AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. — All the coaches went home this afternoon, but not before stopping and chatting with us for a little bit. The athletic directors will stick around for tomorrow, which is when any votes will take place. With that, here's a rundown from today at the Ritz...
- Paul Chryst was at last year's ACC meetings, but this year's had a little bit more immediacy since the Panthers will be joining the ACC this season. He said that, while the coaches are only tangentially involved with most big-picture discussion, he likes the direction the league is heading. "It's impressive and energizing when they explain to you what [the grant of rights] really means," Chryst said. "We talk about the footprint of the ACC, the number of households it reaches. The growth or the projected growth of the region is. In that way, it sure seems like things are positioned well. Absolutely there's energy. It seems like through the stability there's some energy to it."
- Chryst also spoke about Pitt's future football rivalries. While the move to the ACC has many positives, Pitt doesn't really have a natural rival in the conference. For that matter, the Panthers haven't had one in any sense since West Virginia came off the schedule. Chryst isn't a guy who spends a lot of time thinking about rivalries or anything other than the next game he has to coach, but he thinks Pitt will develop some good series within the ACC, as well as the upcoming games against Penn State. "The one thing I do believe is there's plenty of really good teams that can get our players to bring a lot of energy to those games," Chryst said. "And rivalries kind of come out of playing, having good games with teams, games that matter. I don't think we're short of rivalry opportunities." As for that West Virginia rivalry, Chryst said he certainly understood how spirited it was (he was a gradutate assistant for the Mountaineers in 1989 and '90) and wouldn't be opposed to seeing the series revived. "I appreciate what it is," Chryst said. "Now how it fits, it was a lot different climate then. Both were independent. Now you've got two different conferences, that's not going to be a lead concern of mine right now." From the feelings I've gotten around the athletic department, restarting the West Virginia series is very, very low on Pitt's priority list. They would much prefer extending the long-term series with Penn State. The ACC is sticking with an eight-game schedule, though, which opens up a non-conference spots in years when Notre Dame isn't on the schedule (assuming one FCS opponent, one MAC-level opponent and Penn State). I think Steve Pederson would like to avoid playing West Virginia and Penn State in the same year, so we'll see what happens.
- One of the more interesting ideas I've heard floated around down here is the concept of a rotating bowl schedule, in which bowl spots would move around within a conference and possibly even between different conferences. This would be aimed at avoiding rematches, preventing teams from going to the same bowl year after year (helllooooooo, Birmingham). Pederson said his ultimate goal would be a system where conference commissioners could work with bowl executives to create the most appealing matchups, like the Backyard Brawl in New York last year that never came to fruition. "There are some very logical types of matchups that could happen if the system allows it to happen," Pederson said.
- Pederson deferred to ACC commissioner John Swofford when asked about his thoughts on a potential ACC Network, but was effusive in his praise for Swofford and how he has guided the conference through the morass of realignment. "I think the opportunities for us are limitless," Pederson said. "He's done such a good job guiding us through all of this and taking the right next steps that I think as we explore what future next steps, I think there are going to be a lot of opportunities. I think right now we need to keep this open-ended and get to the right answer here."
- Pitt basketball coach Jamie Dixon said there was some (though it sounded minimal) discussion about re-raising the idea of a $2,000 stipend for student-athletes. The NCAA originally passed a rule approving the stipend, but it was then overturned by a majority of its member institutions. It sounds like Pitt, as an institution, is very much in favor of the stipend. "Pitt, Steve [Pederson] has been on the forefront of that," Dixon said. "He's really been on the forefront of that and been supportive of that."
- Clemson coach Dabo Swinney spoke about the ACC's perception as the lowest conference of the so-called Power Five. In short, he doesn't agree with it. "There's a perception that you would thing the ACC is like the bottom [feeders], and that's so far from reality," Swinney said. "The SEC has been top shelf, they've earned that through getting it done on the field. We're right behind the SEC in recruiting, we're right behind the SEC in developing our players to the NFL, we're right behind the SEC in Pro Bowlers. Yet we're tops of all conferences academically." Swinney was blunt when asked what the ACC can do to improve its reputation. "You've gotta win!" he said. "It's not rocket science." Swinney was asked if he agreed with Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops' comments that the SEC was essentially a top-heavy conference where its leaders benefited from a weak bottom. "I think the SEC's earned everything they've got," Swinney said. "The SEC has earned it, period. They've produced a champion. Yeah, now like I said, there's been three or four dominant teams in that league where somebody's carried the baton. It's like the 4x100, somebody's carrying the baton. We haven't had anybody carry the baton yet, but hopefully we can get that going. You're never going to have all your teams being dominant in any given year." And, finally, what it's like playing against an SEC team, where every game turns into a referendum on your league versus the ESS-EEE-SEE (Clemson beat LSU, 25-24, in the Chick-fil-A Bowl this year). "You'd think we were getting ready to play 14 teams," Swinney said. "Those are the three letters I was worried about, 'L-S-U' not 'S-E-C.' Yet the perception, because y'all [the media] and the TV people, it's 'We're going to play the SEC.'"
- Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick spoke after the meetings today about his school's new place in the league. Here are a few choice sections... On the ACC being the highest-rated academic BCS conference: "A lot of concern about missed class days, for example, the schedule. Stuff schools really care about. We have an incredibly rigorous missed class policy at Notre Dame, our kids can only miss three classes in a semester, so we have to schedule that way. This is a pretty good environment to be having that conversation in." On the grant of rights deal: "We came in not assuming that it would and we had confidence in the conference. I think the reasons to be a member of this conference are compelling. But certainly it's an added benefit, if you will. For us, it was almost the broader implications for the collegiate sports industry. I think our industry was paying a price, as we all recognize, for all for all of the movement that was going on, and I think the impact of that on the broader industry. I think we are going to have a period of significant stability, and that's really a good thing. That's the way we most thought about it, not that the ACC presented some risk without it.
- Swarbrick had a lot to say about the possibility of the ACC playing a game or series of games overseas in Europe. It's something that Swofford has raised before, and Swarbrick knows firsthand. Notre Dame beat Navy 50-10 in Dublin to open this season. "I think it ranks at the very top of the experiences I've had at the university," Swarbrick said. "It was remarkable. Our student athletes had a great time. It was interesting because I would tell you they were probably reluctant when we boarded the plane. Not sure they wanted to be there. To a person, they just loved it. There's a lot of magic in what happened over there in those days. It's a great thing for American universities to do, so many of them have overseas campuses. It's really great for football. There's a real curiosity about football, especially college athletics. The college athletic model doesn't transfer in Europe or Asia, which is all club-based." And what were the most common questions Dubliners had for Swarbrick about American college football? "The two questions I got all the time in my time there was, one, about the size of the players, because they just didn't translate. They were assuming it was a metric conversion problem, but no they really are that big. The other was cheerleaders. They don't have them. They asked, 'Why do you have them? How do you pick them? What's the deal? Can you leave some behind?'"
And that's all for today. Like I said, the coaches are all gone but the ADs will meet tomorrow and vote on any topics. I don't expect any ground-breaking decisions to come out of tomorrow, but Swofford will brief the media on any results after they're done.
Blackhawks Injuries: Forward Dave Bolland (groin) is probable. Goaltender Ray Emery (lower body) is questionable.
Red Wings Injuries: Right winger Mikael Samuelsson (chest) are questionable. Defenseman Danny DeKeyser (thumb) and left winger Drew Miller (hand) is out. Center Darren Helm (back) is on injured reserve.
Blackhawks with Stanley Cup bling: Bryan Bickell, LW; Dave Bolland, C; Corey Crawford, G; Niklas Hjalmarsson, D; Marian Hossa, RW; Patrick Kane, RW; Duncan Keith, D; Brent Seabrook, D; Patrick Sharp, LW; Jonathan Toews, C.
Red Wings with Stanley Cup bling: Justin Abdelkader, LW; Daniel Cleary, RW; Pavel Datsyuk (below), C; Jonathan Ericsson, D; Valtteri Filppula, C; Johan Franzen, LW; Darren Helm, C; Jimmy Howard, G; Jakub Kindl, D; Niklas Kronwall, D; Kyle Quincey, D; Mikael Samuelsson, RW.
Something worthwhile about the Blackhawks: The Blackhawks have killed 100 percent of the power plays they have faced this postseason.
Something worthwhile about the Red Wings: At 72.0 percent, the Red Wings have the worst penalty kill percentage of any team still alive in the postseason.
Something useless about the Blackhawks that is vaguely connected to the Penguins: The first home playoff shutout against the Penguins was recorded by Blackhawks Gary Smith. He made 31 saves in a 2-0 win in Game 3 of a 1972 quartefinal series at the Civic Arena.
