for this game

Senators teach young Penguins playoff lesson

Apr 12, 2007 - 4:45 AM OTTAWA (Ticker) -- Penalties and playoff inexperience finally caught up to Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Defenseman Tom Preissing and Dany Heatley scored power-play goals and tough guy Chris Neil recorded a tally and an assist as the Ottawa Senators posted a 6-3 victory over the Penguins in the opener of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Peter Schaefer and blue-liners Joe Corvo and Anton Volchenkov had two assists apiece for the Senators, who host Game Two on Saturday.

Making their first playoff appearance since 2001, the Penguins successfully killed a pair of 5-on-3 disadvantages in the first period. But they were unable to withstand the Senators' attack in the middle session as Preissing cashed in during a power play with just under 5 1/2 minutes to go, giving Ottawa a 3-0 lead.

"We really did a good job of jumping on them early," Senators center Jason Spezza said. "We wanted to sustain the pressure throughout the first period. We accomplished that, and if we can do that most nights, it gives us a good chance to win."

"Ottawa was faster and more intense than us," Crosby said. "We got caught watching a little bit instead of setting the tone. We didn't bring our best. We have a lot more to show."

After rookie Jordan Staal got Pittsburgh on the board late in the second, Heatley tallied during a man advantage early in the third, restoring the three-goal bulge just two seconds before Crosby's hooking infraction expired. Ottawa finished 2-for-6 on the power play.

Heatley scored four goals in as many games against the Penguins during the regular season.

Getting his first taste of the postseason, Crosby appeared to have answered less than 90 seconds later. But his goal was waved off after replay officials decided he intentionally kicked in the puck while in the crease.

"They said it was a kicking motion," Crosby said. "I tried to hit it with my stick, but I missed. I thought it hit my shin pad. It's a tough one to take. (Referee Paul) Devorski was right there. When they overruled the goal, I was surprised."

The Senators took control thereafter as Neil scored on a breakaway at 5:39 and Mike Comrie tallied just under three minutes later for a commanding 6-1 advantage. The tally chased goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who stopped 30-of-36 shots in his playoff debut.

"Fleury played well and gave us a chance to stay in the game early on," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "The positive thing is that the first game is under the belt for a lot of the guys. It was the first game in the NHL playoffs for many."

"We can't put it on Fleury," Crosby added. "He kept us in it."

Defenseman Andrej Meszaros and Chris Kelly also scored for Ottawa, which improved to 8-7 in series openers.

"I felt if we controlled the puck, that would be a very important aspect of this game," Senators coach Bryan Murray said. "I thought we had the puck a lot, especially against their top line, and we matched up against them well."

Crosby added a late power-play goal and blue-liner Sergei Gonchar had a tally and an assist for the Penguins, who fell to 3-9 in Game Ones on the road.

"There's no excuse because it's the first game for a lot of the guys," Crosby said. "We had some penalty trouble and didn't get many shots."

Battling a case of the jitters, Fleury surrendered a goal by Meszaros just 97 seconds into the game, failing to control a rebound near the left goalpost before watching the defenseman blast a slap shot from the left point past him while sprawled on the ice.

The 2003 first overall pick made a big stop on blue-liner Christoph Schubert during a shorthanded 2-on-1 rush three minutes later, but Kelly gave Ottawa a 2-0 lead at 6:38, grabbing a loose puck in the slot and ripping it past Fleury for his first career playoff tally.

"It all started with a great play by Preissing to keep the puck in and get it to Chris Neil," Kelly said. "Neil passed it to me and I went behind the net and got it out to Joe Corvo. He took a shot and their defenseman kind of went down on all fours. He was just lying there and it gave me some room to just get it in."

Defenseman Mark Eaton helped out Fleury with 8:19 to go in the opening period, dropping to the ice to deny a shot by Heatley at the right post during a full two-minute 5-on-3 as the netminder was out of position. Pittsburgh was outshot, 16-4, in the opening session.

"They really came out strong in the first, which we weren't prepared for, but it's a seven-game series," said Pittsburgh's Mark Recchi, who had two assists. "We will learn from it. The guys are disappointed, but it's a process we have to keep working."

Preissing fired the puck over Fleury's left shoulder from the right faceoff dot with 5:22 left in the second to expand the Senators' advantage.

