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Senators vs. Penguins: Game One

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

4:00 PM: The be-all and end-all of Sens game previews. Gord Wilson gets you locked and loaded for Game 1 in Pittsburgh.

3:30 PM: Sens TV has their usual slate of goodness for you to digest with clips from Coach MacLean and a handful of players.

Coach MacLean:

Chris Neil:

Craig Anderson:

Mika Zibanejad:

Cory Conacher:

2:20 PM: Erik Karlsson has a lot of eyes on him heading into this Round 2 series with Pittsburgh for a multitude of reasons. Here's what he had to say ahead of Game 1...

On facing the Pens' firepower:

What is there to say? Sometimes you can do your best and do all the right things and it's still not enough. We've got to be aware of the skillset they have on their team and the type of players they have. At the same time, we have to play our game and skate hard and skate a lot and keep the puck out of our zone.
On playing with Gonchar:
It's been a lot of fun. I think this is the third year now and he's brought a lot of positive things to this team from when he first came and, you know, just a solid guy. The type of guy he is and the way he plays the game. He's been around forever and he kind of knows all the things there is to know about life and hockey... He's been here for a number of years and he knows a lot of guys on the other team. I think all he has said is they're a good team and I think we all know that. They play hockey in a fun way, they play with a lot of skill but at the same time they're very structured and it's going to be a tough challenge.
On taking on the Pens in the playoffs:
It's always fun playing Pittsburgh. They've been a great team for a long time, ever since I got into the league at least, you always know you have to step up your game and be prepared for whatever they throw at you. You've just got to play your best every night.
1:20 PM: Eric Gryba has yet to play the Pittsburgh Penguins in his young NHL career; he earned his recall after Erik Karlsson was injurd in February. Gryba talked about applying lessons from Round 1 to a new opponent and getting ready to face a star-studded lineup.

On how to handle the Pens defensively:

We're going to have to defend hard and make them try to defend in their O zone as much as possible... We're definitely going to try and bring a physical aspect to this series again. That will play to our strengths. I'm sure they'll try to answer back but I think we should hold them to a physical game for sure.
On the biggest challenges they offer:
You're always excited playing against the best players in the world and I this will be a good opportunity to see how I stack up against them and try and shut them down as best as we can... Their power play is going to be a significant threat so we're going to have work extra hard and be extra diligent on the penalty kill to shut down that aspect of their game.
On taking lessons from Round 1:
The overall experience, playing in front of the great crowds. For me, I got a little more media attention than I was expecting but it (the series) was an experience that I've obviously never had before and I'll cherish and hopefully I'll bring the positive attributes from that to this series...I think the guys are more confident right now after a big first round win and I think everyone is starting to hit their stride and feeling confident. That's huge when you get ready to play a team like Pittsburgh.
On what he's heard about playing in Pittsburgh:
I've heard its an electric building and they have a lot of energy, especially off the start of games. They come out hard and play hard. We're ready for the challenge... We're playing in front of good crowds everywhere we've been so we're going to take what we learned in Montreal and apply it to this series.
On how Pittsburgh's game matches up vs. Montreal:
I'd definitely rather play against a little bit more of a hard-nosed team than a pure little fast skilled team. Obviously they have more than enough skill but they have a little more edge to them which is good.
12:40 PM: Craig Anderson spoke about the Pittsburgh matchup, playing his old teammate Tomas Vokoun and what the team needs to do to contain the Penguins' attack.

On his relationship with Vokoun:

If you're not pushing forward and trying to take someone's job, someone is going to push forward and try and take yours. He played a lot of games and I was just kind of there to support him. I thought we complimented each other really well. Some nights he was better than me, some nights I was better than him but at the end of the day we didn't make the playoffs together so we didn't get the job done. We talk once and a while, more so about car stuff than anything else. He likes his cars... he doesn't really have a passion for one make or model, he's just a car fanatic... It's always fun when you play against guys you know and, at the end of the day, you're more or less fighting for bragging rights at the end of the season. It's just one of those things where it's a good rivalry, it makes it fun and it gives you stories to talk about down the road.
On carrying what went right vs. Montreal into this series:
We played a really physical game against Montreal but we didn't run out of position to make a big hit. We played within our system and were just getting bumps whenever we could. If you take the body, the puck isn't a factor if you're taking man-on-man so sometimes that can be the best play rather than going for the puck.
On containing Pittsburgh's star power:
At the end of the day, with Crosby and Malkin, if you give those guys 2-on-1's they're going to score and score often. That's the type of players they are. When you play as a team and limit the amount of quality scoring chances they have, it makes my job a lot easier and that pride goes up.
On the Sens PK vs. the Pens PP:
It's a battle of the giants. We've had a great penalty kill all year and they've had a great power play. I think they were 3-for-8 or 4-for-9 or whatever it was against the Islanders. You know they're clicking really well and making plays and it'll be a good challenge for us. At the same time, they're thinking the same thing. It'll be a good challenge for their power play to play against one of the better PKs... It's hard work and being in the right spot at the right time. At the same time it's paying the price, taking a hit to make a play or blocking a shot. It's the little things that maybe don't go on the scoresheet that make teams do well on the penalty kill.
On the team's defensive strengths:
I think we always seem to have back pressure and third guy high, so we do get odd man rushes against but we limit the amount of them. Usually goalies can make one or two big saves a night for their team but when you start giving up four, five or six good quality scoring chances it's when you end up finding three or four in the back of the net.
On what he did with the downtime:
I played Dad. I hadn't done that for a while so it was fun to take over the role and hang out with my son a little bit and spend more time than I usually have. He knows Mac from TV and Alfie. We're working on King (Erik Karlsson), he can say King he just doesn't know who he is when he sees him on TV.

11:30 AM: The Sens are on the ice for their morning skate.

11:20 AM: Tomas Vokoun is the confirmed starter for the Penguins tonight.

11:00 AM: Sens TV went into the dressing room after the Sens clinched their Round 1 series win. Take a peek inside and see what the captain had to say after the win.

10:30 AM: These teams are already fairly acquainted with one another, but it will hit another level going forward. Cory Conacher is seen here doing a little recon on the Pens' morning skate.

9:30 AM: It's Game 1 Game Day in Pittsburgh and your Ottawa Senators will be kicking off their series with the Penguins tonight when the puck is dropped at 7:30 pm at the CONSOL Energy Center. An OT goal from Brooks Orpik in Game 6 of their Round 1 matchup against the Islanders clinched the Penguins' second round berth against the Sens after Ottawa knocked off the Montreal Canadiens in five games.

The Sens will hit the ice at 11:30 am for their morning skate in Pittsburgh. I'll have plenty of updates to follow including, but not limited to, lineup changes, players thoughts on tonight's game, Sens TV updates, Instagram goodness and more.

Stay tuned!

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