Sens steal show

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:47 AM ET

WILKES-BARRE, PA. -- About 15 years from now, some guy sitting in his living room in this small burg is going to tell his grandchildren he was there the night Sidney Crosby scored his first goal.

A historical night? Well, that's debatable because once the regular season rolls around Oct. 5, it won't count any more.

And, besides, on this night it was mostly the no-name Senators who stole the show.

While the crowd at the Wachovia Center was thrilled to see the Pittsburgh Penguins' young star fire one by Ray Emery midway through the second period, it wasn't enough as Ottawa skated to an easy 6-2 victory.

"It was nice to get that one. I don't think it was any big deal. I didn't keep the puck or anything," said Crosby.

POTHIER POTS TWO

Led by a two-goal performance from defenceman Brian Pothier, along with one each from Anton Volchenkov, Bryan Smolinski, Denis Hamel and Jeff Hereema, the Senators used mostly a minor-league lineup.

Yes, the Penguins had Mario Lemieux, John LeClair, Mark Recchi, Sergei Gonchar, Ziggy Palffy and Crosby in the lineup, but there were a lot of times where they looked more interested in getting this one over with.

Though the Senators pulled out to a 4-0 first-period lead even after Pittsburgh coach Eddie Olczyk tried to prod his troops with a timeout, the long-remembered highlight of the night will be Crosby's goal.

No, it wasn't great, but it was one Emery will never forget. He was just getting ready to leave the net after stopping 11 lousy shots from the Penguins when Crosby put a rebound home at 11:48 of the second.

"He could at least give me the puck so I could make a little money off it," said Emery. "I thought I was going to get out of there unscathed, but Crosby got that one on me. It's okay because at least it was a good goal."

If anything, last night's game should be remembered more for the parade to the penalty box as players try desperately to adjust to the crackdown on obstruction and interference being called in the pre-season.

By the end of the second, the Penguins had been the recipients of four 5-on-3 situations from referees Harry Dumas and Chris Lee. It should be noted Crosby scored his goal at the start of a two-man advantage.

"We used our speed and that's the way it has got to be right now," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "I talked to the guys between periods about positioning and if you touch a guy with your stick you're going to go to the penalty box."

EAVES ON BUBBLE

While Murray still has some decisions to make on who stays and who goes before the regular season starts, one of the best battles taking place in the pre-season is along the blue line between Andrej Meszaros and Christoph Schubert.

One player who will likely start the season with the Baby Sens is 2003 No. 1 pick Patrick Eaves, who had two assists last night but hasn't stood out through camp.

"He has done some good things. This is giving me a chance to get to know Patrick and this has sold me on him a little bit," said Murray.

NOTABLE: The league-mandated shootout was a disaster. It took 13 shooters until Matt Murley scored for Pittsburgh to end the nightmare.

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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