Crosby comes through

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 10:49 PM ET

Now we know what NBC stands for: Nobody Beats Crosby.

The Senators found out the hard way yesterday that Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby has a flare for the dramatic as Ottawa blew a chance to take a 2-0 lead in its best-of-seven playoff series with the Penguins, suffering a 4-3 loss at Scotiabank Place.

Crosby scored the winner at 11:44 of the third period, had an assist and planted a seed of doubt in the 20,133 on hand as the Senators fell to 0-7 lifetime after taking Game 1 of a playoff series.

Now, Ottawa faces a critical Game 3 tonight as the series shifts to Mellon Arena at 6 p.m.

"(Crosby) scored a big goal, that's for sure," said Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien with a wide smile.

Still, Ottawa coach Bryan Murray isn't ready to panic and snapped at a reporter who suggested the Penguins might have confidence. "They've won one game and didn't touch the puck for two periods," barked Murray.

Twice, the Senators surrendered one-goal leads in the third period and turned what could have been a perfect afternoon into another playoff nightmare despite goal and assists efforts by captain Daniel Alfredsson and centre Jason Spezza. Chris Kelly also scored for Ottawa.

"It's very disappointing to let that go," said defenceman Chris Phillips.

"We've got to put this behind us quickly. We've got Game 3 coming up (tonight) and we've got to find a way win."

Really, this should have been over in the second period as the Penguins were being ushered one after another to the penalty box by officials Mick McGeough and Dave Jackson, but the Senators hit the "self-destruct" button, going 1-for-9 on the power play. Ottawa is now only 3-for-15 in the series.

So, what's wrong with the power play?

"Pittsburgh," Murray. "We're not going to make dramatic changes. What happened out there is what hockey is all about. You play a decent game and you don't win. Their power play was deadly and we had a lot of power-play chances and didn't capitalize."

Afterward, someone reminded Alfredsson that before Game 2 he declared that whoever scored a win yesterday would have the "momentum" going into Game 3 tonight.

"I lied," said Alfredsson, who scored his first goal of the playoffs on a perfect tic-tac-toe passing play at 16:44 of the second to give the Senators a 2-1 lead, with Colby Armstrong off for nailing goalie Ray Emery.

"Overall, I thought we had a good effort."

There has to be concern about what's happening to Ottawa. Emery, who didn't face a shot for a span of 18:39 in the first and second periods, has given up seven goals on 47 shots in the series.

"We were figuring their goalie was a little bit shaky and we capitalized on our chances. That's playoff hockey," said Therrien.

At the other end, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made a game-saver off Mike Fisher with 13 seconds left in regulation time. Kelly had given Ottawa a 3-2 lead in the third.

"That might have hit a defenceman," said Fisher. "I don't know. It just happened so quick."

So did Crosby's winner, which came following goals from Gary Roberts and Jordan Staal. It was a thing of beauty and Emery didn't stand a chance as veteran Mark Recchi fed a perfect pass to Crosby and the puck hit the shaft of his stick to beat Emery glove side.

"We weren't giving ourselves a chance for the first two periods. We were undisciplined and I thought we put ourselves in a hole," said Crosby. "We talked between periods about playing more disciplined, especially on the road, so that was the key."

The Senators will be without winger/defenceman Chris Schubert tonight. He left the game with a neck strain after a collision with Pittsburgh forward

Maxime Talbot.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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