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game recap

Penguins 4, Senators 0

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:52 AM

Associated Press

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Penguins 4, Senators 0
Ottawa Senators 0, Pittsburgh Penguins 4

PITTSBURGH (AP) -The Ottawa Senators must be wondering how many more times this can happen. They get to the playoffs, yet Gary Roberts finds a way to beat them. Again. And again.

Roberts and Petr Sykora scored in the first period and the favored Penguins, determined not to duplicate their awful postseason opener of a year ago, rode Marc-Andre Fleury's goaltending after that to a 4-0 victory over Ottawa in the Eastern Conference playoffs Wednesday night.

Roberts had two goals while playing on Pittsburgh's fourth line, only one fewer goal than he had during an injury-interrupted season. Evgeni Malkin, the NHL's No. 2 scorer, added a goal and two assists.

Pittsburgh, which never recovered from its opening-game 6-3 loss to Ottawa during their five-game series last April, takes a 1-0 lead into Game 2 on Friday night. The Penguins have won their last nine home games.

"It's a good feeling for us, for sure," said Roberts, who has 14 of his 32 career playoff goals against Ottawa. "Last year, I think we were in shock after Game 1 in Ottawa, they came out so hard and battled us real hard. But that feeling, I don't think it's left in this dressing room."

Roberts played on Maple Leafs teams that eliminated Ottawa three times during a four-season span from 2001-04 - one reason Ottawa tried but failed to land him at the trading deadline in 2007.

Fleury made 26 saves in his first career playoff shutout, twice stopping Cory Stillman during an extended Ottawa power play late in the second period in which Pittsburgh was down two men for nearly a minute. Fleury is 11-2-1 since returning Feb. 28 from a nearly three-month layoff with a badly sprained ankle.

"For the last 15 games, he has been the best goalie in the National Hockey League, so I am not surprised," coach Michel Therrien said.

Pittsburgh also was down two men for 50 seconds early in the third, but the Senators - a below-.500 club since their NHL-record 13-1 start - couldn't get the puck past former No. 1 draft pick Fleury in only his second career postseason victory.

"We had a chance to get back in it, we called a time out and had two great chances (on the first two-man advantage), but we couldn't score," Senators coach Bryan Murray said. "We're pushing to find a goal scorer right now."

The Senators were 0-for-7 on the power play.

"Those 5-on-3s have to be automatic," Jason Spezza said. "They kill you if don't score on them. We did a good job to get them, we generated a lot offensively ... we got our chances."

It was a major turnaround from last April, when the Senators jumped on Fleury and the playoff-inexperienced Penguins for a 2-0 lead less than seven minutes into Game 1 in Ottawa and went on to dominate the series despite losing the next game.

"We feel we're a much more mature team now. That's not our team that played in Game 1 last year," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "We're different, much more improved, and I think we proved that tonight."

Two of Pittsburgh's most experienced players made certain that letdown didn't happen as Roberts, who turns 42 next month, exasperated the Senators yet again.

Roberts, out since Dec. 29 with a broken leg until returning Sunday in Philadelphia, kept Wade Redden away from the puck behind the Senators' net not long after the opening faceoff. That allowed Georges Laraque to grab the puck and return it to Roberts, who beat Martin Gerber in close with only 1:08 gone - Roberts' first goal since a two-goal game Dec. 23 against Boston.

"You know he's going to throw it in front, and I just happened to catch Redden while he was still down on the ice," Roberts said. "I was fortunate to get position on him and get a quick shot away."

Sykora, who didn't score in Pittsburgh's final six regular-season games, made it 2-0 with 7 1/2 minutes left in the first, working a 2-on-1 break with Malkin after defenseman Mike Commodore, pinching on the play, gave up the puck at mid ice.

Malkin and Roberts also scored late in the third period, after it was clear there would be no Senators comeback.

Ottawa - already without key injured regulars Daniel Alfredsson, Mike Fisher and Chris Kelly - played most of the final two periods without defenseman Anton Volchenkov, who was cut in the forehead by Malkin's slap shot midway through the second.