Something useless about the Red Wings that is vaguely connected to the Penguins: Former Penguins captain Paul Coffey holds the Red Wings' postseason record for most assists in a series. He recorded nine against the Blackhawks in a 1993 Norris Division semifinal series.
Former Penguins on the Blackhawks: Denis Bonvie, professional scout; Scotty Bowman, senior advisor - hockey operations; Daniel Carcillo, LW (Carcillo was a Penguins prospect but never played for the club at the NHL level); Marian Hossa, RW; Norm Maciver, assistant general manager; Michal Rozsival, D.
Former Penguins on the Red Wings: Mikael Samuelsson, RW.
Who needs to be the difference for the Blackhawks: Duncan Keith, Keith Seabrook, Niklas Hjalmarsson, etc. The Red Wings get most of their offense from their two star players, Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. The Blackhawks' blue line must clamp down on Zetterberg and Datsyuk to choke off Detroit's offense.
Who needs to be the difference for the Red Wings: Howard. Few teams can boast the depth up front that the Blackhawks have. Detroit's undermanned blue line will surely give up several quality scoring chances. Howard simply has to steal goals and games for his team to win.
Best Blackhawks YouTube Video We Could Find: Former Blackhawks defenseman Chris Chelios blowing a slapper by the glove hand of Maple Leafs goaltender Felix Potvin in Game 3 of a 1995 Western Conference quarterfinal series and also blowing up a net camera in the process:
Best Red Wings YouTube Video We Could Find: Former Red Wings center Steve Yzerman's overtime goal in the second overtime of 1-0 win in Game 7 of a 1996 Western Conference semifnal series against the Blues:
EN Prediction: Short of the Penguins, no one in the NHL has the depth to match the Blackhawks. The Red Wings enter this series dealing with some injuries on the blue line and that will make the task of handling the Blackhawks stacked crew of forwards nearly impossible. Blackhawks 4-1.
-Dave Molinari's recap from last night's game. "We talked about special teams being huge in the playoffs. And it paid off tonight." - Pascal Dupuis.
-The Ottawa Citizen's recap. Senators defenseman Eric Gryba left the game in the second period due to an "upper-body" injury.
-The Associated Press' recap. "It's not just 5-on-5, it's not just scoring goals. He's an outstanding penalty killer and he did that again tonight. He scored the goal on the PK, but his work on the PK was just as impressive." - Dan Bylsma on Pascal Dupuis.
-Greetings on a somewhat overcast day in Pittsburgh. It's cloudy and in the mid 60s. It's not a stellar day but after having a frost warning overnight, this is a step up.
-The Penguins open an Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Senators tonight. It's the fourth playoff series in seven seasons between these two teams. But it's the first time either team has been past the quarterfinal round in quite a few years. The Penguins last visited this round in 2010, after beating the Senators in the quarterfinals. The Senators' last trip to the quarterfinals was during the 2007 run to the Stanley Cup final.
-We're not sure what to make out of this series primarily because the Senators are a tough team to figure out. They defy convention in so many ways. They made the postseason despite injuries to vital players such as Craig Anderson, Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson and Jared Cowen. Yet, here they are in the second round.
-The Senators have a lot of depth. They might not have nearly as hype of a lineup as the Penguins, but they can throw a lot of speed and skill at you up front. On the blue line, they have a nice group of top six defenders which might be deeper than the Penguins' group of defensemen.
-The biggest question mark is Anderson. Is he the player who shut down a struggling Canadiens team in the quarterfinal round or is he the player the Penguins have routinely picked apart in his career. If Anderson shows up, this series could go either way. If not, the Penguins will have an easy road to the Eastern Conference final.
-The Penguins won their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Islanders largly because they overwhelmed a skilled but hardly physical fleet of Islanders defenseman. They won't have any such luck in his series. The Senators have a group of defenders who can hit. Erik Karlsson is hardly a big, physical presence but he has been teamed with Marc Methot who will mix it up with anyone. The second paring of Sergei Gonchar and Chris Phillps is a steady, veteran grouping who know how to play the game positionally and will battle down low. The third pairing of Eric Gryba and Jared Cowen is just plain nasty.
-Speaking of nasty, the Senators have a fourth line of Matt Kassian, Zack Smith and Chris Neil. They will make their impact in this series.
-Daniel Alfredsson will give everything he has in this series. He is nearing retirement. At age 40, it's doubtful he has much time as an NHLer left. This might be his last best chance at the Stanley Cup. He was outstanding in the first round. Expect him to give more of the same in this round.
