Sens get to grow on

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

The men go on. The boys go home.

Last night's Game 5 victory means the Senators will get at least a little more time to work on their playoff beards. Alas, the fresh-faced young lads from Pittsburgh can take their eight days' worth of facial hair off with a warm cloth this morning.

Of course, Ottawa didn't exactly have anybody who had the first round Penguins centre Maxime Talbot did, at least when it comes to harvesting whiskers.

In fact, one Senator nobody takes advantage of looked around the room yesterday morning and declared his team's performance pathetic in that department.

The player, who called himself an "unreliable source," then suggested we attribute the quotes to Mike Fisher (which should eliminate one from the list of suspects as it tells you it's NOT Mike Fisher), presented this scouting report yesterday.

"Spets better hope he doesn't have a cat in the house," he said, referring to Jason Spezza. "If gets a little cereal milk on his beard, the cat will lick it off.

"Vermie (Antoine Vermette) looks like Pepe le Pew. Schoobie (Christoph Schubert) can't grow nothing. His face is like a field that's in a drought.

"At least Gerbs (Martin Gerber) has more hair on his face than the top of his head."

And with that, the Senators grow on to Round 2.

STARTS AND STOPS: The Press box's very own Maury Amsterdam dubbed it the "Big Gulp Shift of the Series" as it involved the spilling of a "7" and an "11." First, Fisher smoked Michel Ouellet (No. 7), then he raced across the ice and absolutely crushed Jordan Staal (No. 11) into the boards in front of the Pittsburgh bench. Moments later, Fisher was robbed on a sensational glove save by Marc-Andre Fleury ... What's the No. 1 lesson Sidney Crosby learned from his first NHL playoff experience? "Consistency is so big," the Penguins' teenage superstar said. "You always say that during the season, but here, every shift you have, you have to be so consistent. It just takes one mistake to change a series." Fact is, that wasn't the case this time. The Senators dominated the Penguins from start to finish ... Daniel Alfredsson wore a bright yellow "Right To Play" zip-up to the rink yesterday morning, acknowledging the charitable organization. The Senators, meanwhile, earned the Right To Go On in the playoffs thanks primarily to the leadership of their captain ... Lost in game reports might be the right-pad save Ray Emery made off Evgeni Malkin on a Pittsburgh power play in the second period. It was a dandy, and it came before the Senators assumed control of the game ... Speaking of good shifts, Spezza relieved the puck from a Penguin in the offensive zone to set up a teammate, then a couple of seconds later was actually skating backward behind the Ottawa blue line to interrupt a Gary Roberts rush.

BETWEEN PERIODS: That Bryan Murray. What a manipulator. At least, that was Michel Therrien's read at the morning press conferences. In his media address, Murray denied reports that he officially complained to the league about late hits by Penguins, particularly Roberts. Murray, who questioned Roberts' tactics after Tuesday's 4-2 win, said he merely brought up his concerns in daily meetings with the NHL's series manager, E.J. McGuire. He also made sure to tell reporters again that, in watching the "low lights" of Game 4, he did see a couple of "real vicious hits" by Roberts and W Ronald Petrovicky. An hour after Murray's podium time, Therrien was on stage. He was asked about is opposite number's claims that Roberts, who is leading the series with 21 hits, is playing dirty. "Why did (the Senators) want to have Gary Roberts? Why did they make a big pitch for him (at the trade deadline)," said Therrien, before answering his own question. "He's the type of player every coach wants to have. He's been playing 21 years. He's going to start changing now? Because Bryan Murray has asked the league about him? He always throws his body around ... he's not going to change. We haven't said anything to the league (about some tough Ottawa hits) because that's part of the game. What (Murray) is trying to do is influence the referees. It's pretty simple. We all know that. But I'm pretty sure the refs are not going to be influenced. They're smarter than that." Exactly who was playing who here?

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM..: As expected, the fans at The Bank were chanting "Roberts" during a post-season game. Just that they were mocking him, not cheering him like most figured would be the case a couple of months ago ... You'd probably really like Fleury. He seems like a great kid. Always smiling, or trying to hold back a smile. Yesterday morning, we asked him what the letters E.F.G.T. on the back of his mask stood for. We felt bad upon hearing his answer. "It's my dead family," said Marc-Andre, a grin breaking out on his face. "They've helped me out." Found out later he meant they are the initials of his deceased grandparents ... Therrien would offer only a "we'll see" when asked if he was going to make any lineup changes last night. Almost as though he had an ace up his sleeve, like Mario Lemieux might suit up. Turned out his one move was to reinsert Georges Laraque in place of Ronald Petrovicky. Good thing Therrien didn't tip his hand on that one, or the Senators could have spent the day studying Laraque's tapes.

BUTT ENDS: You boo Crosby? You jeer Roberts? You hate Darcy Tucker? Rolling them all up in a big ball of hate and sprinkle it with spice. You're going to absolutely loathe Sean Avery if the Senators draw the Rangers next round ... Therrien started laughing, somewhat hysterically in fact, when he spoke after the morning skate of his team's offence through four games. He pointed out that the Penguins had gotten goals from their 18-year-old (Staal), their 19-year-old (Crosby) and their "41-year-old" (Roberts will actually be 40 for another month), but that "guys in their 20s and 30s haven't chipped in." Truth of it is, Ryan Whitney (24) and Sergei Gonchar (33) had also scored one each -- and that the Senators had held 11 other Penguins pointless.


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