter much if the Penguins don't capitalize on them, and their power play is coming off a 0-for-9 slump in two games at Mellon Arena.

Extend that stretch of futility tonight, and there's a good chance their season will end. Defy the odds and win Game 5, however, and what appears to be nearly impossible will morph into a mere long shot.

"We've dug a hole," right winger Mark Recchi said. "Now, let's see what we can do. ... If we go up there and steal a game and bring it back [to Pittsburgh] for Game 6, all of a sudden, it gets pretty tight.

"Then, if you can get it to Game 7, anything can happen."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07109/779304-61.stm

X-Terminator
04-19-2007, 12:47 AM
Penguins Notebook: Therrien questions Game 4 officiating, keeps top line intact

Thursday, April 19, 2007
By Dave Molinari and Chuck Finder, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Michel Therrien announced yesterday that for Game 5 tonight he planned to keep together the Game 4 first line of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Mark Recchi -- for as long as this chess-player of a Penguins coach keeps lines together, anyway.

Part of this announcement, though, was a jab at the officiating.

"I thought Crosby's line played really well, with Malkin and Recchi," Therrien said. "There were times we put [Gary] Roberts there, too. They created a lot. They were skating well. Their speed is tough to contain.

"There were two times they got hooked with no calls [for penalties]. We have to keep focusing and believe the calls will be there.

"I thought they could have created more if the referees had called hooking and holding. But I really appreciate the way those three guys played together."

Recchi, who opened the game on the second line, finished with four hits and three shots, while Malkin and Crosby -- united most of the game -- combined for eight shots.

Nils no longer nil

Nils Ekman hasn't heard officially from Therrien and staff whether tonight he will play a second consecutive Penguins game for the first time since late December. But would anything else keep him off the Scotiabank Place ice?

"Absolutely nothing," said the seldom-used winger, who added that he feels no ill affects after a slight hip injury late in the third period Tuesday.

Ekman got 10 minutes of ice time -- this from a summertime pick-up who played only March 29 and March 6 since dislocating an elbow around New Year's -- and managed two shots, one hit and two blocked shots in Game 4.

"Yeah, it was all right," Therrien said of the performance by Ekman, who replaced healthy scratch Erik Christensen.

"It was all right for a guy who played his first game in a long time."

Ekman described his own play the same way: "I did all right. I tried to keep it simple and battle hard.... I was happy to be out there playing; I've had three games since December."

Finding the words

"It's funny," Therrien said on the subject of the attitudes going into tonight trailing the series, 3-1, "because when you're in a position like this, everyone will say the right things. We'll say the right things. Ottawa will say the right things. But, basically, on the ice is where it's going to happen.

"It's not too complicated for us."

After roughly an hour-long workout -- where Crosby, Malkin, Recchi, Roberts and Sergei Gonchar did not join the rest of the team for most of it, if not all -- Therrien added that the Game 4 effort should help the Penguins because it was their postseason best to date. "We have to play the same type of game on the road. We stole one game in there. We know we're capable of winning in that building."

No Staal tactics

More than a dozen Penguins made their Stanley Cup debuts this spring, and the inexperience showed for more than a few.

But not the youngest of them.

Jordan Staal, their 18-year-old center, has taken the playoffs pretty much in stride. He has performed with remarkable poise since the early days of training camp, and that did not change when the postseason began.

He has three goals in four games entering Game 5 tonight although, characteristically, he shrugs off the offensive contribution he has made.

"I'm just focused on winning," he said. "That's all I'm really worried about."

Although Staal did not score a goal in the final seven regular-season games, he still finished with 29 and enjoyed a wildly successful rookie year.

"I just wanted to roll [the regular season] into the playoffs," he said. "It seems like whenever I get into the playoffs, I just want to win. I think that improves my game a bit."

It certainly hasn't hurt, and the Senators have noticed.

"He's a great hockey player, no doubt about it," Ottawa center Jason Spezza said. "He's strong on the boards. He's a big guy, and there's not too many big guys in the league with soft hands like him."

Staal used those to score the Penguins' only goal during their 2-1 loss in Game 4 at Mellon Arena Tuesday, when he tossed a Roberts rebound past Senators goalie Ray Emery.

