Senators confident against Crosby and the Pens

The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators are facing off in the
first round, as the #4 and #5 seeds respectively. Generally, that’s a
pretty close matchup of two teams right next to each other in the
standings and it’s tough to predict who will come out on top. With the
Penguins, however, they are the defending Stanley Cup champions and have
had a much more successful season than Senators, at least on paper.

Senators, however, are confident they can slow down Sidney Crosby and
the Penguins. From
Chris Yzerman of the Canadian Press:

“We’ve had
success in the past in trying to contain (Crosby), a little
bit anyway,” Senators centre Mike Fisher said as Ottawa prepared to face
the defending Stanley Cup champions in the opening round for the third
time in four seasons. “We know them well. We know what it’s going to
take to beat them and it won’t be easy.”

“It really starts in the neutral zone with a strong focus to try
take away his space there,” [Chris] Phillips said. “Have someone close
trying to deter his teammates from wanting to give him the puck in the
neutral zone where he can create a lot of speed and carry that on into
the offensive zone.”

The article notes that in 17
regular season games against the Senators, Crosby has just two goals and
13 points and is a minus-8. He’s had much more success against Ottawa
in the playoffs.

The Senators will have to be defensive wizards
against he Penguins, who scored 32 more goals this season while allowing
one less that Ottawa. The Senators finished the season with a minus-13
goal differential, the worst of all the teams in the playoffs. Not
exactly the pedigree one thinks a team wants going up against the
firepower the Penguins can bring.

Yet the Senators are right: they
have a chance. We’ll get into this more when we announce our
predictions on Wednesday, but of all teams that could have faced the
Penguins the Senators might have the best chance to upset the defending

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