He had a number of phone calls and Facebook messages early in the morning, and his pal Erik Karlsson took him out for breakfast. His mother will be flying into Ottawa Saturday if European airlines are back in business following the volcano in Iceland, and she’s sure to be bringing him something special as well.
But Peter Regin’s actual 24th birthday celebration was sweetest at the 18-second mark of Friday’s emotional, nasty battle with the Penguins.
That’s when he silenced a towel-waiving, white-shirt-wearing sellout crowd at Mellon Arena with the fastest goal to start a playoff game in Senators history.
His party, however, would turn sour about 2½ hours later.
“It would have been perfect,” Regin said had close turned into a (victory) cigar instead of a 2-1 loss to the Penguins in Game 2 of the opening-round playoff series. “We didn’t expect to win four straight, but we gave ourselves a chance to win tonight.”
The Senators would only have 19 more shots on the Pittsburgh net after Regin’s goal. His linemates, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson, were just wide on respective first- and second-period shots aimed at the same, top glove-side corner Regin hit.
But 19 more shots on goal after Fleury, who struggled in Game 1, was beaten by a 41-foot wrister before all the fans settled into their seats? The Senators needed to pepper him with more rubber.
Problem is they tried, but couldn’t.
“They put a lot of pressure on us, and we played in our D-zone a lot more than we did two nights ago,” said Regin, who has now scored the first goal in each of the Senators’ two games this series. “I think when we had the chance to shoot it, we tried. But we’re playing a good team, and you can’t expect to have 30 or 40 shots, especially on the road.”
If you think the Senators are overall satisfied with the split, and playing the defending champs to a tie through the first 55 minutes of Game 2, think again.
“Not really,” said Regin. “Right now, you’re disappointed. We felt we really had a good chance, and when you have a good chance you have to make the best of it.
“But it’s 1-1, and we’re in this series for real.”
Starts and stops
Penguins fans didn’t like it one bit, and there’s sure to plenty of debate as to whether Andy “Mount” Sutton should be A) applauded, B) suspended or C) crucified for his first-period hit on Jordan Leopold that knocked the Pittsburgh defenceman out cold before he hit the ice. A head shot? Well, Leopold was hit in the head, but he was also reaching forward with the puck when he was crushed by Sutton. An impartial NHL scout said in the pressbox that it was not penalized because it was a frontal hit, not a blindside shot. Senators assistant GM Tim Murray couldn’t understand why it would be questioned. “It was a clean hit,” Murray said. “If they pre-scouted us at all, they’d know you don’t go down his side and reach for the puck or you’re going to get killed. Who’s fault is that? That’s what they want in hockey. You don’t like to see the kid get hurt, but it was a great hit.” ... Penguins fans cheered loudly as Sutton skated the length of the ice, to the door that leads to the visitors’ dressing room, before play resumed. They booed even louder when they discovered that Sutton was not being thrown out of the game, but was only going to get a new pair of gloves ... Teams that have won Game 1 have gone on to take 360 of 530 playoff series. Doesn’t it just seem like there have been more series than that?
The way things have been going for the Senators on the injury front, did you not think Jason Spezza was going to wind up with a separated shoulder from that big Brooks Orpik hit just past the five-minute mark? But no, and it didn’t even affect his ability to embellish, as he proved only seconds later ... How could you blame Spezza for his inability to keep up with Crosby as the Penguins’ captain set up the winning goal? TSN analyst Craig MacTavish said Spezza deserves the Selke just for playing him as close as he did. But I thought Spezza and his teammates were too nonchalant after the faceoff outside the Ottawa blue line on Crosby’s goal in the first.
Senators rookie Zack Smith might have been a little embarrassed when, at the end of the first period, he was pushed through the end boards that were opening to let the Zamboni out. Smith was looking for somebody to take it out on when he was obliged by Maxime Talbot. After their fight, as the two teams skated past each other to their respective rooms, Talbot took a shot at Mike Fisher. He didn’t react. “Mad” Max was playing up to his nickname throughout the night ... Good point made by Penguins broadcasters after Crosby dove to knock away an Anton Volchenkov shot that was inches from crossing the goal line with about nine minutes left in the third. If it had been early in the period, before the snow accumulated in the crease, it would have probably been a goal ... Also celebrating a birthday Friday was the good man who introduced “schmozzle” to your vocabulary, now 47-year-old Garry “Sauce” Galley.