Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Tip-off: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 -7:30 PM ET
CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The celebration of the Pittsburgh Penguins seemed to be a little too much. The second Brooks Orpik’s slapshot ripped into the back of the net 7:49 into overtime last Saturday to give this NHL team a 4-3 overtime victory and a first-round playoff series win over the better-than-advertised New York Islanders, the Penguins over-excitedly spilled over the boards and sprinted toward the veteran defenseman.
The Penguins have certainly gotten used to success in 2013 so the celebration seemed like a little too much for YouWager experts. However, it had been a while. The first goal in Orpik’s 78 career playoff games helped the team reach the second round starting this evening versus the Ottawa Senators while easing some of the pain of early postseason exits in 2011 and 2012.
Pittsburgh is feeling great and lucky they don’t have to face the Islanders. New York was seriously dominant for long stretches in the series, using its speed to fluster the Penguins talent but sometimes plodding roster of veterans.
Even when the Penguins never trailed, they were in appearance never really in control over the final five games.
The Penguins made it anyway after a well-timed goaltender switch from weak-looking Marc-Andre Fleury to backup Tomas Vokoun, who fought off the pesky Islanders in Games 5 and 6.
Now Vokoun or Fleury — coach Dan Bylsma isn’t saying who will start Game 1 — will face an entirely different product in the Senators, owners one of the NHL’s stingiest defenses with one major axe to grind.
As online sports bettors might recall, Pittsburgh knocked Ottawa out of the playoffs fairly easily in 2008 and 2010, even when both clubs think back as this being ancient history.
One on the biggest deals is a simmering feud between Ottawa and Penguins winger/part-time instigator Matt Cooke. The 34 year-old left wing insists the slash in question was an accident brought on by two players mucking in the corner for the puck and hasn’t thought about it lately.
The last time these teams met — a 3-1 Penguins victory on April 22 — went without incident. While maintaining his innocence, Cooke has no problem if the Senators search for retribution sometime in the next few weeks.