-Special teams will be huge this series. The Senators need to find away to limit the Penguins in each the power play and penalty kill. The Penguins beat the Islanders largely because of what they did on special teams.
-The Penguins have been working out a curious third defensive pairing the past two days of Deryk Engelland and Douglas Murray. The fact that Engelland appears set to return is especially curious after Simon Despres had an outstanding effort in Game 6 of the Islanders. Does Dan Bylsma simply trust Engelland more or does he think this series will be physical and he wants Engelland around?
-With Matt Niskanen back with Kris Letang and Paul Martin team with Brooks Orpik, will Bylsma over-tax his top two defensive pairings as he has in years past?
-Tomas Vokoun will get the start in net. There was some speculation that Marc-Andre Fleury could return in Game 1. We're not sure why that would even be considered. The Penguins can't worry about trying to restore Fleury's game or confidence. This is about winning NOW. This roster won't be back after this season. It's highly doubtful the Penguins will be able to keep Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Douglas Murray, Mark Eaton, Pascal Dupuis and Matt Cooke after this offseason. This is a one-time deal largely. They have to win now. Fleury still has a future with the Penguins and might even have to contribute later this postseason, but at the current moment, Vokoun gives them the best chance at winning.
-It's smoky up in the rafters:
-A defensive minded cover of IceTime with Paul Martin, Kris Letang and Brooks Orpik:
-Fans entering the barn:
-Mario Lemieux All-Star:
-Brooks Orpik Team USA:
-There aren't many Senators fans on hand. This Cory Conacher fan appears to be sporting a jersey foul as Conacher never wore that jersey:
-Jersey Foul of the Night: Words can't even...
-This fan is brought to you by Norelco:
-Elvis ... has... entered... the.... building....
-A smaller crowd for the big screen:
-The Penguins are hungry:
-The always trust No. 9 Ron Francis:
-A group of No. 10s: Mark Letestu:
-Senators killer Gary Roberts:
-And the current No. 10, Brenden Morrow:
-And Kordell Stewart?
-Jersey of the Night: Former Penguins/Senators forward Phil Bourque:
-The Penguins starters are Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Jarome Iginla, Deryk Engelland, Douglas Murray and Tomas Vokoun.
-Their scratches are Beau Bennett, Robert Bortuzzo, Simon Despres, Mark Eaton, Tanner Glass, Dustin Jeffrey and Jussi Jokinen.
-The Senators starters are Matt Kassian, Chris Neil, Zack Smith, Sergei Gonchar, Chris Phillips and Craig Anderson.
-Their scratches are Andre Benoit, Mark Borowiecki, Cody Ceci, Stephane Da Costa, Dave Dziurzynski, Derek Grant, Mike HOffman Guillaume Latendresse, Nathan Lawson, Mike Lundin, Stefan Noesen, Jim O'Brien, Shane Prince, Matt Puempel, Peter Regin, Mark Stone and Patrick Wiercioch.
-Jeff Jimerson handles the national anthems:
19:47: Neil flings a wrister from the right half wall. Vokoun gloves it. Fans offer "Vooooo......" chants.
19:17: The Penguins almost strike first. Dupuis takes a pass from Crosby on the right wing. He swings it back to Crosby driving down the slot. Crosby one-touches it with his forehand on net. Anderson kicks it out.
18:58: The Penguins gets the first power play as Kyle Turris high sticks Dupuis. Chris Kunitz, Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jarome Iginla and Kris Letang take the ice.
18:37: Letang slides a pass to Crosby in the right circle. Crosby cranks it on net with a one-timer. Anderson fights it off.
17:53: Anderson is tuned in early on. Crosby controls a puck in the right circle and slides a cross-ice pass to Letang in the left circle. Anderson reads the play and eats it up.
17:26: Malkin battles his way from the right circle to the slot and flings a wrister wide to the left of the net.
17:19: The Penguins strike first. Malkin collects a loose puck in the left wing corner and slides a pass to Martin at the right point. Martin takes the pass and chops a slapper towards the cage. It appears to glacne of the leg of a kneeling Cowen and deflects by Anderson. Another power-play goal for the Penguins. Malkin and Morrow get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 1-0.
16:27: The Penguins third line almost doubles the lead. Sutter chops a one-timer from center point on net. Anderson fights it off. Cooke and Kenneyd hound Anderson for the rebound but can't punch it by hhim. Anderson is able to scremlbe and cover the loopus against the left side of the cage.
