'I cost us the game'

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

PITTSBURGH -- On a night the Senators refused to quit, when goalie Martin Gerber stood tall, Ottawa once again experienced playoff heartbreak.

Even after bouncing back from a 3-0 deficit, with outstanding play from Gerber, their much-maligned goalie, the Senators lost 5-3. After Martin Lapointe was given a penalty for high sticking with 1:14 left, Ryan Malone scored the winner on a wraparound. The Penguins added an empty-netter to take a 2-0 series lead with Game 3 in Ottawa Monday.

"You don't want to high stick a guy in the face. I don't think I did, but you've got to keep it down and I cost us the game," said an upset Lapointe.

Senators coach Bryan Murray was angry that a few earlier incidents were ignored by the refs.

"Shean Donovan gets hauled down by (Kris Letang) and there's no call. Chris Neil gets cross-checked in front of our bench by Malone and there's no call," said Murray. "The call on Lapointe at the end was a good call. I'm disappointed."

Cody Bass, Cory Stillman and Shean Donovan had erased a 3-0 Penguins lead.

Bass scored his first playoff goal at 8:51 of the third to tie it 3-3. The Penguins had all the chances, but Gerber had been tremendous, facing 53 shots and he gave Ottawa the opportunity to get back into this. But the Penguins' best players were at their best. Sidney Crosby had four assists, while Evgeni Malkin had three. Ryan Malone and Petr Sykora each scored twice. Sergei Gonchar also scored.

"It's great. That's a big win," said Crosby. "It was a bit of a nailbiter.

"It probably shouldn't have been that close, but we deserved (to win).

The Senators have trailed a series 2-0 six times in team history, and have never come back to win.

'IT'S TOUGH'

"We're down 2-0. It's tough," said Stillman. "I've been in this situation before. We know that we can play with them. We just have to win Game 3 and then it's 2-1."

Murray moved winger Nick Foligno to Jason Spezza's left side with Lapointe on the right. In the third, Heatley skated with centre Antoine Vermette and Stillman. It appeared Spezza, who missed a short stretch in the first period, was hurt.

Anybody wondering about Gerber can stop with all the questions. He halted the Penguins twice on breakaways and was the only reason the Senators had a sniff at a victory going into the third.

Trailing 3-0 midway through the second, the Senators finally showed signs of life. First, it was Donovan breaking the club's playoff shutout string of 103:52 that stretched back to last year's final against Anaheim by scoring at 11:25 of the second.

Then, Stillman tipped a pass from Heatley through Fleury's five-hole at 16:11.

The Senators had been outshot 40-19 after two periods.

"I don't know what was going on (the first 30 minutes), we weren't playing the way we wanted to play," said Gerber. "It's a high-scoring team. You have to take their time and space away.

"We did a better job in the second half of the game."


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