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Penguins vs Senators

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Penguins vs Senators - 2013 SCP Conference Semifinals

Spezza feeling good day after double-OT triumph

Erin Nicks - Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza was his usual smiling self Monday, seemingly suffering no ill effects after Ottawa's grinding double-overtime victory Sunday.

The Senators beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series, breathing new hope into the club, which had been down 2-0 in the series.

Spezza, who played for the first time since a herniated disc in his back shelved him on Jan. 27, had a relatively steady night, finishing with 18:40 of ice time and winning 60 percent of his faceoffs.

"I feel good," Spezza said Monday. "To play a double-overtime game and coming out no worse for wear is definitely positive for me and encouraging that I made the right decision [to play]. I took a pretty good pounding and played more than we had initially planned, but it's all positive and I hope to get even better as we go on."

Karlsson raises game to elevate Senators

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

OTTAWA -- Erik Karlsson was a lonely man.

Sitting in the penalty box Sunday night with his Ottawa Senators down a goal and staring at a potential 0-3 deficit in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Karlsson was not thinking happy thoughts.

"I don't know," the defenseman said when asked to describe his frame of mind after being called for slashing with 1:27 to play in regulation of Game 3 Sunday. "It's not looking bright."

Senators' penalty kill makes difference at both ends

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

OTTAWA -- After allowing three power-play goals in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Ottawa Senators' penalty kill came up big when it was needed most.

Against perhaps the finest collection of talent in the NHL, the Senators went a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill -- and scored the game-tying shorthanded goal -- in a 2-1, double-overtime Game 3 win Sunday night.

"I think when you play teams numerous times you start to learn their tendencies. With Pittsburgh it's hard to learn their tendencies because they have a lot of talent on their power play," said Colin Greening, who was the overtime hero after captain Daniel Alfredsson tied the game with 28.6 seconds remaining in regulation time. "We still have lots to learn in terms of the PK, but I thought we were successful tonight.

Penguins 'have to regroup' after stunning loss

Erin Nicks - Correspondent

OTTAWA -- It took three games, but the Pittsburgh Penguins finally got their first real taste of the so-called "Pesky Sens."

The Ottawa Senators' Game 3 victory in their Eastern Conference Semifinal against the Penguins provided hope to the flailing Canadian club, which was down 2-0 in the best-of-7 series, and trailing with 30 seconds to go, before getting a 2-1 double-overtime win Sunday.

For the Penguins, it's back to the drawing board after a loss that left them exhausted, perplexed and a bit snippy.

"What do you want me to say? The game just finished and I don't know … we have to regroup," forward Tanner Glass said.

Spezza's injury gave opportunity to young Senators

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor

OTTAWA -- It is not a stretch to say that if Jason Spezza had never been forced to undergo back surgery Feb. 1 and miss three months of action, Ottawa Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau would have been lucky to play in the American Hockey League this season.

Now, Pageau is set to sit on the same bench as Spezza when the Senators take on the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

When the 2012-13 season began, Pageau's No. 1 goal was to play for the Binghamton Senators of the AHL. There was one piece of paper he wanted more than anything at the time: a letter from the Senators organization telling him to find a permanent residence in Binghamton.

He waited. Then he waited some more.

"It took two-and-a-half or three months before I got that letter," Pageau said Sunday. "So I just stayed at the hotel and I didn't know if they would send me back to junior or to the ECHL, I didn't know what was happening."

Senators' Karlsson 'not playing the way I want to'

Erin Nicks - Correspondent

OTTAWA -- If the Ottawa Senators have any hope of regaining a foothold in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, they need their defense, specifically Erik Karlsson, to spring to life.

Karlsson logged 15:37 of ice time during the Senators' 4-3, Game 2 loss to the Penguins on Friday, an all-time Stanley Cup Playoff low for the Swede. With Ottawa down 2-0 in the best-of-7 series, and Game 3 Sunday at Scotiabank Place (7 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS), the Norris Trophy winner knows he has to step up.

"I'm not playing the way I want to," Karlsson said. "I [have to] play a little bit more poised with the puck and a little bit faster in our own zone. I can't doubt myself."

Senators' stars not shining vs. Penguins

Chris Adamski - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- For the Ottawa Senators to have any chance of upsetting the top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, their best players are going to have to be their best players.

Erik Karlsson
Defense - OTT
GOALS: 1 | ASST: 5 | PTS: 6
SOG: 16 | +/-: 2

That definitely was not the case in Game 2 on Friday night.

Reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson was minus-2 and had more minor penalties (one) than points, hits and shots on goal combined. Goalie Craig Anderson, the NHL regular-season leader in goals-against average and save percentage, was pulled after allowing three goals on 21 shots. Longtime captain and franchise icon Daniel Alfredsson had one shot on goal and was minus-1.

The result? A 4-3 win for the Penguins and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.

"It's one of those things where you've got to keep getting better," Anderson said. "You're going to have some adversity, and teams are going to have to battle through it."

The Senators don't have much time to do that if they are going to stay in the series. Game 3 is Sunday at Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS). A loss in that game could all but turn out the lights on Ottawa's season.

Crosby's hat trick demonstrates his full range of skills

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby was at his best Friday night in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. As a result, he rewrote the Pittsburgh Penguins' history book a bit and gave his team a 2-0 series lead against the Ottawa Senators.

Sidney Crosby
Center - PIT
GOALS: 6 | ASST: 6 | PTS: 12
SOG: 32 | +/-: 0

Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said he started the line of Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis because he wanted to send a message to his team about how important the game was.

"You look to those guys to set the tone to come out and not only just set the tone but the way we play, the way we execute -- that's why you start that line and what you got from the veteran guys to start the game," Bylsma said after a 4-3 victory that featured a Crosby hat trick.

Crosby's line did not score on the opening shift, but they did dominate zone play to put the Senators back on their heels. Crosby was on the board soon enough, though.

Martin's revival came with return to defensive roots

Shawn P. Roarke - Senior Managing Editor

PITTSBURGH -- Paul Martin has found his comfort zone on the ice.

The journey was neither easy nor pleasant, at times, but the results for the Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman are simply stunning. After a career year during the regular season -- 23 points and a plus-14 in 34 regular-season games -- Martin has been a point-per game player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with seven points in seven games.

He looks to add to that total Friday night when the Penguins play host to the Ottawa Senators in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Consol Energy Center (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS). Pittsburgh leads the best-of-7 series, 1-0.

"I know the type of player I am and what I bring to the table, and I'm comfortable and confident with that and that is the way it is going to be," Martin said.

Conacher using physical edge to stand tall for Ottawa

Chris Adamski - Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- At 5-foot-8, Cory Conacher always had to do a little something extra if he was going to stand out from the crowd.

The Ottawa Senators rookie wing has found a way to do that, in what would be among the most unexpected of manners for someone who is tied for the second-shortest player still active in these Stanley Cup Playoffs.

He gets physical, agitates and isn't afraid to mix it up with those who tower over him in height and weight.

"I've always had that little bit of an edge and attitude to my game," Conacher said a day after taking three minor penalties during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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