"I had enough time that I got my head up to take a look," Preissing said. "I wasn't really sure I was even going to shoot it. It looked like the goalie hadn't pushed over to my side yet, so I just shot it and was lucky enough for it to go in."

Staal jammed in the puck at the right post 2:20 later to draw the Penguins within 3-1. But Heatley tapped in the puck from the top of the crease nine seconds into the third and, after Crosby's tally was disallowed, Neil received a breakout pass from defenseman Wade Redden and flipped a backhander past Fleury after a nifty deke to make it 5-1.

"Redds definitely gave me a great pass," Neil said. "I gave him a little holler. He saw me, hit me with it and it was great. The move to the backhand seems to catch the goalies off-guard because they're expecting a forehand shot. You don't normally get a lot on your backhand, but it's something I've been working on in trying to get the puck up high."








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 1 2 3
    OTTAWA 2 1 3 6 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: OTT - ANDREJ MESZAROS 1 (MIKE FISHER, PETER SCHAEFER) 1:37
    OTT - CHRIS KELLY 1 (JOE CORVO, CHRIS NEIL) 6:38
    2ND PRD: OTT - (PP) TOM PREISSING 1 (JASON SPEZZA, JOE CORVO) 14:38
    PIT - JORDAN STAAL 1 (MAXIME T

    Apr 11 9:58 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 3
    OTTAWA 6
    3RD PRD: PIT - (PP) SIDNEY CROSBY 1 (SERGEI GONCHAR, MARK RECCHI)
    19:11 (WITH EXTRA ATTACKER)

    Penguins vs. SenatorsApr 11 9:49 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 2
    OTTAWA 6
    3RD PRD: PIT - (PP) SERGEI GONCHAR 1 (EVGENI MALKIN, MARK RECCHI)
    12:42

    Penguins vs. SenatorsApr 11 9:36 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 1
    OTTAWA 6
    3RD PRD: OTT - MIKE COMRIE 1 (PETER SCHAEFER, ANTON VOLCHENKOV) 8:22

    Penguins vs. SenatorsApr 11 9:27 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 1
    OTTAWA 5
    3RD PRD: OTT - CHRIS NEIL 1 (WADE REDDEN) 5:39

    Penguins vs. SenatorsApr 11 9:21 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 1
    OTTAWA 4
    3RD PRD: OTT - (PP) DANY HEATLEY 1 (DANIEL ALFREDSSON, ANTON
    VOLCHENKOV) 0:09

    Penguins vs. SenatorsApr 11 9:07 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 1 1
    OTTAWA 2 1 3 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: OTT - ANDREJ MESZAROS 1 (MIKE FISHER, PETER SCHAEFER) 1:37
    OTT - CHRIS KELLY 1 (JOE CORVO, CHRIS NEIL) 6:38
    2ND PRD: OTT - (PP) TOM PREISSING 1 (JASON SPEZZA, JOE CORVO) 14:38
    PIT - JORDAN STAA

    Apr 11 8:48 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 1
    OTTAWA 3
    2ND PRD: PIT - JORDAN STAAL 1 (MAXIME TALBOT, RYAN WHITNEY) 16:58

    Penguins vs. SenatorsApr 11 8:43 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 0
    OTTAWA 3
    2ND PRD: OTT - (PP) TOM PREISSING 1 (JASON SPEZZA, JOE CORVO) 14:38

    Penguins vs. SenatorsApr 11 8:37 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 0
    OTTAWA 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: OTT - ANDREJ MESZAROS 1 (MIKE FISHER, PETER SCHAEFER) 1:37
    OTT - CHRIS KELLY 1 (JOE CORVO, CHRIS NEIL) 6:38
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PIT 4

    Apr 11 7:52 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 0
    OTTAWA 2
    1ST PRD: OTT - CHRIS KELLY 1 (JOE CORVO, CHRIS NEIL) 6:38

    Penguins vs. SenatorsApr 11 7:22 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 0
    OTTAWA 1
    1ST PRD: OTT - ANDREJ MESZAROS 1 (MIKE FISHER, PETER SCHAEFER) 1:37

    Penguins vs. SenatorsApr 11 7:14 PM