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game recap

Senators 4, Penguins 2

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:51 AM

Associated Press

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Senators 4, Penguins 2
Ottawa Senators 4, Pittsburgh Penguins 2

PITTSBURGH (AP) -The Ottawa Senators could live with giving away one game to Pittsburgh. What they were determined not to do was give away another playoff series.

Daniel Alfredsson scored twice during a second dominating Ottawa second period in as many days. The Senators made this lead stand, taking Pittsburgh's stars and its crowd out of the game for a 4-2 victory Sunday in Game 3 of their first-round series.

The Senators seized back home-ice advantage - they have as many as two home games remaining in the series - by slowing Pittsburgh's stars and getting two key goals from one of their own in Alfredsson.

Ottawa, rebounding from a 4-3 loss at home barely 24 hours before in which it twice squandered third-period leads, takes a 2-1 lead into Game 4 on Tuesday night. Game 5 follows in Ottawa on Thursday.

"We can't afford to get down 3-1," the Penguins' Gary Roberts said. "We know that. We've got to come out with a much better effort Tuesday."

The Senators have been in control for all but 1 1/2 periods of the series, wining 6-3 in Game 1. Only this time - unlike Saturday, when the Penguins came back with three goals in the third period - they have the victory and the series lead to prove it.

"We should have probably buried them the other night and we didn't, but we put it behind us and did tonight," said Jason Spezza, who is well-versed in the lengthy list of Senators playoff failures over the last 10 years.

The Senators lost forward Patrick Eaves, taken off the ice on a stretcher after being leveled by an unpenalized Colby Armstrong hit with Ottawa up 3-1 midway through the second period. Eaves appeared to be knocked unconscious, but did not require hospitalization.

Though Spezza decried the hit, Senators coach Bryan Murray said, "It was a fair hit, a hockey hit, and we live with that."

Still, the game became visibly more physical after that, with several fights. Star rookie Evgeni Malkin even dropped the gloves to fight defenseman Chris Phillips late in the game, but the Penguins needed goals at that point, not punches.

The Penguins were outshot 25-19 in the game and have been outshot 99-66 in the series. Sidney Crosby, the NHL scoring leader, had five shots, but didn't score until Ottawa had long since seized control. Malkin didn't score on his first four shots of the series.

"We have a lot of great forwards who can create offense, but we didn't do it tonight and that's why we lost the game," defenseman Sergei Gonchar said. "Our offense stopped in the neutral zone too many times."

Initially, the Penguins carried the momentum from their Saturday comeback into this game, getting a goal from longtime Senators agitator Roberts with only 52 seconds gone. The goal made an already loud crowd for the Penguins' first home playoff game since May 19, 2001 louder still, and the Senators didn't look very confident.

"That was a hard one to start with, a real hurdle for our guys," Murray said.

But the Senators got the tying goal late in the period when Dean McAmmond put in a rebound of Eaves' shot from the slot that goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stopped but couldn't control.

An instant after the puck crossed the goal line, an upended Tom Preissing tumbled into the net past Fleury, but the goal counted and clearly energized the Senators. After that, they dominated the second period much like they did in outscoring the Penguins 2-0 and outshooting them in that period in Game 2.

"We were kind of waiting for something to happen, I guess, and once it did we started playing really well," Alfredsson said. "Obviously, that second period set us up nice."

The Senators, playing in a 10th consecutive NHL postseason but yet to reach the Stanley Cup finals, got the go-ahead goal early in the second. Joseph Corvo's shot from the left point deflected off Mike Fisher, allowing Mike Comrie to sweep the puck into the unattended side of the net with Fleury occupied on the other side.

Alfredsson's first goal came on a power play about five minutes later on a hard shot from the left wing circle to Fleury's short side. Alfredsson's third goal of the series came late in the period, just as a Penguins power play was ending, on a one-timer off McAmmond's pass to the left circle.

"Teams are focusing on capitalizing when they get their chances and we have to do a better job of not making mistakes," Crosby said.

Crosby scored another of his can-you-top-this goals with about five minutes remaining. Collecting Malkin's pass near the left circle, Crosby managed to steer the puck past Ray Emery for his third goal in as many games while sliding on his side along the edge of the left circle.

It wasn't nearly enough.

"We've got the momentum now and we would definitely like to keep it," Alfredsson said.

Notes: Malkin, the rookie of the year favorite, has no goals in the series. He ended with 85 points during the season, but has only four goals in his last 27 games. Malkin got his first shot on goal in the series midway through the first period. ... Senators D Christoph Schubert (neck) returned after missing most of Game 2. ... Roberts played in three winning playoff series against Ottawa while with Toronto from 2001-04.

scoring summary
1st Period
00:52
PIT
Gary Roberts (2) ASST: Sidney Crosby (2), Colby Armstrong (1)
1 - 0 PIT
18:04
OTT
Dean McAmmond (1) ASST: Tom Preissing (1), Patrick Eaves (1)
1 - 1 Tie
2nd Period
02:13
OTT
Mike Comrie (2) ASST: Mike Fisher (2), Joe Corvo (3)
2 - 1 OTT
07:20
OTT
PPG - Daniel Alfredsson (2) ASST: Wade Redden (2), Dany Heatley (2)
3 - 1 OTT
17:12
OTT
Daniel Alfredsson (3) ASST: Dean McAmmond (2), Ray Emery (1)
4 - 1 OTT
3rd Period
14:40
PIT
Sidney Crosby (3) ASST: Evgeni Malkin (4), Mark Recchi (4)
4 - 2 OTT
penalty summary
1st Period
07:33
PIT
Evgeni Malkin  Tripping against  Wade Redden
11:25
PIT
Rob Scuderi  Holding against  Antoine Vermette
12:25
OTT
Dany Heatley  Cross checking against  Ryan Malone
15:50
OTT
Mike Fisher  Holding against  Mark Recchi
2nd Period
04:19
OTT
Jason Spezza  Roughing against  Gary Roberts
04:19
PIT
Gary Roberts  Roughing against  Dany Heatley
05:53
PIT
Evgeni Malkin  Hooking against  Antoine Vermette
09:04
PIT
Maxime Talbot  Fighting (maj) against  Dean McAmmond
09:04
OTT
Dean McAmmond  Fighting (maj) against  Maxime Talbot
15:12
OTT
Mike Comrie  Holding against  Brooks Orpik
3rd Period
06:58
OTT
Christoph Schubert  Slashing against  Sidney Crosby
10:06
OTT
Daniel Alfredsson  Roughing against  Colby Armstrong
10:06
PIT
Colby Armstrong  Roughing against  Daniel Alfredsson
16:53
OTT
Christoph Schubert  Boarding against  Rob Scuderi
16:53
PIT
Ryan Whitney  Roughing against  Christoph Schubert
18:43
OTT
Chris Phillips  Roughing against  Evgeni Malkin
18:43
PIT
Evgeni Malkin  Roughing against  Chris Phillips
goalie stats
Ray Emery
SA: 19TOI: 59:49
Saves: 17EV: 13 - 15
PIM: 0PP: 4 - 4
SV%: .895SH: 0 - 0
Marc-Andre Fleury
SA: 25TOI: 57:17
Saves: 21EV: 17 - 20
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 4
SV%: .840SH: 1 - 1