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Old 04-14-2007, 11:10 PM   #2111
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

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/pitt.../s_502832.html
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Old 04-14-2007, 11:12 PM   #2112
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

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/pitt.../s_502847.html
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Old 04-14-2007, 11:13 PM   #2113
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

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/pitt.../s_502851.html
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Old 04-14-2007, 11:16 PM   #2114
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Default Re: Pens Tidbits

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
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Old 04-15-2007, 09:29 AM   #2115
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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
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Old 04-15-2007, 09:35 AM   #2116
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The Pens are going to kick Ottawa's ass tonight. It was huge winning a game in Ottawa.
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Old 04-15-2007, 09:38 AM   #2117
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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.
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Old 04-15-2007, 09:40 AM   #2118
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Quote:
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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.
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Old 04-15-2007, 10:02 AM   #2119
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 83-Steelers-43 View Post
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.
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.
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Old 04-15-2007, 12:04 PM   #2120
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Originally Posted by SteelCityMan786 View Post
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...

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