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It’s official: Pens will face Sens in second-round series

May 11, 2013, 10:27 PM EDT

erikkarlssoninjuryap AP

No matter what happens on what’s bound to be an eventful Sunday of playoff action, at least one second-round series is set as of Saturday. The East’s No. 1 seed Pittsburgh Penguins will face the seventh-ranked Ottawa Senators in the semifinals.

These two teams aren’t strangers by any means. One unavoidable storyline will be Matt Cooke‘s forensic study-inspiring hit that injured Erik Karlsson. However you feel about that controversial moment, Cooke is likely to hear it from Senators fans when the series shifts to Ottawa for Games 3 and 4 (and possibly 6).

The two teams have some recent postseason history to boot. The Senators beat the Penguins 4-1 in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin‘s first career playoff series in 2007. The Pens have gotten the best of the Sens since then, taking the next two series between the two franchises in 2008 and 2010.

Of course, plenty has changed since then. Karlsson has emerged as a key component of Ottawa’s attack, Paul MacLean is behind the Senators bench and the Penguins have seen some key roster alterations.

The Penguins might be the heavy favorites in this upcoming series, but both the Islanders and Senators’ first-round showings suggest that Pittsburgh shouldn’t take Ottawa lightly.

  1. Stiller43 - May 11, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    I just pray to god the pens can finally clear the zone when needed. Their zone play was SO sloppy vs the isles.

  2. phillyphanatic77 - May 11, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    The Sens are a dangerous team right now. The Penguins will definitely have their hands full. Pittsburgh got outplayed for long stretches against the Isles but were able to capitalize on numerous scoring chances bc of a combination of pure skill and Nabokov’s shaky play. It won’t be as easy to put the puck past Anderson, who was excellent against the Habs (and all season). I still think the Pens advance but it could go the distance. They have to dictate play like they did in games 1 and 5 if they want to go to the East finals.

  3. ucaneverscorenoughgoals - May 11, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    Well, if the forensic analysis somehow reveals Cooke knew exactly how to angle his skate while falling away…..after pinning Karlsson to the boards……Then maybe the pens play Jussi Jokinen……he kills penalties as well.

    • andrewproughcfe - May 11, 2013 at 11:11 PM

      Cooke wasn’t falling away, his motion was still forward toward the wall.

      As a Pens fan, I’m tired of seeing people make excuses for this guy. He’s not a particularly good or skilled player (7 power play goals in 13 seasons tells me all I need to know), and his concussion shot on Savard was way out of line. I’m glad to see that Karlsson is getting a chance at payback, although I too would much rather see Jokinen playing.

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - May 11, 2013 at 11:43 PM

        I’m not defending or making excuses for Cooke. I agree that the shot on Savard was bush league. However, the idea that Cooke or any player has enough body control to injure Karlsson as a predetermined act in the middle of a game is ridiculous.

        I’m glad Karlsson is recovered without any effects but, being glad he has a chance for payback suggests you actually buy into this conspiracy/forensic nonsense.

        Should I believe that Steckel intentionally lowered his shoulder in the 2011 winter classic to take Crosby out? He could have skated around him right? How about the player who collasped Malkin’s knee two months later? Most body checks are higher…..so he did it on purpose right?

        I’m fully aware of Matt Cooke’s history but don’t act like Cooke is sooooo much different than a guy like Chris Neil or any other instigator.

      • andrewproughcfe - May 12, 2013 at 12:12 AM

        If you are “fully aware of Matt Cooke’s history” then why defend it? Just because he has a penguin on his shirt?

        I’m a Steeler fan, and I cheered like crazy for Santonio Holmes when he caught the Super Bowl winning TD in Feb., 2009 – but I was also glad they got rid of him. I certainly wouldn’t spend any time making excuses for his poor on-field and off-field choices. Matt Cooke is far, far less skilled in his sport than Santonio Holmes is at football, so I’m definitely not making any excuses for his choices, behavior, or reckless, dangerous play. If his out-of-control play causes injuries, he’s got to live with it.

      • Kristenaux - May 12, 2013 at 1:21 AM

        I’m a Pens fan as well…a big one. But I still don’t like what Cooke does and I get tired of him taking stupid/REALLY dumb penalties which sit him in the box & then the opposition scores on their power play. We have even lost two games that I can think of in recent history, because he took an unnecessary penalty! The guy has moments when you can see he could play if he set his mind to it, but he chooses to act like a moron instead. I would not be sad to see him go…

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - May 12, 2013 at 9:39 AM

        Once agin Andrew, I’m not defending Matt Cooke. Btw, thanks for avoiding the questions regarding the Crosby and Malkin injuires that could have been considered cheap shots and diverting the conversation to football……..The analogy wasn’t even comparable.

