EQF Game 1: Ottawa Senators @ Pittsburgh Penguins

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It's been 729 days since April 16, 2008, the last time the Ottawa Senators played a game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Sens hobbled in with injuries and were swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins, who would go on to be the Eastern Conference Champions that year and win the Stanley Cup the next season. Now, the Senators have a chance to make amends for their quick elimination two years ago and then for missing the postseason all together in 2009.

The season series:
I'm sure you've seen this numerous times, but the season series was split 2-2, and no game had a smaller goal differential than 3. Game 1 was a 4-1 Pens victory, Game 2 a 6-2 Sens win, Game 3 an 8-2 Pens win, Game 4 a 4-1 Senators victory. As far as the regular season is concerned, this is anybody's game.

There's no place like home:
Pittsburgh is 25-12-4 at home, Ottawa is 18-21-2 on the road. Simple math says that Ottawa has to take at least one road game in the series to advance to the next round, and getting ahead early on the returning Stanley Cup Champs would be huge -- it could also mean the start of another streak.

You never forget your first time:
Playing in their first NHL playoff game are Matt Carkner, Peter Regin, Erik Karlsson, Brian Elliott, Jesse Winchester, and Zack Smith. Cory Clouston will be coaching his first Stanley Cup playoff game. Hopefully they left any newbie jitters back in Ottawa.

Ottawa Senators playoff hockey... it's been too long. Be sure to join in on the conversation in the comments, before and after the puck drops.

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