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Pittsburgh Penguins-Ottawa Senators Game Breakers

Monday, 04.07.2008 / 12:04 PM / 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs

By NHL.com Staff

Sidney Crosby --
An ankle injury limited Crosby in the second half of the season, but if the Pens' captain is healthy, there's no question about who is the best player in the League. Crosby's presence makes the Pens a sure Stanley Cup favorite.
Evgeni Malkin --
The Russian center emerged from Crosby's lengthy shadow this season, jumping into the running for the scoring title and League MVP. He should be motivated to improve last spring's no-goal, four-assist showing in the Penguins' first-round loss to Ottawa.

Sergei Gonchar --
The Penguins' lone veteran defenseman, Gonchar is like a fourth forward every time he's on the ice. He's a force on the point on the power play, and his positive double-digit plus-minus rating shows he's paying attention to the defensive end of the ice as well.

Jason Spezza --
The linchpin to the Senators' top line, Spezza will look to build on last season's breakout playoff performance where he scored 22 points in 20 games. Spezza has a tendency to freelance a bit, but he has the kind of skills that will take your breath away.
Chris Phillips --
Ottawa's best defensive defenseman, Phillips might have the toughest job on the team, anchoring a defense playing in front of a pair of goaltenders that have been struggling mightily. With neither Martin Gerber nor Ray Emery providing consistency in net, it will fall on Phillips to keep things as easy as possible for the goalie.

Dany Heatley
One of the game's most prolific scorers, Heatley is coming off a 41-goal season, his third straight with 40 or more goals. A shoulder injury prior to the All-Star Game likely cost him a chance for three straight 50-goal seasons.
Quote of the Day

He seemed to thrive on his own and didn't really need any push from me. I certainly don't want to get in the way of the coaches. You see how that goes sometimes. I never really worried about it and just enjoyed the ride.

— David Ekblad on his son's [Aaron Ekblad] journey to the NHL, signing with the Florida Panthers