"He's going to be a star for a long time," Roberts said. "He's a real fun guy to play with."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07109/779278-61.stm

X-Terminator
04-19-2007, 12:48 AM
Spezza's defense no longer offensive to his coach

Thursday, April 19, 2007
By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Jason Spezza, a fan of the fancy, has had more highlight-worthy goals than the one that came on a centering pass that bounced off Penguins penalty-killer Jordan Staal in Ottawa's 2-1 win in Game 4 of the teams' first-round playoff series Tuesday night.

For that matter, Spezza surely has more impressive moves walking down the sidewalk. Or tying his skates.

But the Senators' top-line center was thrilled with the goal that helped his team take a commanding, 3-1 series lead going into Game 5 tonight at Scotiabank Place.

Spezza, 23, likes to dazzle and has the skill to do it. It's one reason Ottawa selected him second overall in the 2003 draft.

He just doesn't measure his play solely on a wow scale anymore.

It used to be, Spezza always would look for the spectacular play. His extra stickhandling and attempts at slick passes sometimes led to turnovers or frustrated teammates, which led to the Ottawa faithful losing patience and occasionally casting boos his way.

Now he has gotten a little more conservative and pays more attention to his play at both ends.

"That's definitely been part of my game that I've worked on, just being more responsible," Spezza said. "One thing they've really preached is, if we can do things well defensively, we'll get the puck more and then the offense takes care of itself."

It took a considerable amount of nagging for him to get over the offense-at-all-costs approach many players pick up in junior hockey and earlier.

"We were real tough on him early in the year, and we were real tough on him last year," Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said. "We complained about everything he did without the puck. Now he's really grown in that area.

"The last month and a half, I've seen a great change with Jason. His play in his own end has grown so much, it's scary."

Murray rarely uses a true checking line. In this series, he often has tried to match his top line of Spezza and wingers Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley against the Penguins' top line of Art Ross Trophy winner Sidney Crosby and whoever his wingers happen to be.

It's a task that might have been risky with Spezza in the past, but Murray is satisfied with the outcome so far. Crosby has five points in the four games, but he has been quiet for considerable stretches.

"I think it's good for him," Murray said of Spezza's assignment.

Spezza certainly has not abandoned his offense.

He finished second among his teammates with 34 goals and tied for second with 87 points during the regular season. He was second in the NHL to the Penguins' Jordan Staal in shooting percent at 21 (34 of 162).

Spezza credits his coach's close supervision for making him a more well-rounded player.

"Bryan's pretty tough on me," he said. "He's on me all the time. It's made me a better player, though. We have a good relationship. I respect him a lot. He still lets me go out and do what I do, but he also reminds me when I do things he doesn't like.

"Our conversations have become less and less, and that's a good thing."

Spezza said he was like most young players who roared into the league looking to impress and pile up the points.

"It's a little adjustment period coming to the NHL," said the fourth-year NHL player. "I think once you feel a little more confident in your role, you can sacrifice a little more for the team."

The payoff has been more confidence in him from the coaching staff. As long as he is willing to play a little smarter offensively and give more than a nod to helping out defensively, he likely will remain on the top line and top power-play unit.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07109/779277-61.stm

X-Terminator
04-19-2007, 12:50 AM
Ottawa Notebook: Corvo slips into playoff mode fast

Thursday, April 19, 2007
By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Penguins are full of playoff neophytes. Ottawa is playing with one.

Perhaps that's why defenseman Joe Corvo has felt right at home playing in the postseason during the Senators' first-round series with the Penguins. Corvo has four assists going into Game 5 tonight at Scotiabank Place.

"I tried to just make these like any other game," he said. "I tried to ignore the crowd noise and just stay out of that whole thing and just play. It worked out for me. To be honest with you, it didn't seem much faster or too overwhelming."

Corvo, 29, isn't as young as the Penguins who are in the playoffs for the first time -- although he's young enough in spirit to be sporting a blond Mohawk-style hairdo. He's a fourth-year NHL player who signed as a free agent last summer.

"I've been around a long time, believe it or not," he said.

It probably also helped that Corvo was playing like gangbusters as the regular season ended. He had 16 of his 37 points and a plus-minus rating of plus-14 over the last 28 games.

"I put together a long stretch of good games the past couple months," he said. "It was just a matter of keeping it going."

Corvo has taken on a substantial role with the Senators, including a spot on the point on the top power-play unit.

"Joe Corvo has elevated his game in the last couple of months," coach Bryan Murray said. "He plays the point on the power play now. He's got the huge shot."

Not his No. 1 goal

Anton Volchenkov has a major responsibility with the Senators. He and defense partner Chris Phillips are assigned to play against opponents' top lines game after game.

