‘A long way to go’

Ottawa Senators defenceman Chris Phillips takes Penguins star Sidney Crosby out of the play during...

Ottawa Senators defenceman Chris Phillips takes Penguins star Sidney Crosby out of the play during second period action on Thursday. (Sun Media/Tony Caldwell)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

The Senators lack killer instinct?

Tell that to the Pittsburgh Penguins, whose summer holiday began after a 3-0 loss to the Senators last night at Scotiabank Place. The Senators handily won the best-of-7 playoff series 4-1.

The Senators, who got goals from Chris Kelly, Antoine Vermette and Dany Heatley, will advance to the second round of the NHL playoffs for the fifth time.

"It seemed like when Heatley scored, the weight of the world came off our shoulders," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "We got it going from there. Our defensive game and responsible play were there."

Goalie Ray Emery, with his first career playoff shutout, was spectacular.

"The way we won that series just shows the dedication we had to our system all year," said Emery. "We had steps back during the regular season, but we were able to get the job done. We know we have a long way to go."

Defenceman Anton Volchenkov was taken to the dressing room midway through the third with what appeared to be a shoulder injury after a Gary Roberts hit, but the Senators’ tower of power returned to action.

The victory is going to give the Senators some time to rest some bumps and bruises. The second round won’t start until next Thursday. At this point, the Senators only know they’ll face a New York-area team. They aren’t sure if it’ll be the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers or there’s a slim chance it could the Islanders. If it’s the Devils, the Senators will open on the road.

The Senators used their speed to penetrate the suspect Pittsburgh defence with role players like Kelly, Vermette, Dean McAmmond and Christoph Schubert playing a big part.

The Senators broke the game wide open in the second. Kelly, with his third goal of the series, gave Ottawa a 3-0 lead at 17:55, beating disheartened Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

Vermette gave the Senators a 2-0 lead on a breakaway pass from Kelly. After a turnover by Sergei Gonchar, Vermette was sent in alone and beat Fleury through the five-hole at 6:20.

Heatley finally got on the scoresheet in the playoffs by opening the scoring on the power play at 1:08 of the second. That seemed to take the life out of the Penguins who had plenty of chances, but weren’t able to score.

Really, the start of this game was typical of the whole series for the Penguins. They had plenty of chances — including two 5-on-3 power plays — but weren’t able to get the puck past Emery. The Senators didn’t even get a shot on net until 11:35 of the first period. Up to that point, Emery had to make big stops on Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.

"They were tough, but we did a great job," said captain Daniel Alfredsson. "We did a lot of good things and great goaltending never hurts either."

While Crosby was Pittsburgh’s best player by far, he had a difficult time dealing with the constant attention from Volchenkov and Chris Phillips.

"You have to stay focused and be consistent (in the playoffs). We had a lapse in Game 3 and it’s important to be consistent," said Crosby. "The last two games were close games. You can’t let teams hang around. They got a one-goal lead and they didn’t leave it at one. They didn’t just let us get back into it."


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