        I wasn’t overly crazy about Santanio Holmes stupidity either but he wasn’t taking cheap shots. Now, Ryan Clark…..different story…..much better comparison.

        Some of Matt Cooke’s previous actions make me cringe, and some of the stupid penalites he takes infuriate me. BUT, not everything is black and white. He is in instigator just like Chris Neil of of the Sens. He is a very good penalty killer and every GM in the league whether they like him or hate him would acknowledge that. And, he hustles his rear end off.

        I hate alot of what Matt Cooke does, but I’m not so naive to disregard what he does well.

  4. ironman721 - May 11, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    This one is going 7. You heard it hear 1st.

  5. valoisvipers - May 11, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    Too late Phillyphanatic77 beat you to it.

  6. podevil - May 11, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    phillyphanatic77 – May 11, 2013 at 10:35 PM
    The Sens are a dangerous team right now. The Penguins will definitely have their hands full. Pittsburgh got outplayed for long stretches against the Isles but were able to capitalize on numerous scoring chances bc of a combination of pure skill and Nabokov’s shaky play. It won’t be as easy to put the puck past Anderson, who was excellent against the Habs (and all season). I still think the Pens advance but it could go the distance. They have to dictate play like they did in games 1 and 5 if they want to go to the East finals.

    very good analysis! Spot on!

  7. bobhpine - May 11, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    I can’t wait for two weeks of Matt Cooke hating and tin foil hat conspiracy theories from Eugene Melnyk.

    If eigglesnosuperbowls had a billion dollars and about 40 more IQ points, he’d be Melnyk, which is to say an annoying moron. But eigglesnosuperbowls will never have a billion dollars. He only gets whatever Mom leaves him on the kitchen table for the day.

  8. killerpgh - May 11, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    Hopefully the Senators are preoccupied with Cooke like the were the last meeting between these 2 teams. Should be a good series. Spezza is skating and could be a huge boost for the Sens mid series.

  9. killerpgh - May 11, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    Looking for non Penguins fans to respond to this post. Does anyone else find the Senators front office (GM/Owner) to be the most whiniest front office (through the media) of any NHL team? Maybe it’s just against the Penguins but they always seem to complain post game through the media. It’s one thing to try and work the refs, but Murray always seems to have something to say. I’m not trying to bash Murray as I think he is a great GM as far as drafting the right players, but he annoys the piss out of me.

    • blkeskimo1785 - May 11, 2013 at 11:30 PM

      Compared to the Canadiens, their front office looked pretty sane.

    • sjsblitz - May 12, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      Ive seen worst. Habs calling cops on Chara, lol wut?

  10. Stiller43 - May 11, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    Andrewproughcfe,

    So the skill of players is only measured in playoff goals? You think he’s getting lots of shots the last few years with 87, 71, and 18 (or 14) out there regularly?

    Players fill different roles….he doesnt have to be a PP forward to be skilled at what he does…

    • andrewproughcfe - May 11, 2013 at 11:41 PM

      I didn’t say playoff goals – I said powerplay goals. He has 7. In 13 years. Seven.

      Chris Kunitz is also a left winger. He’s got 53 PP goals in 8 years.

      Cooke does have one distinction. Among active players he is ranked #18 with 1068 penalty minutes.

      • chanceoffleury1 - May 12, 2013 at 12:45 AM

        The fact Cooke doesn’t even play on the powerplay more than every once in a while might have something to do with his lack of powerplay goals….

        Chris Kunitz regularly has played on the top powerplay unit with Malkin and Letang for a couple years now.

      • chanceoffleury1 - May 12, 2013 at 12:48 AM

        That’s supposed to say “Malkin, Letang, and Crosby” not just “Malkin and Letang”.

  11. 8man - May 11, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    First, congratulations to the Islanders. Gritty and gutty effort. Something to build on.

    Second, I’ve never been to Ottawa. I don’t know Ottawa. Hell, I don’t think I could find it on a map. But damn, if I’m not rooting for them against the pens. Sens and pens. The sword is mightier. C’mon Senators!

    • Kristenaux - May 12, 2013 at 1:27 AM

      Let’s be honest here. As big a Pens fan as I am, I’m not blind to the fact that these Isles could have stolen the series right out from under the Pens. They had focus, they had discipline, they played structured and hard. At times they made my Pens look like they were pylons! They have nothing to be ashamed of not advancing in this series, it just didn’t happen. But watch them next year, all things being the same!

