Almost there

April 14, 2008

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A goal and two assists by Marian Hossa help the Penguins beat the Senators, 4-1, and claim a 3-0 lead in their first round series.

PREGAME

-First things first, EN reader Lisa Weir of Perth Australia spotted yet another Penguins playoff song:

-Any song with Jeff Taffe in the lyrics is worth our time.

-Crud. No Gary Roberts tonight. He has a sore groin.

-Stan Savran delivers the news with that dark music that reminds us of the "tunnel levels" on Super Mario Brothers.

-Did Savran just say the USFL draft was coming up? Will Jim Kelly go to the Houston Gamblers?

-Daniel Alfredsson will play tonight. There's a reason he wears that "C."

-The Penguins scratched Darryl Sydor, Roberts, Dany Sabourin, Kris Beech and Jeff Taffe. Adam Hall replaces Roberts in the lineup.

-Ottawa's scratches are Randy Robitaille, Luke Richardson, Mike Fisher, Brian McGrattan, Chris Kelly and Alexander Nikulin.

Apparently King Leonidas is a Senators fan.

-He's no Jeff Jimerson, but Lyndon Slewidge is pretty good.

-That giant Canadian flag they used last season during the Stanley Cup final is busted out:

FIRST PERIOD

19:14: Alfredsson takes to the ice and is greeted with a standing ovation.

18:39: Chris Neil drops Kris Letang behind with a fine forecheck, but then goes too far by slugging Letang in the face. Neil is sent off for two minutes.

18:20: Marian Hossa gets a chance to get his first playoff goal. He gets behind the defense and fires a quick slapper that appears to miss the net. He needs to bury that. He's here to score those goals.

16:33: Pascal Dupuis chops a slapper from the right side. Gerber easily stops it.

16:20: Alfredsson leads a charge up ice and fires a wrister. Sergei Gonchar gets down to block it.

16:11: Max Talbot goes after a puck behind the Ottawa net and runs into Gerber.

15:47: The Penguins touch the puck and Talbot is escorted off the ice for goaltender interference.

15:43: Off the faceoff, Christoph Schubert fires a one-timer from the point. Fleury gets down and kicks it out.

15:05: Dany Heatley pumps a slapper on net. Rob Scuderi is able to deflect it out of play with his stick.

14:51: Stillman fires a slapper on net. Fleury makes the save. Alfredsson has a chance on the rebound. Fleury covers it up.

13:22: Dean McAmmond steals the puck off Hal Gill behind the net. He dishes it to Shean Donovan. Donovan gives it back and McAmmond fires a slapper. Fleury knocks it away.

13:10: Wade Redden fires a slapper from the left boards. Fleury eats it up. A small scrum ensues.

13:04: Heatley pounds a slapper from the left boards. Fleury makes the save. The rebound trickles just wide of the cage.

11:28: Nick Foligno charges towards the net. Before he can get a shot off, Gonchar does a nice job of rubbing him out of the play.

11:24: Alfredsson takes a pass from Jason Spezza. Alfredsson snaps off a quick wrister that Fleury kicks away.

10:53: "Fleurrrrrr-Eeeeeee! Fleurrrrr-Eeeeee!"

10:28: Jordan Staal sneaks a backhander on net. Gerber eats it up.

9:44: Just over 10 minutes into this game, Ottawa is out-shooting the Penguins, 11-5.

9:57: Sidney Crosby brings the puck up ice and is showered with boos.

9:45: Stillman enters the offensive zone and drives a slapper on net. Fleury easily absorbs it.

8:42: Gill and Martin Lapointe "race" for a loose puck behind the Penguins' net. That was like watching two PennDot employees trying to out-work each other.

8:40: Off the faceoff, Gill gets a quick slapper on net. Gerber seemingly didn't see it and just happened to save it by getting his arm on it.

7:06: Gonchar hammers Foligno into the boards.

5:05: Chris Phillips cross checks Dupuis in the face. No call.

4:46: In traffic Crosby is able to get a shot on net. Gerber knocks it down and covers it.

3:44: Shean Donovan is called for spelling his name funny. Two minutes.

3:07: Ryan Malone is all alone in front of the net. He lifts a shot but Gerber is able to swat it away.