Play was stopped briefly to clean up a small pool of blood on the ice, but Volchenkov got up on his own and may have been saved from a more serious injury by his protective visor. Volchenkov couldn't return because the swelling prevented him from putting on his helmet, Murray said, but should be ready for Game 2.

Notes: With the Penguins nearly at full strength for the first time in months, D Darryl Sydor was scratched. ... Pittsburgh won Game 1 of a playoff series at home for the first time since a 4-3 win over the Rangers in the 1996 Eastern Conference semifinals. ... Ottawa is 3-9-1 without Alfredsson this season. ... Gerber, who backed up Ray Emery as Ottawa reached the Stanley Cup finals last season, made 31 saves.

scoring summary
1st Period
01:08
PIT
Gary Roberts (1) ASST: Georges Laraque (1), Maxime Talbot (1)
1 - 0 PIT
12:28
PIT
Petr Sykora (1) ASST: Evgeni Malkin (1)
2 - 0 PIT
2nd Period
NONE
3rd Period
13:58
PIT
Evgeni Malkin (1) ASST: Ryan Whitney (1), Ryan Malone (1)
3 - 0 PIT
18:25
PIT
PPG - Gary Roberts (2) ASST: Evgeni Malkin (2), Marian Hossa (1)
4 - 0 PIT
penalty summary
1st Period
04:25
PIT
Jordan Staal  Holding against  Antoine Vermette
14:39
OTT
Christoph Schubert  Holding against  Georges Laraque
2nd Period
06:51
OTT
Cody Bass  Hooking against  Kris Letang
09:37
OTT
Andrej Meszaros  Interference against  Jarkko Ruutu
14:56
PIT
Ryan Whitney  Holding against  Nick Foligno
15:59
OTT
Martin Lapointe  Roughing against  Marc-Andre Fleury
15:59
PIT
Maxime Talbot  Roughing against  Martin Lapointe
15:59
PIT
Maxime Talbot  Roughing against  Martin Lapointe
19:29
PIT
Ryan Malone  Holding against  Jason Spezza
3rd Period
00:38
PIT
Jordan Staal  Hi-sticking against  Andrej Meszaros
05:40
OTT
Brian Lee  Roughing against  Tyler Kennedy
05:40
PIT
Tyler Kennedy  Roughing against  Brian Lee
07:04
OTT
Wade Redden  Tripping against  Evgeni Malkin
11:04
PIT
Pascal Dupuis  Hooking against  Cory Stillman
16:35
OTT
Wade Redden  Roughing against  Ryan Whitney
16:35
OTT
Wade Redden  Fighting (maj) against  Ryan Whitney
16:35
PIT
Pascal Dupuis  Roughing against  Dean McAmmond
16:35
PIT
Pascal Dupuis  Roughing against  Dean McAmmond
16:35
OTT
Dean McAmmond  Roughing against  Pascal Dupuis
16:35
PIT
Ryan Whitney  Fighting (maj) against  Wade Redden
16:35
PIT
Sidney Crosby  Roughing against  Wade Redden
16:35
OTT
Wade Redden  Roughing against  Ryan Whitney
16:35
OTT
Dean McAmmond  Roughing against  Pascal Dupuis
19:48
PIT
Gary Roberts  Boarding against  Chris Neil
19:48
OTT
Chris Neil  Unsportsmanlike conduct
19:48
PIT
Gary Roberts  Unsportsmanlike conduct
19:48
PIT
Gary Roberts  Misconduct (10 min)
19:48
OTT
Cody Bass  Unsportsmanlike conduct
19:48
PIT
Gary Roberts  Roughing against  Chris Neil
goalie stats
Martin Gerber
SA: 35TOI: 59:55
Saves: 31EV: 21 - 24
PIM: 0PP: 10 - 11
SV%: .886SH: 0 - 0
Marc-Andre Fleury
SA: 26TOI: 60:00
Saves: 26EV: 14 - 14
PIM: 0PP: 10 - 10
SV%: 1.000SH: 2 - 2