  12. fbothharbaughs - May 11, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    Where’s the head of the FLYlanders fan club?

    What’s next, FilthadelphiOTTAWA?

    • holeecowman - May 12, 2013 at 4:38 PM

      lol your a clown dude grow the eff up

      • fbothharbaughs - May 12, 2013 at 8:58 PM

        Who are you to tell me to grow the eff up, douchebag?

  13. caniac4ever - May 12, 2013 at 12:06 AM

    Sens are a hungry team. Will be a good series.

  14. Stiller43 - May 12, 2013 at 1:58 AM

    Andrewprough,

    I messed up and typed playoff the first time, but PP the other times and that was the context of the whole reply.

    How many chances does he have on the PP with the other talent on the team? His role isnt a top scorer. He’s a gritty, grind it out forward to plays on the PK, and he fills his role damn well

  15. thewaytonever - May 12, 2013 at 5:46 AM

    this is going be a hell of a series. that sens blue line is solid and with Anderson in net its going to be hard to score. will be interesting to see if Vokuun or Flower is in the.pipes. Sens look like the most dangerous team the pens could have to face for the rest of the playoffs.

  16. steelcity412 - May 12, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    The sens are terrible , although anything can happen in the playoffs . The pens will take the series and should have no trouble like they did with the isles , Ottawa is not nearly as quick and their top goon Neil will paralyze them with stupid penalties that lead to pens pp goals . Pens take series 4-1

    • sjsblitz - May 12, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      You forget Anderson? In a battle of Goaltenders you’d have to be extremely biased to think Fleury/Vokoun can compare to Anderson alone

    • phillyphanatic77 - May 12, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      I keep hearing from Pens fans that “Ottawa is not nearly as quick” as NYI but I think that’s kind of ridiculous. People are saying it to convince themselves that the Isles series was a fluke and that the Pens will be back to their dominance against Ottawa. The Islanders are not THAT quick, they just outhustled the Pens. Do the Isles have anyone on the blueline close to Karlsson’s speed? Hell he’s about a good a skater as Grabner (when 100%). Karlsson, Conacher, Silfverberg, Zibanejad, Michalek, JG Pageau, Turris, etc. There is plenty of speed in that lineup. And you didn’t even make mention of Anderson, the hottest goalie in the playoffs. I’m not saying Ottawa will win but it’s completely ridiculous to say the Pens will have “no trouble” against the Sens.

      • zico25 - May 12, 2013 at 1:35 PM

        Please excuse the extreme yinzer/homer fans of Pittsburgh when they make comments like that. Not all of us are of the same thought process that the Pens will steamroll anyone they play.

        I do think you underestimate the NYI speed up top. Maybe speed is the wrong word, and go with the term ‘skating’ if that makes sense. Even big Matt Martin could skate well and keep the forecheck. The Isles had no problem rolling 4 lines game after game, because their 4th line could skate as well as their others.

      • phillyphanatic77 - May 12, 2013 at 2:35 PM

        I didn’t mean to imply that the Islanders aren’t a good skating team… I think they’re on the same level as the Sens, and I think Ottawa has good speed up front. I’ve just read a lot of comments from Pens fans about how much faster the Isles are than the Sens and that that’s somehow the reason Pittsburgh isn’t gonna have any problems in this series. I watched both the Isles-Pens and Sens-Habs series’, and IMO there isn’t much of a discernible difference in terms of team speed. Ottawa doesn’t have close to the firepower of Pittsburgh but they have a lot of young, unproven talent that could step up in the playoffs. JG Pageau is a good example.

  17. stairwayto7 - May 12, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    Pens in 5

    • holeecowman - May 12, 2013 at 4:43 PM

      I want some of the shat your smoking/snorting/injecting

      JUST SAY NO! TO DRUGS DUDE.

      imo I think your on acid and need help please seek refuge at your nearest rehab

  18. holeecowman - May 12, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    nhl initiates new rule only the penguins are allowed to kick the puck into the net. wtf should’ve gone 7 oh well time to jump on the sens wagon. yup im against these ice chickens and will route for any team the plays against them. gth. and what is with cindy he seems to be afraid to face the camera during interviews now awe poor baby ashamed of his messed up grill. then don’t play hockey you pansy. just curious if the sens small guys will be able to pull that rat down as well so he can get another dive medal. lol

    lets go any team but the ice chickens

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