for this game

Roberts, Fleury give Penguins early series lead

Apr 10, 2008 - 4:01 AM
PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Despite wearing a different uniform, Gary Roberts continues to haunt the Ottawa Senators.

Roberts scored twice, Evgeni Malkin added a goal and two assists and Marc-Andre Fleury made 26 saves as the Pittsburgh Penguins skated to a convincing 4-0 victory over the Senators on Wednesday in the opener of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.

Petr Sykora also tallied for the Penguins, who evened their all-time record to 11-11 in playoff series openers on home ice. Pittsburgh hosts Game Two on Friday.

"We had a good start for the series," Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien said. "We played a good game, a solid game. It was a good team effort. It was a great way to start the series."

Martin Gerber stopped 31 shots for Ottawa, which went 0-for-7 on the power play.

"Obviously, we got outplayed," Senators coach Bryan Murray said. "The first shift or the second shift of the game, they score a goal and it puts us in catch-up mode. We didn't get a lot of scoring chances. We had a few, but not many. The power-play situation could have been, should have been the key of the game, and we found a way to miss the net far too often."

"We've got to get the split here," Ottawa center Jason Spezza said. "When you go in as the underdog team, you've got to find a way to get the split. It would've been nice to have gotten it tonight, but we showed that we can play with them 5-on-5. Our special teams are what killed us tonight."

Seeking their first playoff series victory since 2001, the Penguins got on the scoreboard early. After grabbing a loose puck in the bottom of the slot, Roberts put a backhander past goaltender Gerber with his back to the net just 68 seconds into the contest for a 1-0 lead.

"I'm just trying to go to the net, and when Georges (Laraque) is behind the net, I know where to go," Roberts said. "I just happened to catch (Ottawa defenseman Wade) Redden still down on the ice, so I was fortunate to get position and just got a quick shot away. They're usually not very pretty for me, so I'll take it any way I can get it."

"He does it year after year, and I don't think we're surprised," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "He's a warrior. He's been doing it for a long time."

Therrien echoed Crosby's sentiments about Roberts.

"He is the type of guy that made a name for himself by being a warrior in the playoffs," Therrien said. "He only played one game before tonight in the last three months. The way that he played tonight will be good for his confidence, too, because it is never easy."

For the 41-year-old Roberts, who returned to the lineup for the regular-season finale after missing 43 games with a broken leg, it was the 13th goal and 22nd point in 24 career postseason contests against the Senators while with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The veteran, who added his 14th tally vs. Ottawa late in the third, has 32 goals in 120 playoff games overall.

"Obviously, the adrenaline of being back in Game One and playing at home and the playoffs helps," Roberts said. "Hopefully, I'll feel as good tomorrow as I do right now."

"He feels good against us," Redden said. "It seems he just gets to the net. He's a guy that competes and battles, and good things seem to happen to him when he does that."

Pittsburgh doubled its advantage with 7:32 remaining in the first period. Leading a 2-on-1 rush after chipping the puck past defenseman Mike Commodore, Malkin made a cross-slot pass to Sykora, who fired the puck inside the right goalpost from the right faceoff circle for his 27th career postseason goal and a 2-0 bulge.

The Penguins nearly added to the lead midway through the second, but Gerber made a fantastic glove save on former Senator Marian Hossa from the slot with 9:26 to go.

Moments earlier, Ottawa defenseman Anton Volchenkov was hit in the head by a slap shot by Malkin and remained on the ice before being attended to by the team trainer. With blood trickling from his forehead, Volchenkov held a towel against the wound, retreated to the locker room to receive stitches and did not return.

Ottawa was unable to halve the deficit despite several power-play opportunities in the period, including a 5-on-3 advantage for 57 seconds. The Senators also had a number of chances with the extra skater in the third, including another two-man advantage, but were unable to get anything past Fleury.

"Five-on-3s are opportunities you don't get very often, and you've got to score," Spezza said. "We moved the puck around pretty good, we had some good chances. We missed the net just a little bit too much and Marc-Andre made a few saves."

"Our special teams obviously cost us the game," Ottawa's Dany Heatley added. "Five-on-3s have got to be the turning point of the game. I think that's the key, just getting shots through. Our whole 5-on-3 is set up just to keep things simple and get one-timers and shots from up top. It's something that we just have to work on and take advantage of."

Crosby was disappointed with the fact his team took so many penalties.

"If there's anything we want to change, I think it's be a little more disciplined, especially in the second half (of the game)," the superstar said. "We had the 2-0 lead and we wanted to get that third one, but you don't give yourself a chance if you're in the penalty box. They have a dangerous power play."

The first overall pick of the 2003 draft, Fleury made eight saves in the first period, 10 in the second and eight in the third en route to his first career postseason shutout.

"I think the guys did an awesome job," said Fleury, praising his teammates instead of taking credit for the blanking. "I know our defensemen blocked a couple of shots."

"For the last 15 games, he has been the best goalie in the National Hockey League, so I am not surprised," Therrien said. "He gave us a chance to win."

Malkin erased any hopes of a comeback with 6:02 left in the period, converting a return pass from defenseman Ryan Whitney for his first career playoff goal. Roberts completed the scoring with 95 seconds remaining, when Malkin's pass from along the end line on the right side caromed off his left skate and into the net.

"I didn't have a lot of jump in my legs out there," Roberts said. "I just tried to be in the right place at the right time."

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson missed the game with a knee injury. The veteran Swede had appeared in all of the previous 99 playoff contests in club history.








  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTTAWA 0 0 0 0
    PITTSBURGH 2 0 2 4 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - GARY ROBERTS 1 (GEORGES LARAQUE, MAXIME TALBOT) 1:08
    PIT - PETR SYKORA 1 (EVGENI MALKIN) 12:28
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: PIT - EVGENI MALKIN 1 (RYAN WHITNEY, RYAN MALONE) 13:58
    PIT - (PP) GARY ROBERTS 2

    Apr 9 9:54 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL OTTAWA 0
    PITTSBURGH 4
    3RD PRD: PIT - (PP) GARY ROBERTS 2 (EVGENI MALKIN, MARIAN HOSSA) 18:25

    Senators 0, Penguins 4  3rd - 1:35Apr 9 9:48 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL OTTAWA 0
    PITTSBURGH 3
    3RD PRD: PIT - EVGENI MALKIN 1 (RYAN WHITNEY, RYAN MALONE) 13:58

    Senators 0, Penguins 3  3rd - 6:02Apr 9 9:35 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTTAWA 0 0 0
    PITTSBURGH 2 0 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - GARY ROBERTS 1 (GEORGES LARAQUE, MAXIME TALBOT) 1:08
    PIT - PETR SYKORA 1 (EVGENI MALKIN) 12:28
    2ND PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTT 8 10

    Apr 9 8:49 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTTAWA 0 0
    PITTSBURGH 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: PIT - GARY ROBERTS 1 (GEORGES LARAQUE, MAXIME TALBOT) 1:08
    PIT - PETR SYKORA 1 (EVGENI MALKIN) 12:28
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    OTT 8 8
    PI

    Apr 9 7:48 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL OTTAWA 0
    PITTSBURGH 2
    1ST PRD: PIT - PETR SYKORA 1 (EVGENI MALKIN) 12:28

    Senators 0, Penguins 2  1st - 7:32Apr 9 7:34 PM


  • PLAYOFFS
    NHL OTTAWA 0
    PITTSBURGH 1
    1ST PRD: PIT - GARY ROBERTS 1 (GEORGES LARAQUE, MAXIME TALBOT) 1:08

    Senators 0, Penguins 1  1st - 18:52Apr 9 7:15 PM
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