The most anticipated Eastern Conference quarterfinal match-up begins tonight when the Ottawa Senators take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at 7 p.m. on VERSUS. The Penguins posted a 3-1 mark against the Senators this season, with Pittsburgh taking the final three in the regular season set.
NHL phenom and Art Ross Trophy recipient Sidney Crosby gets his first taste of playoff action when his Penguins take on one of the league’s most feared trios of offensive talent in Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson. The threesome powers an Ottawa offense that ranked second in the NHL with 288 goals. Pittsburgh also possesses significant offensive punch with Crosby and other young stars like Evegeni Malkin and Jordan Staal, along with veterans Mark Recchi and Gary Roberts.
Along the blue line, the Senators have four players who have tallied at least 30 points this season in Tom Pressing, Wade Redden, Joe Corvo and Andrej Meszaros. The Penguins defensive corps are led by the tandem of veteran Sergei Gonchar with the young and talented Ryan Whitney. Between the pipes both clubs will go with players who will make their postseason debut with Ottawa’s Ray Emery battling the Penguins’ Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Penguins made a statement at this year’s trade deadline acquiring former Panthers forward Gary Roberts along with tough guy George Laraque to compliment their young nucleus of talent. The Senators, with their high octane of offense, have been positioned by many hockey analysts as the Stanley Cup favorites since day one, but they will have their hands full with a Penguins club that will put it all on the line each night and has nothing to lose.