The Pittsburgh Penguins survived a scrappy New York Islanders team in the opening round of the NHL Eastern Conference playoffs, and now will begin a second round series with the Ottawa Senators that kicks off tonight at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Network. The game can be live streamed here for free. Senators backers can hear the game on The Team 1200, while Penguins fans should listen to 105.9 The X.
In the first round, Sidney Crosby returned to the ice and had a very good series, but Evgeni Malkin stole the show. Malkin had 11 points in the Penguins' series victory over the Islanders, nine of which were assists. He also was the most aggressive Penguin, racking up 22 shots on goal and relentlessly pelting Isles' goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.
Crosby nearly matched his stellar teammate's output in one fewer game, recording nine points on three goals and two assists. The Pittsburgh offense was consistent throughout the series, while their goaltending was an entirely different story.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma was forced to pull Marc-Andre Fleury after Game 4 for Tomas Vokoun, who performed much better in the next two games, which were both Penguins victories. Vokoun is the starter for Game 1, according to Bylsma.
Pittsburgh eliminated Ottawa in 2008 and 2010, but Crosby says that's not adding any extra juice to the matchup. "I think any playoff matchup, I would consider a rivalry," Crosby said. "That's kind of typical in the playoffs for anything; it kind of develops as the playoffs go on. With the history with them I'm sure there's a little extra there but I think at this point you want every game just as much as you would against any, I guess, 'rival' you could say."
The Senators were a far superior team at home than on the road in 2013, going 15-6-3 in their own building while just 10-11-3 when wearing road whites. Stealing one of the two games in Pittsburgh would be a major blow to the Penguins, and it would create for a raucous environment at home, much like the one the Islanders had at Nassau Coliseum that gave Pittsburgh fits.