16:08: A slapper by Phillips is blocked by Craig Adams.
15:09: Tie game. Cowen snaps off a rister from the left point which Iginla blocks. The rebound slides to the left wing corner. Erik Condra recovers it and backhands it to the side of the net. It squeaks between Vokoun's right skate the left post. The puck sits still right on the gaol line. Colin Greening is able to poke a stick in and push the puck over the goal line. A sloppy goal to allow. Condra and Cowen get assists. Penguins 1, Senators 1.
14:37: Turris races into the offensive zone up the left wing and rrips a wrister wide on the near side.
14:21: Malkin forces a turnover in the left faceoff circle of the Ottawa zone. Malkin and Kunitz each have a chance in tight but can't get a clean shot off.
12:39: Pageau drives his way in off the right wing by Letang and fligns a backhander on net. Vokoun kicks it out.
11:36: Trying to collect a puck in front of the Ottawa penalty box, the great Joe Vitale is lit up by Neil. Oof. What a hit.
11:03: Turris glides into the offensive zone on the left wing. Before he can do anything with the puck, James Neal steals it on a back check.
9:19: Orpik collects a puck at the left point and whips it on net. Anderson eats it up.
8:34: Crosby snaps off a pass from the right wing corner to Niskanen at the left point. Niskanen pounds a shot over the cage. There's a scramble for the rebound but nothing really comes of it.
7:45: The "old" second line restores the lead. James Neal hounds Cowen into a turnover behind the Ottawa net. Neal push the puck to Kunitz in the left circle. Kunitz whips a feed to the blue paint. Malkin is position to the right of Anderson and taps the puck by his left skate. What a determined effort by Neal to steal that puck. Kunitz and Neal get assists. The "Hey Song" is always determined. Penguins 2-1.
6:13: Phillips lifts a slapper from the right point. It hits a body in front. There's a crazy scramble for the rebound. No one can get a clean stick on it. The puck ends up with Phillips again at the left point. He chops a slapper which Sutter blocks. Wow!
5:57: After that scramble, Kennedy ends up with a holding minor. He sort of pinned Mika Zibanejad. Crosby, Dupuis, Martin and Orpik take the ice.
4:52: After a few clears by the Penguins , the Senators are able to finally generate something. Former Penguin Sergei Gonchar goes in deep on the left wing and backhands a pass to Milan Michalek trailing in the left circle. Michalek jabs a shot on net. Vokoun is able to
4:32: Silfverberg flies up the right wing and attacks the net. He tries to pus a backhander on net. The puck slides to the right of the crease. Before an Ottawa player can do some damage, Dupuis pokes it away.
4:27: From center point. Gonchar pushes a pass to Phillips in the right circle. Phillips uncorks a one-timer which Douglas Murray blocks.
4:07: Zibanejad has a chance to the right Vokoun but flings a wrister wide of the net.
3:47: Winning a puck battle in deep, Murray flings a clearing attempt down ice to kill the rest of Kennedy's minor. The Senators generated a few things late with that chance.
3:32: Neil tries to hit Orpik in deep in the left wing corner of the Penguins' zone but catches nothing but boards.
3:33: Crosby tries to collects a puck in deep on the left wing of the Ottawa zone. He sense Neil on a backcheck and ducks a hit. Morrow comes in on Neil who touches the puck and drops the Senators forward.
3:00: Alfredsson chips a seemingly innocent wrister on net from the slot. Vokoun stops it but bobbles the rebound. He dives to his left to cover it.
2:50: Neil is stil hitting. He tags Vitale again at the Ottaw blue line while battling for a puck.
2:23: Cooke chases after Cowen with the puck in the left wing corner of Otaw zone and bumps him with a low hip check.
2:12: Another Penguins power play. Kennedy tries to cycle the puck off the left wing corner but is tripped up by Gryba. That's two minutes for holding. Malkin, Letang, Neal, Kunitz and Crosby take the ice.
1:50: Things get evened up. After the Penguins fumble the puck at the Ottawa blue line, Condra gets a chance in the Penguins' zone. He tries to cut by Malkin in the left circle. Malkin leans down and kind of leg whips him. Gryba falls over but still puts a wrister on net which Vokoun stops. That's two minutes for tripping. Four on four for 1:38.
1:32: A wrister by Methot is off the mark.
1:16: Iginla tries to control the puck in deep on the Otawa end boards but is shoved from behind by Methot. No call.
