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Penguins vs Senators

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Penguins vs Senators - 2013 SCP Conference Semifinals

Penguins scoring at prolific playoff rate

Chris Adamski - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are scoring at a rate not seen during the Stanley Cup Playoffs since Wayne Gretzky was active.

Not that the Penguins know that. Nor care.

"I don't even know or look at the number of goals we're scoring," coach Dan Bylsma said Thursday afternoon, the day after a 7-3 victory against the Ottawa Senators in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series.

"I don't even look at the scoreboard at the end of a game. … The scoreboard or the game sheet, all it said is that we won the game and we've got three wins. Now we need the fourth one."

Up 3-1 in the best-of-7 series, Pittsburgh is looking to close out Ottawa in Game 5 Friday at Consol Energy Center (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Pens didn't let Anderson's dominance get them down

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

OTTAWA – The Craig Anderson dam finally burst Wednesday night, and the result was a flood of goals by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Penguins had two full days to think about how Anderson stole Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday by making 49 saves in the Ottawa Senators' 2-1 double overtime win. They kept telling themselves that if they continued to produce a high number of quality scoring chances, they would eventually convert.

That's exactly what happened in Game 4, as the Penguins scored six times on Anderson in a 7-3 win that gave Pittsburgh a 3-1 series lead. Game 5 is scheduled for Friday in Pittsburgh (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

Penguins' Neal breaks through with pair of goals

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

OTTAWAJames Neal had expressed confidence in his game prior to Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but deep down, his inability to score once in the first three games of the best-of-7 series was weighing on him.

"It felt good," Neal said after scoring twice and adding an assist in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 7-3 win against the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night. "I felt snake-bitten after having some good looks and not being able to finish. Our team's been playing well, so as long as we win, I'm not worried about scoring. But it did feel good to chip in tonight."

The Penguins lead the series 3-1, with Game 5 slated for Friday in Pittsburgh (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

When Neal hit the far post from a sharp angle early in the game, he couldn't help but raise his eyes to the sky and wonder when he would finally find the back of the net.

Alfredsson won't discuss his future past Game 5

Erin Nicks - Correspondent

OTTAWA – The Ottawa Senators may have played their final home game of the season Wednesday. The question remains whether it was the final game in Ottawa for captain Daniel Alfredsson.

The Senators were thumped 7-3 by the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Scotiabank Place, leaving them down 3-1 in the best-of-7 series. With Game 5 set for Friday at Consol Energy Center (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), and the Senators reeling, Alfredsson was forced to be blunt when asked if his club could rebound.

Daniel Alfredsson
Right Wing - OTT
GOALS: 4 | ASST: 6 | PTS: 10
SOG: 27 | +/-: 4

"Probably not," Alfredsson said. "I mean, with their depth and power play right now, you know, it doesn't look too good.

"When you look at what we did, it wasn't good enough. Does that mean [Pittsburgh] was good? Did we make them good? Who really cares? From our point of view, we didn't manage the puck [well], we didn't execute our passes, and subsequently, we got punished in the neutral zone. We turned way too many pucks over and gave them some freebies. It would have been nice to have the lead for a little bit longer, but now we're back on our heels again. We didn't shut them down when it matters."

Morrow out, Jokinen and Bennett dress for Penguins

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

OTTAWA – Left wing Brenden Morrow was not in the Pittsburgh Penguins' lineup for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place on Wednesday night.

Morrow left practice early on Tuesday and did not take part in the optional morning skate Wednesday.

His spot at left wing on the third line with Brandon Sutter and Matt Cooke was filled by Tyler Kennedy, who moves up from the fourth line. Kennedy's spot was filled by rookie Beau Bennett, who suited up for the first time since Game 3 of the first round against the New York Islanders, a span of six games.

Golfer Fritsch becomes part of Senators family

Tal Pinchevsky - Staff Writer

He's not exactly a two-sport star, but pro golfer Brad Fritsch is a unique athlete. The Ottawa native and longtime Ottawa Senators fan enjoyed his first PGA Tour top-10 finish in January and has established himself as a unique figure on the tour.

That's due in large part to an endorsement deal he has with the Senators, whose logo is emblazoned on Fritsch's shirt and golf bag. It's a unique partnership that has earned the 35-year-old some attention on the links.

"I hear people yelling, 'Go Sens,' pretty often when I'm teeing off. I'm not really sure what to do in that situation. It's pretty funny," Fritsch told "Every so often, I'll hear someone say, 'What about the Red Wings? Come on.'"

The promotional partnership isn't unprecedented. Last year, Nationwide Tour golfer Adam Hadwin entered into a similar agreement with the Vancouver Canucks. But Fritsch's recent PGA Tour success has made him a high-profile member of Senators nation. Fritsch even dropped the ceremonial puck on Feb. 21 prior to their game against the New York Rangers.

Methot matched against Crosby brings back memories

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators defensemen Erik Karlsson and Marc Methot have drawn the unenviable task of shutting down Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby in their Eastern Conference Semifinal series -- or at least attempting to do so.

For Methot, at least, this is nothing new.

He had the same assignment when he was playing for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League at the 2005 MasterCard Memorial Cup, where the Knights defeated Crosby's Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League once in the preliminary round and again in the final.

Methot and defense partner Dan Girardi (now of the New York Rangers) combined with forward Brandon Prust (now of the Montreal Canadiens) to try to blanket Crosby in the tournament. After allowing Crosby to get a goal and an assist in a 4-3 preliminary-round win, the Knights shut out the Oceanic 4-0 in the championship.

Penguins, Neal not concerned with his lack of scoring

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

James Neal
Left Wing - PIT
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 3
SOG: 17 | +/-: 1
OTTAWA – Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal has yet to score a goal against the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and has scored once thus far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, the 40-goal scorer has a very philosophical outlook on the untimely drought.

"You can't get frustrated," Neal said after practice Tuesday. "It's fun to be in the playoffs, it's fun to be playing hockey every day, so you've got to enjoy this. If you don't, it all goes fast. I think when you stay upbeat and stay excited and stay happy, goals and points and that kind of stuff will come. With the team being successful, everything's all right."

Senators' fourth line making first-rate contributions

Erin Nicks - Correspondent

OTTAWA -- The Stanley Cup Playoffs can give birth to unexpected heroes. In the case of the Ottawa Senators, those special players have come in the form of their fourth line, consisting of Colin Greening, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Erik Condra.

Condra and Greening, each in their third season with the Senators, have joined the rookie Pageau as an integral part of Ottawa's youth movement and its success in the postseason.

"That line -- in the eight games that we've played so far -- has consistently been our best line in the playoffs," Senators coach Paul MacLean said. "Game to game, shift to shift, they've been extremely important to us. Not only 5-on-5, but they also contribute killing penalties. They play very important minutes for us."

Anderson, Senators reap benefits of confidence

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

OTTAWA – It is often said of young teams competing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs that they need to lose so they can learn to win.

Craig Anderson
Goalie - OTT
GAA: 2.17 | SVP: 0.940
If ever that adage were to be applied to a player, it would fit Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson, whose personal losses in his career have led to the even-keeled persona he lives by today.

It's a personality trait he feels is a big part of his success in leading the Senators to the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a best-of-7 series they trail 2-1. Game 4 is Wednesday at Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"Earlier in my career there were times where you feel really good about your game and you're all excited to be there, then you have a bad day and it's like someone shot your dog," Anderson said Monday, one day after his 49 saves backstopped the Senators to a 2-1 double-overtime win in Game 3. "You can't play hockey that way; you have to be a professional and come to work every day and stay nice and even. Usually you have better results when you just focus on things you can control."

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