2:50: Malkin pounds a slapper from the point. Gerber kicks it out.

2:21: Malkin tries to bring the puck into the offensive zone and gets popped in the face by McAmmond.

1:02: Alfredssson was hurt? He come flying up the right side and fires a slapper. Fleury has trouble with the rebound. The Senators jump on it. Fleury is able to hold it out.

0:32: Jarkko Ruutu makes a nifty re-direct play on a puck thrown at the net. Gerber says no.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 0, Senators 0.

-We don't know if it was Alfredsson's return, the fans in red, or something else, but the Senators are clearly a different team tonight. They have more energy, more passion, more fire. They're taking the attack to the Penguins.

-Alfredsson doesn't look like a guy who's been nursing various injuries.

-Ottawa is out-shooting the Penguins, 14-12.

-The Senators control the faceoff battle, 13-10.

-EN friend Matt Pesyna informs us that a broadcast of the game is available at channelsurfing.net.

-A reader writes:

"Gary Roberts isn't resting himself. He is allowing OTTAWA to rest from HIM!"

-Jennifer Nelson, Virginia

-Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey try to get on kiss cam:

kiss

-We think.

SECOND PERIOD

18:49: Spezza flips the puck up into the offensive zone. Foligno chases it down, tips it through Whitney's legs with a nifty move and rockets a shot through Fleury's five hole. What a play by Foligno. We think "Song 2" by Blur is played. Senators 1-0.

18:25: The Penguins almost get it back. On a give and go play with Petr Sykora, Malkin gets a laser off on Gerber who is up to the task and makes a save.

17:59: Talbot whips a wrister on net. Gerber knocks it down and covers the puck.

17:10: Crosby does something to Volchenkov off camera that gets a lot of people mad.

14:21: Hossa makes a nifty pass that gets Talbot behind Andrej Meszaros. Talbot charges to the net and juuuust waits long enough to sweep the puck through Gerber's five hole. Penguins 1, Senators 1.

12:59: Redden directs a puck on net. Fleury makes the save the rebound deflects out of play.

12:40: Brooks Oprik throws a shot on net. Gerber makes the save. Staal and Tyler Kennedy chop at it. No dice.

11:57: Spezza gets a shot on net. Fleury makes the save.

10:25: Martin Lapointe gets a backhander off. Fleury calmy makes the save.

9:45: Gonchar drops Foligno with another solid hit.

9:18: Gonchar slides through the defense with the puck. He holds it for about five or six seconds. Everyone in Pittsburgh screams, "Shooooooot!" He elects to makes a pass that gets broken up. Get a shot off!

8:03: Gerber covers a loose puck in the crease. Commodore pins Malkin for the three count. Neil is called for cross checking.

7:30: Crosby tries to avoid a check by doing a Jordan. He's called for traveling. Or offsides. One or the other.

7:18: Donovan charges up ice with the puck and gets by Malkin. Hossa makes a nice back check and strips the puck. Donovan gets it back and fires a shot from a bad angle. Fleury makes the save.

6:13: Sykora fires a shot into a mass of bodies in front of hte net. It hits something. Kennedy and Staal trie to dig at the rebound. Sykora grabs it and shoots it. Before it goes in the net, the official blows the play dead. Just about everyone is involved in some sort of confrontation. Somehow the Penguins will end up with a five-on-three power play. Gary Roberts can be seen sending what is surely the most dominant text message in the history of telecommunications on his phone.

5:52: Gonchar throws a shot on net. It hits a body or two then the goal post. Hossa has a chance to bury it, but Phillips jumps on it like a fat kid on cake.

3:12: Talbot directs a shot on net through traffic. Gerber is able kick it out.

3:01: Spezza gets a shot on net and Fleury fights it off.

2:29: Hossa falls over while trying to wrestle with Phillips for a puck. Phillips takes a dive trying to buy a penalty. No call.

1:59: Errey says "Well hopefully it's Ottawa shaking the Penguins hands this year and not the Penguins shaking Ottawa's hands." Huh?

1:25: Stillman gets a shot on net. Fleury eats it up.

1:15: Staal throws a puck on net. Gerber knocks it away with his shoulder.

1:00: Kennedy gets a shot on net. Despite traffic, Gerber is able to kick it out.

