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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.

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The 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 and take away his space there,” [Chris] Phillips said. “Have someone close and 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 champs.