0:54: Jakob Silfverberg pounds slapper from above the left circle. Vokoun fights it off.
0:38: Letang gains the offensive zone on the left wing and leaves a drop pass for Dupuis who cranks a one-timer over the cage.
0:23: Crosby races up the left wing, gets a step on Gonchar and whips a wrister on net. Anderson fights it off.
0:12: The Gryba minor expires. The Senators will have 22 second of power-play time.
0:00: Pushing a puck up from his own zone, Kunitz air mails a slapper from his own blue line as time expires. Anderson tips it away. End of period. Penguins 2, Senators 1.
-If Vokoun bailed out his teammates in Game 6 against the Islanders, they bailed him out in the first period of this game. He was shaky. He needs to calm down. He allowed too many iffy rebounds.
-That period was a perfect synopsis of Malkin's postseason. He produced two points but takes a bad penalty. You take the good and bad with him we suppose.
-Chris Neil is trying to obliterate anything in a black jersey tonight.
-The Senators' bottom defensive pairing of Cowen and Gryba has had a rough night.
-Granted, special teams played a factor, but the ice tme on the Penguins blue line was not distributeded very evenly. Letang has 10:02 of ice time while Engelland is bringing up the rear at 3:18. That will wear on Letang as this series moves on.
-Anderson could have been better that period but he's hardly to blame for the two Penguins goals.
-The Senators have a 14-12 lead in shots.
-Crosby leads the game with three shots.
-Methot, Alfredsson Condra and Silfverberg each lead the Senators with two shots.
-Letang leads the game with 10:02 of ice time.
-Karlsson leads the Senators with 8:24.
-The Senators have an 11-8 lead in faceoffs (58 percent).
-Turris is 5 for 3 (63 percent).
-Sutter is 3 for 3 (100 percent).
-Murray leads the game with two blocked shots.
20:00: The Penguins will have to kill 12 seconds of power-time on fresh ice.
19:48 The Malkin minor is killed.
19:47: On a faceoff, Crosby lines up with Malkin and Dupuis on the wings.
19:21: Martin strikes a slapper from the right point. With little traffic, Anderson gloves it.
18:26: After Karlsson turns a puck over behind his own cage, Malkin jabs a shot from the right circleon net. Anderson kicks it out.
18:20: Silfverberg races into the offensive zone and snaps off a wrister fromt he slot. Letang's stick deflects it out of play.
18:15: Off an offensive zone faceoff win, Gonchar flings a wrister from the right point. Vokoun covers it with his legs.
17:37: Gonchar lifts a wrister from the left wing. Vokoun is hancuffed a bit by the shot and fights it off to his left Neil has a chance in the right circle but Kunitz pokes the puck away.
16:44: Off a drop pass by the great Joe Vitale, Adams chops a slapper from the right half wall. Anderson deflects it out play.
16:17: Ignla tries to feed a pass from the right wing to Crosby driving to the net down the slot. Conacher interferes with Crosby a bit and the pass can't connect.
15:39: After Neal wins a battle against Cowen in front of the Penguins' penalty box, he snaps off a pass to Kunitz across the ice on the right wing. Kunitz lifts a backhander on net which Anderson fights off.
14:38: Off a pass from Gonchar, Phillips pounds a slapper from the left half wall which Vokoun fights off.
14:13: Phillps pushes the puck up the ice, and from the center point, he pounds a slapper from the Penguins' blue line. Vokoun punches it away.
13:53: Racing for an iced puck, Murray touches the puck is shoved in the back by Neil and crashes into the boards a little bit awkwardly. If Murray didn't weight as much as a tank filled with cement, that could have been ugly. A smaller player would not have been able to provide as much resitance to the shove and crashed into the boards.
13:20: Off a neutral zone turnover by the Penguins, Turris leads a rush into the offensive zone and pounds a slapper wide to the right of the cage.
12:57: Vokoun is bailing his teammates now. Off a feed by Alfredsson, Methot pounds a slapper from the left point. Vokoun gloves it.
11:23: Collecting a puck at the blue line, Letang whacks a slapper on net. Anderson gloves it. A scrum breaks out. Methot trips Malkin. Neal ends up getting a roughing minor. Another undisciplined penalty. Adams, Dupuis, Martin and Orpik take the ice.
11:07: Off a center point feed by Gonchar, Alfredsson takes a pass at the left half wall and chops a one-timer on net. Vokoun fights it off.