0:30: Brian Lee fires a shot from the point Fleury gloves it.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Senators 1.

-The Senators are edging the Penguins in shots, 27-26.

-Ottawa is dominating the faceoffs, 28-15.

-There's a picture of Dominik Hasek on the wall outside of Scotiabank Place? He played like half a year there. In 2005-06, he played in 43 games and missed the playoff due to an injury. That would be like the Penguins putting up a mural to Ron Tugnutt for the month he spent here.

-Mike Yeo gets some face time.

-The Penguins emerge from the tunnel. Most of them skate on the ice a bit to get warmed up. Rob Scuderi immediately takes his seat on the bench. It's almost as if Scuderi were afraid someone would steal his seat unless he claimed it first.

THIRD PERIOD

19:48: Its almost as if Crosby said, enough of this and took the lead. He comes up ice, kind of glances over to Hossa and blows a wrister stick side by a helpless Gerber. Simple. Clean. The fans in red are stunned. Penguins 2-1.

18:30: It looks like the rest of the Penguins are on board with Crosby's decree. Ruutu dumps it into the corner. Kennedy races down there and delivers a tape-to-tape pass in the crease to Staal. Staal lifts it over Gerber with a re-direct. The silence is stunning. Penguins 3-1.

18:14: Donovan throws the puck on net. Fleury holds it out.

17:53: Donovan charges into the net. Fleury gets knocked over. A scrum ensues. Gill shoves Donovan to the ice. Neil socks Gill in the face. Neil gets two minutes. What an idiot. He dug his team's hole a little deeper. A brief replay confirms no goal was scored.

17:03: Malkin leaves the ice with some sort of injury.

16:44: Malkin returns.

15:54: Ottawa keeps itself alive with a big penalty kill.

13:54: With a few bodies in this crease, Fleury is able to make two nice saves on Commodore.

13:48: The Senators need to score here. Whitney gets two minutes for holding.

13:11: Ottawa is falling apart. Staal lifts Heatley's stick. Heatley's stick then conks Staal in the face cutting him. Then Malone is tripped up by Stillman. Stillman gets called for hooking. Heatley gets a double-minor. The Stillman penalty is legit. Heatley's is bogus. The Senators got the raw end of that deal. The Penguins will end up with a four-on-three advantage for over 1:20.

12:38: Malkin comes streaking up ice and rifles a shot on net. Gerber eats it up.

11:49: Whitney's penalty ends. The Penguins will have a five-on-three for 37 seconds.

11:23: Michel Therrien calls a time out.

11:05: Malone chops at a puck in Gerber's equipment. It squeaks loose. Hossa jumps on it and buries it for his first playoff goal. Michel Ouellet would've been proud of that one. Penguins 4-1.

10:58: You can hear a half-hearted "Go Sens Go!"

9:04: Some folks in red begin to throw garbage on the ice. You stay classy Ottawa.

6:47: Alfredsson rifles a shot just wide of the net.

5:24: According to Steigerwald, a lot of Senators "fans" in the lower levels have left. What was up with those bongo drums they were playing before the faceoff?

4:01: Is it really necessary for FSN Pittsburgh to take up nearly a quarter of the screen with that Pirates advertisement during game play?

pirates

2:10: Lapointe sweeps a backhander on net. No dice.

0:00: End of game. Penguins 4, Senators 1.

POSTGAME

-The Senators came out of the gates running. Alfredsson and Spezza were showing a lot of guts by playing with injuries. The crowd had an energy. The Senators had all the momentum from the start. The Penguins withstood that storm and waited for Ottawa's adrenaline to wear off. Once that did, the Penguins took control of the game and all but claimed the series.

-Marian Hossa led all scorers with a goal and two assists. We were critical of the trade when it happened, but he has six points in three playoff games. We'd like to see him score more goals of the non-Ouelletian variety, but he's producing points.

-Marc-Andre Fleury has very quietly been a dominant player so far.

-Max Talbot led all skaters with five shots.

-The Penguins out-shot Ottawa, 38-34.

-Ottawa controlled the faceoffs, 35-25.

-Would it be wrong if we mentioned that the 1975 Penguins were the last team to lose a series despite being up 3-0?

-Game Summary.

-Event Summary.



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