Senators Thwart Crosby's Power-Play Prowess

By Stevenson, Chris | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 2, 2007 | Go to article overview
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Senators Thwart Crosby's Power-Play Prowess

Stevenson, Chris, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

If there is one thing the Penguins can take away in defeat, it is that Sidney Crosby's time might not have been now, in this spring, but it is not far off.

In his first exposure to playoff hockey, the 19-year-old did not disappoint.

He was his team's best player, relentlessly competitive.

It is up to Penguins general manager Ray Shero to get him more help, and he will, but in this series, the more experienced, deeper Ottawa Senators were able to blanket Crosby's rising star.

No shame in that.

The Senators did it by neutralizing Crosby when he had the potential to be the most dangerous -- on the power play.

If there is one reason why the Senators were able to beat the Penguins in five games, it was the Senators' ability to shut down the Penguins' power play.

The Penguins had four power-play goals on 13 chances in the first two games of the series as they gained a split in Ottawa (their two in Game 1 came late in the 6-3 loss; the other two were in their 4- 3 Game 2 win).

But since the end of Game 2 to the end of the second period last night, the Penguins went 0 for 13 while dropping all three games and getting their ticket home for the summer.

There was no better example of the importance of the Senators' penalty killing than in the first six minutes of Thursday night's game.

The Senators' penalty killers held things together as they were given three consecutive minors to start the game. They were short- handed for four minutes and 32 seconds, including two stretches in which they were down two men, one of 74 seconds and another for 14 seconds.

They gave up six shots, but no goals.

The Penguins had the fifth-best unit in the NHL during the regular season on a percentage basis and were tops in the league with 94 goals scored with the man advantage.

If there seemed to be a place where Crosby could be a leverage player in this series, you would have thought it would be on the power play.

But the Senators were able to neutralize him over the course of the series. It's pretty simple. No matter how good a player is, take away his time and space and things become difficult, even for the best of them.

"It was a matter of getting our 'D' more active from the hash marks on down," Senators assistant coach Greg Carvel said.

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