Comrie plays much bigger than his stature

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

In helping his team get off on the right foot last night, Mike Comrie knocked Evgeni Malkin off his right foot -- and his left one.

Less than two minutes into Game 1 of a series the Senators had better not lose, Comrie, generally listed at 5-foot-10 and 185 lbs. on the Ottawa roster, drilled the 6-foot-3, 195-lb. Russian, separating him from the puck along the boards deep in Pittsburgh territory.

The Penguins never regained control before Andrej Meszaros put the Senators in front to stay.

If the Penguins continue to stumble en route to submission, let it be remembered that it was the littlest Senator that delivered the initial, stunning blow.

STARTS AND STOPS: Don't know about all eyes, but many sets of them are on this series. Especially with Montreal and Toronto out of the playoffs. For coach Bryan Murray's regular morning Scotiabank Place press conference, held eight hours before Game 1's opening faceoff, the room was jam-packed. On hand were about 50 media members, or about five times the usual number. Slightly less so for similar addresses by Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien and star Sidney Crosby, but hey, it was a couple of minutes past lunch time by then. For the series, the Senators estimate accreditation has been passed out to roughly 250 print and electronic journalists, cameramen and runners. For your average regular-season game, there might be 75-100 such passes handed out. "You guys are the difference, that's the difference," Murray said when asked what the main, um, difference was between the regular season and now. "The media attention, the scrutiny, the individual breakdowns ... you're recognized much more now. That's pressure. And good hockey players really want that." Yeah, that and the Stanley Cup. Now we really get to find out how many good players Ottawa has ... For a fourth-line winger, Christoph Schubert had quite a first period. He took a shift on defence, when the Senators were killing a penalty. He was robbed by a great Marc-Andre Fleury left pad save, at the tail end of a 2-on-1, during that very same short-handed situation. He bowled Fleury over, completely knocking him out of his crease, when nudged by Brooks Orpik, and a few seconds later got Orpik to cross-check him and Orpik earned one of two Pittsburgh penalties called at the same time. All that in only 3:18 of ice time, too ... Schubert's made his biggest bang in the third period, smoking Sergie Gonchar not once but twice into the end boards. Only four or five Penguins objected, cross-checking and slashing Schubert as he went about his business.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...: Lemme get this straight Senators fans -- you're booing Sidney Crosby because ... he's good? Never did understand that logic ... Senators D Joe "Uh Oh" Corvo has a new Mohawk, with only the middle part dyed blond. He and LW Brian McGrattan are the lone Ottawa players to have any type of playoff haircut you can notice. "I don't know," Corvo said when asked about the 'do. "It's just something different." Who else is surprised management allowed a player to do something different with his locks? ... There are none of the aforementioned playoff hair jobs in the Pittsburgh room. "Nobody thought of it," said W Colby Armstrong. "We're all too busy trying to grow moustaches." Now that takes some concentration when you're as folliclely challenged as a bunch of Penguins ... It's only one game but Gary Roberts was barely visible, except for taking a hard hit in front of the Senators bench by the Anton Volchenkov, then knocking A-Train into the Senators net a few seconds later. Anybody ever think that maybe Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero blew it by not trading for Oleg Saprykin at the deadline instead? Nah.

BETWEEN PERIODS: An "E-6" gave Michel Ouellet a semi-break that was stopped by Ray Emery. That would be an error by No. 6, as Wade Redden let a bouncing puck slip through his legs at the Pittsburgh blue line ... Corvo was the only Senator playing his first playoff game last night. He turned in a respectable performance. "It was a little up and down," Corvo said hours before the game of his first season in Ottawa. "I wasn't sure of my role and I tried to do too much. But it's all come together at the end." Corvo, who saw significant power-play time again last night, made a nice play to help set up the Senators' third goal. It was his second assist of the game. How high did he go in your pool?

BOTTOM SHELF STUFF: Penguins C Maxime Talbot, who one astute individual yesterday referred to as a "poor man's Mike Fisher," had 101 goals and 174 assists in 209 games (2000-2004) for the Hull/Gatineau Olympiques. He was captain of the team for two years, twice was winner of the Guy Lafleur Trophy as the QMJHL's playoff MVP and twice made it to the Memorial Cup final. The guy can play. He can also pick his night spots. "Bistro and Le Pegale," Talbot answered after the morning skate, when asked for a couple of his favourite hangouts while a junior. He also likes to rattle the pots and pans in the kitchens of various opponents, as the Senators will surely experience further evidence of as the series goes on. "It's the best-of-seven, it's along series," said Talbot. "I know my role. It's always been the same. I play hard, and if I can get in some guys heads, I'm going to do it. I know what my teammates expect of me."


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