9:21: Pushing a puck up the ice to kill the rest of Neal minor, Dupuis eaves by Karlsson in the Ottawa slot and puts a backhander on net. Anderson boots it away.
8:53: Pageau race up the left wing and snasp off a wrister which Vokoun gloves despite a screen.
6:48: Karlsson chips a wrister from the right. Vokoun fight it off depite a heavy screen.
6:41: Karlsson lifts another wrister on net from the right point. Play is halted and Orpik shoves Conacher from the blue paint. Conacher falls to his knees and gives Orpik a jab with his stick. Orpik responds with a punch to the face. No penalties.
5:23: Attendance is announced as 18,621. It its the team's 282nd consecutive sellout.
5:13: A wrister by Smith from the right circle is blocked by a kneeling Orpik.
4:23: Kennedy appear to get away with a trip on Conacher in the Senators' right circle.
3:24: After a turnover by Cooke, Michalek lifts a wrister fromt he left point. Vokoun boots it out with his right leg.
2:28: Gryba tries to skate the puck pass the Penguins blue line and stopped dead in his stricks on a shoulder check by Orpik. Wow. Both players crash to the ice. Gryba looks wobbly. He recovers to his skates and heads to the bench. Orpik appears fine.
2:07: A wrister by Turris hits a body and bounces over a scrum in front of the cage. Vokoun freezes the puck. An athletic trainer appeared to grab Gryba by his jersey and guide him from the bench to the dressing room. That's not good.
2:02: Kunitz tries to push the puck up the left wing and his held up by Conacher. That's two minutes. Crosby, Kunitz, Malkin, Iginla and Letang take the ice.
1:27: The Penguin go to the ne and increase the lead. Letang controls the puck in the left circle, fends off a check and snaps off a feed to the slot. Iginla gets a stick on the puck and deflects it on net. Anderson makes the first save. Kunitz is able to settle the puck an punches into the sick of Anderson. Anderson actually ends up bumping the puck into the net himself with his shoulder or head. That's a nice, dirty, greasy garbage goal. Iginla and Letang get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 3-1.
0:10: Of some strong puck movement, Letang swats a one-timer form the left half wall. Anderson makes the save. Morow tries to punch in the rebound. The puck squeaks through Anderson's five hold an slide to the goal line. Before it can cross the line, Karlsson is on Johnny-On-The-Spot and whips the pcuk out of danger. Whew! Anderson owes Karlsson a beer.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Senators 1.
-It's amazing how one play - a hit, a goal, a save - can change the momentum of a game. Orpik's devastating hit on Gryba woke up his team and gave it a chance to increase the lead. Before that hit, the Penguins were flat. They could barely get the puck out of their zone. They allowed countless chances to the Senators. After that hit, they dominated the period.
-Vokoun also woke up that period. If not for him, the Senators might have a lead that period. He saw a lot of quality shot.
-It was James Neal's turn to take a bad penalty apparently. He seems to be in a race with Malkin.
-The officials have ignored a lot of potenital penalties this game. As a result, this game has gotten chippy.
-The Senators have a 26-24 lead in shots.
-Martin and Crosby each lead the game with four shots.
-Methot, Michalek and Alfredsson each lead the Senators with three shots.
_Letang leads the games with 17:30 of ice time.
-Gonchar leads the Senators with 17:25. Fire Ray Shero.
12:13: Off a turnover by Letang in his own zone, xxx flings a wrister from the right point which hits a body in front.
11:56: Letang tries to recover the puck in his own right wing corner. He falls over and it hit from behind by Conacher in the back while kneeling towards the boards. Letang responds by shoving Conacher with a cross check. Conacher cross checks him back. Letang takes a tumble. Officials finally stop play. Conacher gets a cross checking minor while Letang gets an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. This is pretty much a coal miners glove match. Very few rules. What a garage league. Four on four for two minutes.
11:36: Off a feed by Kunitz, Malkin races up the right wing and lifts a wrister over the net from the left circle.
9:41: Another penalty for Neal. This time he's called for holding Karlsson. He tried to do a chip and chase by Karlsson on the left wing and sort of put a swim move on Karlson but stuck his hand on Karlsson's shoulder. This is do or die for the Senators. Adams, Martin, Orpik and Sutter take the ice.
