Penguins paste Senators in 4-1 series-opening win
Craig Anderson wore a look of disgust on his face in the Senators' dressing room.
It was a tough start in a tough town.
The Senators goaltender stood there and shouldered the blame after the club dropped an ugly 4-1 decision to the powerful Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of the Eastern semi-final at the Consol Energy Center Tuesday night.
"It wasn't good enough. We have to be better," said Anderson. "It starts with myself giving the team a chance to win. You've got to lead by example and go out there and do the job."
It was nice of Anderson to stand up and accept responsibility, but he isn't the only that has to improve.
The Senators know winning the Eastern semi-final against the No. 1-ranked Penguins will be a monumental task, but Ottawa players learned quickly Pittsburgh, with all its firepower, is a bigger challenge than the Montreal Canadiens.
Pittsburgh goalie Tomas Vokoun won't win any points for style, but he got the job done as only Colin Greening was able to score. The Senators kept Sidney Crosby in check by keeping him pointless, but it didn't do any good in the end.
Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz led the charge with two-point efforts in the victory while Pascal Dupuis and Paul Martin also beat Anderson as Ottawa failed to mount a comeback.
The Senators are now 2-9 in their last 11 playoff games vs. the Pens. The Senators are 2-9 lifetime when they lose the first game of a series and haven't won a series they've trailed 1-0 since 2003 when they beat the New York Islanders.
"Sometimes (bleep) happens," said defenceman Erik Karlsson.
Yes, and a lot of bad bleep happened to the Senators.
Not only did the Senators go 0-for-5 on the power play, they allowed Dupuis to score shorthanded in the third.
A lot of talk before the game by Ottawa players was about discipline. A lack of it got Ottawa in big-time trouble as the Senators fell behind 3-1 to the Penguins after 40 minutes. Two of Pittsburgh's three goals came on the power play.
Winger Cory Conacher's ill-advised holding penalty in the late stages of the second resulted in the Penguins pulling out to two-goal lead. Kunitz was able to pick up a rebound off Anderson and fire it home with only 1:27 left.
"They have the best power play in the playoffs and you try not to give them those opportunities," said Conacher. "You want to play hard, physical and you just want to be a little bit smarter."
The Senators wanted to take the physical game to the Penguins and were outhit 40-26. This wasn't the start they could have imagined. Coach Paul MacLean hoped that with two days to prepare for Game 2, they'll have time to relax.
"If we had any jitters those should be behind us," said MacLean.
To add insult to the difficult loss, the Senators were hit by injury again, losing defenceman Eric Gryba in the second with what appeared to be a head injury. He collided with Pittsburgh blueliner Brooks Orpik and didn't return.
"These guys are a world-class team when you give them chances to score goals they're going to capitalize," said defenceman Marc Methot. "We've got some, nasty goals and that's the way we've got to win these games."
Yup, back to the drawing board.