Broken stick leaves Sens fans with broken hearts

DON BRENNAN

, Last Updated: 10:09 AM ET

All the fancy stickhandling and all the exceptional plays by all the superbly skilled individuals aside, it can be said that the Senators lost this one on a Brooks Orpik hack.

That's when Daniel Alfredsson's stick cracked, and it was maybe two seconds later that the shaft snapped completely -- just as he was taking a shot from a comfortable spot, wide open and in close on Marc-Andre Fleury.

From sliding harmlessly off Alfredsson's blade into the corner, the puck was quickly moved to the Ottawa end, where Sidney Crosby was converting a Mark Recchi pass for the game-winner.

A stronger Synergy or a penalty on Orpik and things might have ended differently.

"I got slashed just as I stepped around him at the blue line," said Alfredsson. "I didn't know it was broken. It's unfortunate."

The Senators did not seem overly distraught after the defeat. More like, they felt the outcome would have been different, had they only been able to get a break.

Or, in this case, had they not gotten a break.

"You said (Friday) this one will have a lot of momentum going into the second of back- to-back games ... ," a reporter reminded Alfredsson.

The captain looked at him, and smiled. "I lied," he said.

We'll soon see.

STARTS AND STOPS: You could spot this one coming two months ago, no? The guy the Senators traded a second-round pick to acquire at the deadline was a healthy scratch, once again. The guy they wouldn't trade a first-round selection to pick up was largely responsible for their initial loss of the playoffs. In the third period alone, Gary Roberts spun away from Anton Volchenkov to score one goal and knocked Wade Redden off the puck behind the net to set up another. "He's been doing that for a long time," said Crosby. "He's banging bodies and putting the puck in the net ... you can't help but follow a player like that." ... If the only price to pay is two minutes in the box, who could blame Colby Armstrong for taking a deliberate and hard run at Ray Emery? Especially when he can throw in a couple of shots to Chris Phillips' jaw for free? Had the Senators' power play not finally rustled to life and responded swiftly (Alfredsson's goal came 41 seconds after Armstrong tried to put a new, mesh tattoo on Emery's back) the boys in red would have deserved every bit of ridicule for not doing a better job of protecting their goalie ... Overtime was avoided when Mike Fisher was robbed by Fleury with 13 seconds left. "(Jason) Spezza made a nice pass, and it was a good save," said Fisher. "I just didn't get it up high enough."

BETWEEN PERIODS: Joe Corvo and Tom Preissing replaced Redden and Andrej Meszaros as the pointmen on the first power-play unit "about two months ago," Bryan Murray said. Other than the fact both are right-handed shots, we still aren't sure why. Corvo, who'd be really dangerous if they were using the higher soccer nets, was credited with five missed shots. That's the same number as the entire Penguins team had all game ... Murray said Corvo was rewarded for his improved play with extra ice time. I'd still take Redden ahead of him ... Corvo wasn't the only erratic shooter. The Senators had 21 missed shots in total. Dany Heatley had four ... The original move belongs to Edmonton's Paul Lorieau, who would hold his mike high for Oilers fans to take over the singing of the anthem during playoff games last spring. Lyndon Slewidge came through with an abbreviated copycat yesterday. He gets the thumbs up from Cheap Seats.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...: What happened to Christoph Schubert? Nobody knows, exactly. He left the game for good with a "strained neck" after running into Maxime Talbot on his first shift. How he did it and how bad is it are questions that remain unanswered. Fact is, the Senators did miss him ... You can expect Oleg Saprykin will replace Schubert in the lineup tonight, although Brian McGrattan would be our choice ... Penguins D Josef Melichar is a 6-foot-2, 220-lb. brick wall. How else to explain the fact that, in two games now, hard hitters Fisher and Chris Neil have run right at him and bounced right off? .... The Penguins won despite replacing Georges Laraque in the lineup with Ronald Petrovicky ... Dean McAmmond made an excellent backhand pass to set up Chris Kelly for a goal at 6:18 of the third that gave the Senators a 3-2 lead. Did Kelly think it might stand as the winner? "Yeah," he said. "For a half a second." Jordan Staal evened things up again 196 seconds later.

COACH'S CORNER: "We read about ourselves, they read about themselves," said Murray, when asked about the extended layoff between Games 1 and 2. "I think going right back at it will be a good thing for us." What was wrong with the Ottawa (1-for-9) power play? "Pittsburgh," said Murray. "They did a real good job checking, and either (Fleury) would make a good save or our point shot was missing the net or getting blocked."

BY THE NUMBERS: The Senators finished second in just about every statistical category. They were outhit 37-32 and the Penguins had 19 blocked shots to their seven ... That old (40) guy Roberts? He led all players with seven hits on the day. Fisher was the top Senator with five ... Through two games, the Senators are down for 35 missed shots while Pittsburgh has only had 11. Think it's a problem?


Videos

Photos