Crosby keys Pens' equalizer

The Penguins’ Sidney Crosby (87) scores between the Senators’ Jason Spezza, right, and goalie Brian Elliott in the first period.

Associated Press

The Penguins’ Sidney Crosby (87) scores between the Senators’ Jason Spezza, right, and goalie Brian Elliott in the first period.

at Devils 1 2 2 5
Flyers 2 1 0 3
Series tied 1-1
PITTSBURGH — The goal he scored was timely, and so was his save. But Sidney Crosby's biggest highlight on a night he did it all was the winning goal he created with a bit of dazzling improvisation.

Crosby scored a goal, prevented one and his artful playmaking led to Kris Letang's winner late in the third period as the Penguins rebounded to beat the Senators 2-1 on Friday night to even the Eastern Conference first-round series at a game apiece.

"It's impossible to stop him, especially every night," Senators coach Cory Clouston said about Crosby, who was shut out on two shots as Ottawa won 5-4 in Game 1. "He was the best player on the ice, and he showed what he is able to do.

"When they needed a goal, he made a big play."

Several minutes after Crosby slid on his stomach across the crease to punch away Anton Volchenkov's shot as it lay inches from Pittsburgh's goal line, he began cycling the puck by himself behind the Ottawa net. Looking for an opening to pass or to dart out and take a shot, he crossed the goalie trapezoid three times before carrying the puck out and, sliding to the ice, feeding it to Letang at the right point.

Letang's shot with 4:12 left beat goalie Brian Elliott, who made 29 saves but didn't get any support after Peter Regin scored on the Senators' first shot 18 seconds into the game.

"If I would have missed the net (after what Crosby did), I would feel really bad," Letang said. "He's a special player. He's probably the best in the world."

Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury shook off Regin's second goal in two games and a poor first game to turn aside Ottawa's next 19 shots. With Crosby's help.

"We had a couple of chances, one laying right on the (goal) line," the Senators' Mike Fisher said. "It was right there. Disappointing, but we're heading back home."

at Penguins 1 0 1 2
Senators 1 0 0 1
Series tied 1-1
at Penguins 1 0 1 2
Senators 1 0 0 1
Series tied 1-1

First Period1, Ottawa, Regin 2 (Spezza, Alfredsson), :18. 2, Pittsburgh, Crosby 1 (Kunitz), 8:45. PenaltiesOrpik, Pit (roughing), 5:16; Z.Smith, Ott, major (fighting), 20:00; Talbot, Pit, major (fighting), 20:00.

Second PeriodNone. PenaltiesRuutu, Ott (unsportsmanlike conduct), 8:40; Talbot, Pit (unsportsmanlike conduct), 8:40; Sutton, Ott (holding), 9:55; Cooke, Pit (roughing), 13:31.

Third Period3, Pittsburgh, Letang 1 (Crosby, Guerin), 15:48. PenaltiesSutton, Ott (holding stick), 6:20. Shots on GoalOttawa 6-7-7—20. Pittsburgh 10-11-10—31. Power-play opportunitiesOttawa 0 of 2; Pittsburgh 0 of 2. GoaliesOttawa, Elliott 1-1-0 (31 shots-29 saves). Pittsburgh, Fleury 1-1-0 (20-19). A17,132 (16,940).

Devils 5, Flyers 3: Dainius Zubrus scored on a rebound with 4:04 to play and host New Jersey evened the first-round East series at a game apiece.

Zach Parise, Colin White, Andy Greene and Ilya Kovalchuk also scored, and Martin Brodeur stopped 26 shots for New Jersey.

Aaron Asham, Claude Giroux and Chris Pronger scored for the Flyers.

Flyers goalie Brian Boucher had no chance on Zubrus' goal. Zubrus powered his way around the net and sent a shot on goal that the goalie stopped. Parise and Zubrus swung at the rebound, and the puck went into the net. Kovalchuk added an empty-net goal.