8:36: Pascal Dupuis. Goal scorer. After Murray wins a puck battle on his right wing wall, he taps the puck to Dupuis who pushes it up the right wing and creates a two-on-one with with Cooke against Gonchar. Gonchar takes away the pass and fives Dupus the shot. Dupuis gldes in and lifts a wrister over the right shoulder of Anderson on the near side for a short-handed goal. What a pretty, pretty goal. Murray get assists. The "Hey Song is always pretty. Murray gets the only assist. Penguins 4-1.
7:36: Turris puts a wrister on net from the right circle. Vokoun gloves it. Martin gives the business to Conacher. A small scrum beaks out.
7:02: Neal can't help himself. He's called for interfernce against Karlsson in the Ottawa zone. He hit him away from the puck. Another bad penalty.
6:24: Gonchar lifts a wrister from the left point. Vokoun fight sit off. Greening has a chance on the rebound to the left of the net but plunks it off the near post. The rebound kicks under Vokoun who freezes play. A big break for the Penguins.
5:02: The Neal minor is killed. Another strong effort by the Penguins' penalty killers.
4:41: Pageau controls the puck in the right wing corner and is knocked off it by a stiff check from Crosby.
3:10: After Cooke wins a puck battle in the left wing corner against Karlsson, Niskanen chops a slapper from the left point juuuust wide on the near side.
2:27: Alfredsson whips ap uck from he left of the cage into the crease. Vokoun snags it.
2:02: Greening snaps off a wrister from the left circle which Vokoun punches away calmly.
1:20: Kassian snaps off a wrister from the left wing which Murray blocks. Murray also gets a piece of Kassian and knocks him to the ice.
0:28: The Senators have their goons on the ice and start to cause trouble. Neil and Smith are trying to start something. Oficials sort everything out and send Morrow, Engelland, Neil and Conacher are sent to their dressing room. It takes officials a long time to sort everything out. The Penguins end up with a power play. Kenedy, Murray, Orpik, Sutter and Adams take the ice.
0:00: End of game Penguins 4, Senators 1.
-As was the case against the Islanders, special teams dictated Game 1 against the Senators. The Penguins went 2 for 4 with the power play and turned away all six power plays the Senators had. The penalty kill even contributed If not for special teams, this is a much different game.
-All things considered, the Senators played a decent game, at least as far as five on five play is concerened. They had 28 even strenght shots on net to the Penguins' 24. They maintained possession in the Penguins' zone for quite a quite a while. If not for a few bad hops, they would have had a few more goals.
-You have to take the good and bad with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal we suppose. They combined for three points tonight but also combined for eight penalty minutes. They just can't help themselves.
-Tomas Vokoun shook off a poor first period and really leveled off as the game wore on. He was outstanding after the first intermission and he had to be. The Senators controlled the puck quite a bit and put several shots on net. Vokoun made steady saves in the second and third periods for his defensemen to make clean plays.
-This game got really feisty as it wore on. It didn't take long for hits and stuff after the whistle to start. Chris Neil was hitting anything in black. The Penguins didn't back down. Cory Conacher was being a pest. Brooks Orpik and Brenden Morrow threw some big hits. This series will get ugly as it wears on.
-The Senators said Eric Gryba will have further evaluation for his "upper-body" injury resulting from a second period hit by Orpik.
-Pascal Dupuis continues to become a star. He now leads the postseason with six goals in seven postseason games. The entire Minnesota Wild team had seven goals in the first round.
-When he wasn't being a pest, Conacher had a strong game offensively. He created so many problems for the Penguins with his speed and shot. He could do some damage this series.
-The Senators' thir line of Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Eric Gryba and Erik Condra were strong as a unit. They created a lot of havoc in front of the Penguins' net and generated Ottawa's only goal by simply putting it on net.
-Orpik seemed right at home in this game given it's physical nature. He really put the body into Senators forwards.
-Granted, he's probably not 100 percent, but Milan Michalek, an all-star forward, was nearly invisible tonight. The Senators need more from him.
-Craig Anderson could have been better. The first three goals were forgiveable given the fact his teammates did little to clears the crease. The short-handed score by Dupuis had to be stopped. He had a clean look at Dupuis.
The Senators led in shots, 36-30.
-Paul Martin, Dupuis, Sidney Crosby, Marc Methot, Michalek and Mika Zibanejad each lead the game with four shots.
-The Senators led in faceoffs, 31-26 (54 percent).
-Kyle Turris was 14 for 21 (67 percent).
-Malkin was 8 for 13 (62 percent).
-Murray led the game with five blocked shots.
-The Senators as a team has six blocked shots. No one had more than one individually.