If nothing else, the Senators have provided the Penguins with a dependable playoff foe – the two teams are squaring off in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the fifth time (also 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013) in eleven seasons. In the Crosby/Malkin/Fleury era, Ottawa has opposed Pittsburgh in more postseason series than any other club, including division rivals New York Rangers (4), Washington (3) and Philadelphia (3).
Let’s flip the photo album:
Snapshot: Sid the Kid puts the world on notice – April 15, 2007
Underachieving Ottawa’s window for Stanley Cup contention was quickly closing after their usual routine of dominating the regular season while coming up far short in the playoffs for most of the decade. This spring, they easily pushed aside Pittsburgh four games to one on their way to winning the franchise’s one and as yet, only Eastern Conference title. But Sidney Crosby, 19, soon to be named team captain, had just won his first scoring title and scored in each of his first two career playoff games. Though the Pens were down 4-1 late in the third period of Game 3, Crosby demonstrated his all-around skill set on his third goal, symbolically pointing to the exciting future for him and his teammates. Crosby breezed through the neutral zone, calmly took a pass at center ice, passed to Calder Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin before diving towards the Ottawa goal to beat defenceman Anton Volchenkov to the return pass.
Snapshot: The Roman Helmet – April 14, 2008
As first posted on Pensblog by Rezzersup in the Gameday last Saturday… no one can forget the ridiculous “Gladiator” wearing a roman helmet that Ottawa employed to fire up the crowd moments before Game 3 in 2008. Where do we start?
- the stunned looks on the Senators players’ faces as the gladiator walks in between them
- the microphone cutting out constantly
- the speech written Cliffs Notes style on the inside of his shield
- boos raining down when the Pens skate onto the ice in the darkness just as he yells out “Our true heroes!!!“
- the roman helmet nearly falling off
- wearing a roman helmet, period
Pittsburgh, already up two games to none, went on to give the Senators a Roman Helmet of their own, sweeping them. Since roman helmet man appeared, Pittsburgh has won 10 of 14 playoff games against Ottawa.
Snapshot: Crosby skates laps behind Sens net before winning assist – April 16, 2010
He scored a goal earlier in the game. He dove to knock away a puck that was teetering near the Penguins goal line. Yet his biggest play was his puck protection work late in the third period of a tie game that eventually set up Kris Letang for the game-winning goal in Game 2. After winning a neutral zone face off, Crosby skated to the opposite corner and took control of the puck. With Sens center Jason Spezza chasing and checking him, Crosby skated right to left behind the Ottawa net. Then he spun on a dime and skated left to right, then stopped abruptly and turned back right to left before again moving back to the right, never losing control of the puck. He came out front and skidded to his knees as he passed the puck to Letang at the right point. With Bill Guerin screening Brian Elliott, Letang fired a perfect shot that gave the Pens a 2-1 lead which they would preserve for a split of the first two games in Pittsburgh, guaranteeing a fifth game at home, which turned out to be…
Snapshot: Horrific end to bizarre triple OT loss – April 22, 2010
With a chance to clinch the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal at Mellon Arena, the Penguins came out flat, falling behind 2-0 in the first period. They tied it with goals at the end of the first and second periods, each coming with under two minutes to go in each frame. Crosby scored his fifth goal in five games to finally give the Pens their first lead midway through the third but Danish center Peter Regin tied the game a little over a minute later. The game drifted into overtime. Nick Foligno thought he scored but for the third time in the contest, a goal was waved off by the on-ice officials. Finally, on Ottawa’s 44th shot of the night, Matt Carkner’s blast from the point at 7:06 of triple overtime deflected off Matt Cooke and past Marc-Andre Fleury to keep the Senators’ playoff hopes alive in their longest-game ever (and the Penguins’ third-longest ever). Future Penguin Matt Cullen was on the ice for Ottawa when Carkner scored.
Sadly, a local man watching the game killed his wife and burned down their house in an attempt to cover up his horrific crime. He was angry that she kept telling him to go to bed as the game dragged on that night. Two years later, he was sentenced to life in prison.
Snapshot: Dupuis OT winner clinches series – April 24, 2010
Pascal Dupuis lived up to his word from earlier in the game when against all logic, he yelled “We’re coming for you!” at the Ottawa bench. At the time, the Pens were down 3-0 against a Sens team energized by their home fans and from their 3OT win two nights earlier in Pittsburgh. But Dupuis assisted on a Matt Cooke goal to make it 3-1 and Dupuis, like Max Talbot’s “Shhhh” 52 weeks earlier, decided to get in the heads of the opponent.
History repeated itself as Bill Guerin scored a power play goal, taking advantage of goalie Pascal Leclaire momentarily losing his stick, and Cooke’s second of the game, which tied it 3-3 in the third period. Then, just before the 10-minute mark of the first overtime, Jordan Staal passed from behind the net to Dupuis, who got a quick shot off just as he was checked to the ice. It was the sixth series-winning OT goal in Penguins playoff history.