for this game

Staal, Crosby help Penguins even quarterfinals

Apr 15, 2007 - 3:03 AM
OTTAWA (Ticker) -- Rookie Jordan Staal and super sophomore Sidney Crosby proved one game of playoff experience was enough.

Staal forged a tie at 9:34 of the third period and Crosby snapped it just over two minutes later as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators, tying their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at one game apiece.

Veteran Gary Roberts had a goal and an assist and defenseman Sergei Gonchar set up two tallies for Pittsburgh, which hosts Game Three on Sunday.

"We're confident," Crosby said. "I don't think it's going to change the way we play going into the next game. ... There's always motivation in the playoffs, but when you're at home, it's always nice to get that extra kick. We'll definitely have that from our fans."

While being thoroughly beaten in Wednesday's series opener, the Penguins resembled a team that had 14 players making their postseason debuts. Just three days later, they looked like a seasoned playoff club.

"In the first (game), we were just waiting for the play and seeing how it would feel," Crosby said. "This game was a lot different feeling. We knew what to expect. We tried to start out better and be more physical and try to create more."

Trailing by a goal after two periods, Pittsburgh pulled even two minutes into the third on the 40-year-old Roberts' power-play tally. Chris Kelly answered for Ottawa at 6:18, scoring his second of the postseason for a 3-2 lead, but the Penguins' teenagers proceeded to grab center stage.

Staal, 18, netted his second playoff goal midway through the session to knot the contest. The youngest player in NHL history to win the Art Ross Trophy, the 19-year-old Crosby followed with his second tally 2:10 afterward, giving Pittsburgh an impressive comeback triumph.

Defenseman Ryan Whitney also scored and 20-year-old Russian Evgeni Malkin added two assists for the Penguins, who were outshot, 37-21.

Captain Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza each had a goal and an assist for Ottawa, which fell to 11-34 all-time in the playoffs when allowing the first tally.

"We played a little bit tentatively as evidenced by them getting a goal on their first shot," Senators coach Bryan Murray said. "That's hockey sometimes. You play good hockey and the other team does better. ... We didn't score enough to put them away and then they had a great third period."

Whitney opened the scoring at 3:01 of the first period, unleashing a one-timer from the blue line that deflected off Ottawa defenseman Chris Phillips' skate and past goaltender Ray Emery during a power play.

Spezza drew Ottawa even 8 1/2 minutes into the second, backhanding a loose puck in the slot by netminder Marc-Andre Fleury for his seventh career postseason goal.

The Senators, who dropped to 0-7 in Game Twos after winning the opener of a series, went 0-for-3 with the man advantage in the opening session. They failed to score on their first two chances in the second but finally broke through with 3:16 to go.

From the left faceoff circle, Spezza completed a cross-slot pass to Dany Heatley. Second in the league with 50 goals during the regular season, Heatley dished to Alfredsson, who converted from alone on the left side of the net for his 30th career playoff tally and a 2-1 lead.

Ottawa outshot Pittsburgh, 19-5, in the middle period.

"The coach let us know in the room that he wasn't happy," Staal said. "It's one of those things. 'If we want to win, why aren't we playing so hard?'"

"We didn't give ourselves a chance (in the second)," Crosby added. "We got caught running around a lot. We weren't disciplined. We took a lot of penalties, which isn't characteristic of our team."

Pittsburgh regrouped during the second intermission and forged a tie early in the third when Roberts buried a rebound at 2:04.

"Bringing Gary in (at the trade deadline) was a huge lift for the hockey club," Pittsburgh's Mark Recchi said. "He's the ultimate competitor and warrior in hockey."

The Penguins nearly moved ahead with 17 1/2 minutes to go, but Patrick Eaves cleared a rolling puck just before it crossed the goal line.

Kelly put Ottawa in front less than three minutes later, beating Fleury to the stick side with a wrist shot from the slot. But Staal converted a pass from behind the net by Michel Ouellet, and Crosby deposited a cross-slot feed by Recchi past Emery from the right side of the net shortly thereafter to give Pittsburgh a 4-3 edge.

"I just tried to go to the far post," Crosby said. "The puck was in the air a bit, so I just tried to get my stick on it. It went off the shaft and right in."

"We didn't get back into good coverage," Murray said. "Both defensemen thought they had the high man and didn't cover Crosby. It was just a mix-up. Crosby went to the net and it was a great pass by Recchi."

A teammate of his brother Eric with the Stanley Cup champion Carolina Hurricanes last year, Recchi drew the praise of the younger Staal.

