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

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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.