Patrik Elias added three assists as New Jersey beat Philadelphia for only the second time in eight games this season.

at Devils 1 2 2 5
Flyers 2 1 0 3
Series tied 1-1

First Period1, New Jersey, Parise 1 (Elias), 2:45 (sh). 2, Philadelphia, Asham 1 (Giroux, van Riemsdyk), 9:33. 3, Philadelphia, Giroux 1 (Carle, Richards), 15:30 (pp). PenaltiesKovalchuk, NJ (elbowing), 1:27; Philadelphia bench, served by Asham (too many men), 4:25; Asham, Phi (unsportsmanlike conduct), 11:55; Clarkson, NJ (unsportsmanlike conduct), 11:55; Coburn, Phi (hooking), 12:37; Clarkson, NJ (tripping), 14:16.

Second Period4, New Jersey, White 1 (Kovalchuk, Mottau), 3:44. 5, New Jersey, Greene 1 (Elias, Kovalchuk), 13:25 (pp). 6, Philadelphia, Pronger 2 (Timonen, Richards), 18:48 (pp). PenaltiesGreene, NJ (high-sticking), 5:05; Kovalchuk, NJ (slashing), 7:54; White, NJ (interference), 11:07; Giroux, Phi (high-sticking), 12:39; Powe, Phi (roughing), 17:32; Kovalchuk, NJ (roughing), 17:32; Greene, NJ (interference), 18:10.

Third Period7, New Jersey, Zubrus 1 (Parise, Elias), 15:56. 8, New Jersey, Kovalchuk 1 (Langenbrunner), 19:27 (en). PenaltiesWhite, NJ (interference), 5:31. Shots on GoalPhiladelphia 7-12-10—29. New Jersey 11-16-6—33. Power-play opportunitiesPhiladelphia 2 of 7; New Jersey 1 of 3. GoaliesPhiladelphia, Boucher 1-1-0 (32 shots-28 saves). New Jersey, Brodeur 1-1-0 (29-26). A17,625 (17,625).

Predators 4, Blackhawks 1: J.P. Dumont scored twice in the final period and Nashville won for the first time on the road in the playoffs in the Western Conference first-round opener.

It was Nashville's first road playoff win in 11 tries, and it was a dramatic one with former Blackhawk Dumont burning his former team in the third.

Pekka Rinne made 25 saves in his playoff debut for the Predators. Patrick Kane had Chicago's goal in the second period. After Dumont gave Nashville a 2-1 lead, Jerred Smithson and Martin Erat added empty-net goals in the final 48 seconds.

Predators 0 0 4 4
at Blackhawks 0 1 0 1
Predators lead series 1-0

First PeriodNone. PenaltiesKlein, Nas (hooking), :52.

Second Period1, Chicago, Kane 1 (Sharp, Sopel), 9:43. PenaltiesBrouwer, Chi (goaltender interference), 5:17; Franson, Nas (slashing), 7:07.

Third Period2, Nashville, Dumont 1 (Hamhuis, Franson), 1:31. 3, Nashville, Dumont 2 (Legwand), 10:37. 4, Nashville, Smithson 1 (Goc), 19:12 (en). 5, Nashville, Erat 1 (Legwand), 19:46 (en). PenaltiesBolland, Chi (interference), 3:49. Shots on GoalNashville 7-6-13—26. Chicago 10-12-4—26. Power-play opportunitiesNashville 0 of 2; Chicago 0 of 2. GoaliesNashville, Rinne 1-0-0 (26 shots-25 saves). Chicago, Niemi 0-1-0 (24-22). A22,256 (19,717).

More playoff news: The day after he failed to record a shot on goal and get a point against the Canadiens in their playoff opener, the Capitals' Alex Ovechkin refuted rumors that he is injured. "I'm good," he said. "I didn't play my game, and our line didn't play well."

Ratings: Versus said it averaged 478,000 viewers for its tripleheader on Wednesday's opening night of the playoffs, making it the most-watched postseason opening night on cable since 2004. The average viewership was up 22 percent from last year (392,000 viewers), it said.

Crosby keys Pens' equalizer 04/17/10 [Last modified: Saturday, April 17, 2010 12:31am]

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