Goals are an infrequent bonus for Volchenkov, so the winner he got Tuesday night to give the Senators a 2-1 win and a 3-1 series lead instantly became a career highlight. It wasn't the biggest goal of his career, though.

He ranks his winning goal as captain of Russia's team against Canada in the 2002 world junior championship gold-medal game ahead of the one against the Penguins. "Yes, that's No. 1," he said.

Language gaps

Volchenkov, 25, broke into the NHL in 2002-03, but speaks halting English. Those around the Ottawa team say he has not made a strong effort to learn English and might have regressed.

He apparently speaks only Russian as often as possible away from the rink. Compare that with Penguins rookie Evgeni Malkin, who has learned to understand English fairly well, but is reluctant to speak it, even with teammates. Or compare that with Washington's Alex Ovechkin, who was doing interviews in English early in his rookie season of 2005-06 and has gotten better.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07109/779292-61.stm

HometownGal
04-19-2007, 02:59 PM
It's do or die for the Pens tonight. I want to see the Pens from Game #4 + a jump-started PP and a 60 minute effort from top to bottom!

LET'S GO PENS - I BELIEVE!! :banana:

http://www.chuckthomas.com/pen99tow.jpg

Buzz05
04-19-2007, 03:36 PM
I kind of expected the Pens to get out hit in the series, but come on they are getting out played. Fluery played well in game 4 and we still couldnt get the biscuit in the basket. I do however think we will see a different Pens team on the ice tonight.

SteelCityMan786
04-19-2007, 04:44 PM
http://pittsburghpenguins.com/team/features/arts/2465.0.php

DESPITE DEFEAT, PENGUINS REMAIN POSITIVE HEADING INTO GAME 5

by Joe Sager
pittsburghpenguins.com
04/17/2007

As the playoffs progress, the Penguins are learning what it takes to be successful.

While it didn?t show on the scoreboard Tuesday night in a 2-1 loss to Ottawa in Game 4 at Mellon Arena, the young Penguins continue their postseason development in their first tour of duty in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

That?s why the team remains so positive despite facing elimination with a 3-1 series deficit heading into Game 5 Thursday in Ottawa.

?It?s tough. I think we have to be proud of the way we played [Tuesday], though,? Penguins center Sidney Crosby said. ?We can come into the room and every guy can look in the mirror and say they gave an honest effort and laid it out there.

?It?s playoff hockey; you?re not always going to come out with a win. But, we laid it out there and I think we showed ourselves and showed them we are a tough team to play against when we want to,? he continued. ?Moving forward, we didn?t get the win, but going into Ottawa, if we bring that game, we have a chance.?

The Penguins matched the Senators in intensity, talent and goaltending Tuesday night. The glaring difference? One crazy bounce that led to Ottawa?s first goal as Jason Spezza?s shot deflected off a Penguins defender and blooped into the net.

?That was the first time we felt comfortable playing a playoff game,? Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. ?It?s important feeling comfortable to play this time of the year. The players before the game were focused and knew the importance of the game. You like to win those games, but you need breaks to win those games and we didn?t have any. They got a break to score their first goal. Both teams played well. It was a good game.?

The Penguins overcame the unfortunate sequence to knot the game through two periods. Anton Volchenkov?s goal 9:12 into the third period gave Ottawa the triumph.

?I think we have always felt we?ve belonged; it was just a matter of consistency. The consistency was there,? Crosby said. ?We stuck to the game plan and they got a fluky goal early, but we stuck to the plan and kept playing the same way. We got some power-play opportunities and they unfortunately didn?t go well and that happens some times. If we play that way consistently going into Ottawa, we have a chance.?

It was the Penguins? physical and intense play that gives the team optimism.

?We know we can compete with these guys,? Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said. ?We?re going to work hard in the next game and see what we can do from there.

?That?s the good thing about playoffs ? it?s not over until you lose four times. So, we?re going to go and play a pretty good game up there. You never know, anything can happen.?

Crosby knows the Penguins must not only maintain their desperation, but dig even deeper on Thursday to avoid elimination.

?You leave it all out there. You have to win the next game. You can?t win three in one. You have to win the next game,? he said. ?If we win the next one, we?re coming back home and have a couple days after that one. We just have to pour it all out there. I think [Tuesday] night we left it all out there and gave ourselves a chance. If we do that again, there?s no reason why we can?t come home with a win. I think we just have to focus on that.?

Therrien agrees.

