GOTS – GGroove on the Sens
Sens Central Moderator
When Brooks Orpik’s seeing-eye point shot found the net in overtime of Game 6, lifting his Pittsburgh Penguins to a series victory over the upstart New York Islanders, it also meant that two familiar foes would meet again.
The No. 1-seeded Penguins will take on the seventh-seeded Ottawa Senators for the fourth time in seven years (2007, 2008, 2010), all in the first round. Only against the Toronto Maple Leafs (2000-2002, 2004) and the Buffalo Sabres (1997, 1999, 2006, 2007) have the Sens faced a team as many times in the postseason.
With so many playoff battles squeezed into such a short period of time, it’s been quite a rivalry that’s developed – one that has ratcheted new bad blood in the wake of the Matt Cooke-Erik Karlsson incident.
Other storylines exist, including former Pens rearguard Sergei Gonchar taking on his former squad for the second time in four years in the postseason.
While all that will make for some good water cooler talk, who doesn’t like some number-crunching?
Let’s take a look at some interesting tidbits from the playoff history between the two squads.
FINAL-LY: The Sens dropped the Penguins in a five-game, opening-round playoff series in 2007, which saw the Sens advance all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. The following year, the Pens would return the favour against the Sens in the opening round before advancing to the final themselves. The six-game defeat to the Detroit Red Wings was Sidney Crosby’s first taste of the championship series, before the Pens took it all in 2009
ENTRY EXAM: The 2007 series against Ottawa was Crosby’s first playoff series, as Pittsburgh missed the playoffs during his rookie year of 2005-06. He has appeared in every postseason since, tallying an impressive 99 points through 73 games.
IRON MAN: Daniel Alfredsson has played in all but five of the franchise’s 118 playoff games. Until missing the opening two games due to a torn MCL in the first-round series against the Pens in 2008, he had played in all of them. Despite the injury, Alfie would return and play in Games 3 and 4. The Sens still ended up getting swept, but not before the captain added to his playoff lore.
OVERTIME: When Matt Carkner scored one of the most memorable goals in Sens’ playoff history to force a Game 6 in the 2010 series, it also made history on two other fronts. Not only was the triple-overtime game far and away the longest in Sens’ franchise history at 107:06, it marked the last extra-time game played in the Mellon Arena. The venerable old barn had been home to the Pens since 1967, before the franchise moved to the new Consol Energy Center for the 2010-11 season.
IN THE BIN: Until the Sens tangled the Montreal Canadiens in the first round and set a team record with 162 penalty minutes in the series, the high mark for a series was 120 against the Pens in 2010. The 42 minutes in the third period of Game 4 in the 2010 series was also the high mark for a single period before the Sens had 49 in a fight-filled third period in Game 3 of the Montreal series.
QUICK DRAWS: Game 4 of the 2010 series also featured the quickest two opponent goals in franchise history, when Crosby and Cooke scored 12 seconds apart in the third period. In the same series, Peter Regin set a team record for fastest start in a playoff game when he bulged twine 18 seconds into Game 2. Dany Heatley set the franchise mark for the quickest goal to start a period, scoring nine seconds into the third period of Game 1 in the 2007 series.