The Penguins were determined to make a statement against the Ottawa Senators last Wednesday, and that’s exactly what they did. Pittsburgh took control of the game early and never looked back on their way to a 1-0 series lead.
Gary Roberts and Petr Sykora scored first period goals for the Penguins in setting the pace for the rest of the game. Roberts started off the scoring at 1:08 into the game which sent the already electrified crowd into a frenzy. Sykora’s goal came with 7:32 remaining in the period and put the Penguins up 2-0.
Everyone remembers what happen last season when the Senators and Penguins met in the first round. Behind Daniel Alfredsson and Ray Emery, the Ottawa Senators embarrassed the Penguins four games to one.
“They embarrassed us last year,” Penguins left winger Gary Roberts said. “I think we learned our lesson.”
The Senators are without star Daniel Alfredsson for the series, and Ray Emery has been reduced to the back-up role behind Martin Gerber. The Senators put up a valiant effort without key players, but were stonewalled by Marc-Andre Fleury. Ottawa managed to fire 26 shots on Fleury, but he was up to the task, stopping all 26 for his first ever postseason shutout.
Ottawa was given just about every opportunity to keep up with the Penguins including two five-on-three power plays. Fleury, though, was too tough; the Senators were 0-4 on the power play.
“He was amazing,” Penguins forward Maxime Talbot said of Fleury. “That’s great for him. And great for us.”
The game featured a lot of physical play from both teams. A total of 72 penalty minutes were handed out with Pittsburgh receiving 29 and Ottawa receiving 43. Ottawa’s Wade Redden and Pittsburgh’s Ryan Whitney dropped the gloves in the third with frustration mounting on Ottawa’s side.
Penguins star sensation Sidney Crosby was held pointless, but Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh’s other star sensation, added a goal and two assists. Pittsburgh finally pulled away in the third period with goals from Malkin and Roberts’ second of the game. When the final horn had sounded, the sellout crowd of 17,132 was treated to a Penguins victory and a 1-0 series lead.