?You can?t look at the top of the mountain because it looks pretty high right now. You have to take one step at a time and we?ll see.?

SteelCityMan786
04-19-2007, 04:44 PM
It's do or die for the Pens tonight. I want to see the Pens from Game #4 + a jump-started PP and a 60 minute effort from top to bottom!

LET'S GO PENS - I BELIEVE!! :banana:

http://www.chuckthomas.com/pen99tow.jpg

That goes for me to. I'M A BELIEVER!

83-Steelers-43
04-19-2007, 06:46 PM
Sweet, I hope they throw Christensen on that fourth line. That's where he should be. It has worked so well up to this point, why change now? Plus, where else would you put him? I mean you have Malone lighting up the lamp every chance he gets. :thumbsup:

Pens' Laraque expected to dress tonight

By Karen Price
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, April 19, 2007

OTTAWA - Penguins enforcer Georges Laraque is expected to be back in the lineup for Game 5 tonight against the Ottawa Senators.

Down 3-1 and facing elimination in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series, the Penguins square off against the Senators at Scotiabank Place at 7 p.m.

Center Erik Christensen is also expected to be back in the lineup tonight. Right wing Ronald Petrovicky and left wing Nils Ekman are not expected to play.

Laraque, 30, was scratched after a physical Game 1 in which the 6-3, 243-pound tough guy failed to get involved physically and turned the puck over, leading to a 2-on-0 break and a goal for the Senators. He played only 5:03 in that game and was a minus-1 with no points.

He declined to talk about the benching afterward.

Christensen was scratched in Game 4. The 23-year-old forward averaged 7:36 in the first three games with no points.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_503618.html

SteelCityMan786
04-19-2007, 06:48 PM
YES! LARAQUE IS BACK IN THE LINE UP!

SteelCityMan786
04-19-2007, 06:50 PM
I'm playing don't stop believing now so I can remember what got us here. We didn't stop believing in the team. Why should we stop now. NO REASON!

LET'S GO PENS!

SteelCityMan786
04-19-2007, 07:03 PM
ARE YOU READY PENGUINS FANS! I SURE AS HELL AM!

SteelCityMan786
04-19-2007, 07:12 PM
PENGUINS POWER PLAY!!! LET'S TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT!!!!!

83-Steelers-43
04-19-2007, 07:14 PM
If you can't score on a 5 on 3 for a 1:14 in the playoffs you don't deserve to win this game.

83-Steelers-43
04-19-2007, 07:17 PM
Another Senators penalty for a delay of game. Two delay of game penalties in not even two minutes.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OR LOSE THIS GAME

SteelCityMan786
04-19-2007, 07:17 PM
COME ON GUYS WE GOT TO SCORE!

SteelCityMan786
04-19-2007, 07:18 PM
COME ON GUYS! PUT THE PUCK IN THE NET AND GO UP 1-0!

83-Steelers-43
04-19-2007, 07:19 PM
Crowd is back in the game and Ottawa is picking up momentum. UNBELIEVABLE.

tony hipchest
04-19-2007, 07:20 PM
well atleast they finally got the shots on goal advantage.

SteelCityMan786
04-19-2007, 07:20 PM
We're up 7-0 on shots on goal.

SteelCityMan786
04-19-2007, 07:20 PM
COME ON GUYS! LET'S SCORE!

SteelCityMan786
04-19-2007, 07:21 PM
DAMN. COME ON NO DUMB MISTAKES.

83-Steelers-43
04-19-2007, 07:22 PM
And Orpik takes the hooking penalty.

SteelCityMan786
04-19-2007, 07:23 PM
COME ON GUYS! KILL THE PENALTY.

SteelCityMan786
04-19-2007, 07:25 PM
Killed the power play. TAKE ADVANTAGE.

SteelCityMan786
04-19-2007, 07:26 PM
LaRaque is back on.

SteelCityMan786
04-19-2007, 07:33 PM
Ok come on guys. LET'S GET A GOAL HERE!

SteelCityMan786
04-19-2007, 07:36 PM
Emery has to eventually choke on one before the period is over on one of these shot attempts by the Penguins.

SteelCityMan786
04-19-2007, 07:40 PM
Come on guys. GOT TO SCORE.

SteelCityMan786
04-19-2007, 07:41 PM
Whitney's down. DAMN!

SteelCityMan786
04-19-2007, 07:45 PM
DAMN IT! Penalty.Get the faceoff guys.