"It was a bit of a 3-on-2 where Recchi made a great pass," Jordan Staal said. "He's a key player for us. It was a huge goal. It's very big for us to be able to come back like that."

Ottawa continued its attempt to knot the game, getting off seven shots the rest of the way. But Fleury stopped them all, including Mike Fisher's wrister with 15 seconds remaining, to send the Penguins home with a win.

"Their guy threw it out front and I was able to get my pad on it to keep it out of the net," said the 22-year-old Fleury, who finished with 34 saves. "I just wanted to be able to make some key saves, and I knew if I could do that, we could score a couple of goals and win."

"He got a pad on it or something," Fisher said. "I just didn't get it up high enough. But still, he made a good save."

The play of Fleury, who was pulled in the series opener, also impressed his coach and teammates.

"Marc-Andre was the difference tonight," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. "He made some key saves for us and gave us the chance to win the game. He was really solid, especially at the end. I'm glad for him the way he responded."

"He did a great job giving us big saves, especially with 15 seconds left, he made a big save there," Crosby said. "That's what you need in the playoffs from your goalie. He did it tonight, and he did it last game, too. We weren't good in front of him (in Game One), so it was good for him to get the win. He deserved it."






  • 20
    roots
    burger1717 Added 5 roots

    Penguins vs. SenatorsApr 14 8:58 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 1 0 3 4
    OTTAWA 0 2 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - (PP) RYAN WHITNEY 1 (SERGEI GONCHAR, SIDNEY CROSBY)
    3:01
    2ND PRD: OTT - JASON SPEZZA 1 (ANTON VOLCHENKOV) 8:28
    OTT - (PP) DANIEL ALFREDSSON 1 (DANY HEATLEY, JASON SPEZZA)
    16:44
    3RD PRD: PIT - (PP) G

    Apr 14 6:01 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    ------------------------------------
    Pittsburgh 1 0 3 --4
    Ottawa 0 2 1 --3
    ------------------------------------

    Shots on goal:
    ---------------------------------------
    Pittsburgh 5 5 11 --21
    Ottawa 6 19 12 --37
    ---------------------------------------

    Goalies : Pittsburgh, Marc-Andre Fleury (37 shots, 34 saves). Otta

    Apr 14 6:00 PM
  • 15
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 15 roots

    Penguins vs. SenatorsApr 14 5:50 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 4
    OTTAWA 3
    3RD PRD: PIT - SIDNEY CROSBY 2 (MARK RECCHI, EVGENI MALKIN) 11:44

    Penguins vs. SenatorsApr 14 5:39 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 3
    OTTAWA 3
    3RD PRD: PIT - JORDAN STAAL 2 (MICHEL OUELLET, GARY ROBERTS) 9:34

    Penguins vs. SenatorsApr 14 5:34 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 2
    OTTAWA 3
    3RD PRD: OTT - CHRIS KELLY 2 (DEAN MCAMMOND, ANDREJ MESZAROS) 6:18

    Penguins vs. SenatorsApr 14 5:27 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 2
    OTTAWA 2
    3RD PRD: PIT - (PP) GARY ROBERTS 1 (SERGEI GONCHAR, EVGENI MALKIN)
    2:04

    Penguins vs. SenatorsApr 14 5:20 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 1 0 1
    OTTAWA 0 2 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - (PP) RYAN WHITNEY 1 (SERGEI GONCHAR, SIDNEY CROSBY)
    3:01
    2ND PRD: OTT - JASON SPEZZA 1 (ANTON VOLCHENKOV) 8:28
    OTT - (PP) DANIEL ALFREDSSON 1 (DANY HEATLEY, JASON SPEZZA)
    16:44
    SHOTS ON

    Apr 14 4:56 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 1
    OTTAWA 2
    2ND PRD: OTT - (PP) DANIEL ALFREDSSON 1 (DANY HEATLEY, JASON SPEZZA)
    16:44

    Penguins vs. SenatorsApr 14 4:52 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PITTSBURGH 1
    OTTAWA 1
    2ND PRD: OTT - JASON SPEZZA 1 (ANTON VOLCHENKOV) 8:28

    Penguins vs. SenatorsApr 14 4:33 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 1 1
    OTTAWA 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - (PP) RYAN WHITNEY 1 (SERGEI GONCHAR, SIDNEY CROSBY)
    3:01
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PIT 5 5
    OTT 6 6
    GOALIES: PIT

    Apr 14 4:00 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL PLAYOFFS
    PITTSBURGH 1
    OTTAWA 0 15:42 LEFT, 1ST PRD

    Penguins vs. SenatorsApr 14 3:29 PM