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Penguins vs Senators

Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 4:55 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Bylsma pleased by Penguins setting physical tone

PITTSBURGH -- Dan Bylsma doesn't buy the NHL stats that say his Pittsburgh Penguins significantly out-hit the Ottawa Senators in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Tuesday night at Consol Energy Center.

The League's official stat sheet said Pittsburgh enjoyed a 40-26 advantage in hits in Game 1. It's not that Bylsma doesn't believe the disparity, he just doesn't care about what the Senators did. Wednesday, Bylsma said his team keeps its own stats on the checks delivered by the Penguins but don't track hits by the opposition.

He added that the numbers don't matter in the end. It is more about the tone set -- and he liked the tone his team set with its physical bite in Game 1.

"I think we had significantly more hits in first period than the rest of the game," Bylsma said. "I kind of like how we came out and played on our toes in the first, and played in the offensive zone and were at least able to get to our game -- especially in the first half of that period."

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 4:27 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

With extra off day between games, Penguins rest up

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins didn't do much on Wednesday, the morning after a convincing 4-1 victory against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The players who did not play in the game -- the Black Aces -- took part in a short, but crisp practice. They were joined by defenseman Deryk Engelland, who returned to the defensive rotation in Game 1, and Craig Adams, the fourth-line center. Evgeni Malkin also took a quick twirl, but did not wear full pads.

However, that doesn't mean the Penguins didn't get anything done.

Most importantly, said Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma, the team got a chance to rest a bit by staying off the ice. Instead, the team met in the morning, watched a little video and talked about points they want to stress in Game 2 on Friday.


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Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 3:59 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Senators have options on defense if Gryba can't go

PITTSBURGH -- While not flatly ruling hulking defenseman Eric Grybe out for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal series with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators coach coach Paul MacLean said the team has contingency plans for who might take Gryba's place.

"If Gryba's not available, [Mike] Lundin and [Andre] Benoit are here with us," MacLean said after an optional practice Wednesday at Consol Energy Center. "[Patrick] Wiercioch, right now, I'd say is not available with a lower-body injury, but we'll have discussions on that."

Gryba left the ice after a collision with Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik late during the second period of Pittsburgh's 4-1 victory in Game 1 on Tuesday. The Senators said he has an upper-body injury that will be evaluated.

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Posted On Wednesday, 05.15.2013 / 3:01 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Senators' Spezza ruled out for Game 2

Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean on Wednesday said center Jason Spezza would not play in Game 2 of the team's Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Spezza has not played since having back surgery Feb. 1 to repair a herniated disc but has been skating with the team's extra players since May 10.
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Posted On Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 2:48 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Senators to focus on their strengths

PITTSBURGH -- The raw numbers are striking -- and strikingly simple.

The Pittsburgh Penguins led the NHL in goals during the regular season; the Ottawa Senators were the Eastern Conference's best team at preventing them.

So the seventh-seeded Senators know what style of play they will turn to in hopes of succeeding in their Eastern Conference Semifinal series against the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins. Game 1 is Tuesday ((7:30 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, NBCSN) here at Consol Energy Center.

"Giving them odd-man rushes, with their skill, is not going to work to our favor," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said. "So we want to play a disciplined game -- but also not just play a passive game. We want to get engaged and get the forecheck going. That's how we're going to generate our chances."

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 2:08 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Kennedy, Vitale staying in Penguins' lineup

PITTSBURGH -- Tyler Kennedy will be keeping his spot in the Pittsburgh Penguins' lineup when the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Ottawa Senators opens Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, NBCSN).

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said it's not just because of Kennedy's inspired play late in the previous round, either.

During the morning skate in advance of Game 1 Tuesday, Pittsburgh showed the same line combinations and defense pairings it did during practice Monday. That means the only apparent change from the lineup Bylsma employed for victories in Games 5 and 6 of the first-round win against the New York Islanders is Deryk Engelland in for Simon Despres on defense.

"It's not just what happened in the first round for our team and the players who played in the first round when it comes to our lineup and the decisions we make," Bylsma said.

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Posted On Tuesday, 05.14.2013 / 1:49 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Vokoun starting in goal for Penguins

PITTSBURGH -- The man at the forefront might have been the only person explicitly and formally informed of a decision from Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma that everyone awaited.

Tomas Vokoun informed reporters Tuesday morning that he would be the team's starting goaltender against the Ottawa Senators in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS, NBCSN).

"I'm not surprised," defenseman Matt Niskanen said. "He played really well in what was a tough situation to come into like he did last series. He came in after having not played in a while and shut the door."

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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 3:13 PM

By Chris Adamski -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Penguins, Cooke solely focused on winning

PITTSBURGH -- If people still are talking about a feud between the Ottawa Senators and Matt Cooke, no one in the Pittsburgh Penguins' locker room is.

With the Eastern Conference Semifinal series between the teams starting Tuesday, issues surrounding Cooke and the Senators -- Cooke is blamed for the Achilles injury that sidelined Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson for more than two months -- have become an afterthought among the players.

"That's all outside the locker room," Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis said. "It's media, it's Twitter, it's Facebook. It's not stuff that [concerns us]."

"The off-ice stuff and accusations and that stuff, it does not play into the series for our team," added Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma. "We're definitely not going to make it a part of the series for our team. Whether there's emotion there on their side -- I don't think so. I think they'll be focused on winning four hockey games."

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Posted On Monday, 05.13.2013 / 1:32 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  /NHL.com - Penguins-Senators series blog

Spezza not traveling with Senators

The Ottawa Senators announced Monday that center Jason Spezza would not travel with the team to for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, instead remaining in Ottawa ton continue his rehabilitation from back surgery.

Spezza had surgery Feb. 1 to repair a herniated disc. On May 10 he began skating with the team's "black aces," its extra players, with the hope that he could return to the team at some point in the series.

In five games this season, Spezza had two goals and three assists. His last game was Jan. 27.

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