Three storylines for Game 1 between the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET).
1. Can the underdog Senators knock off Crosby & Co.?
Why not? The Senators have overcome injuries to star players all season long. They upset the Montreal Canadiens in five games in the first round. If the New York Islanders could give the Penguins a rough ride, why can't the Senators provide another successful chapter to their remarkable season? Ottawa plays a patient game, plus has a better defence and goaltending than the Islanders. While the Penguins scored a league-high 165 goals in the regular season, the Senators checked in with 116, the fewest among the 16 teams that made the playoffs. So Ottawa needs to keep this a low-scoring series. One interesting development to keep an eye on is how well Senators defenceman Marc Methot can keep Sidney Crosby in check. It was a long time ago, but in junior as a member of the London Knights, Methot did the job against Crosby and the Rimouski Oceanic to win the 2004-05 Memorial Cup.
2. Will Vokoun get start in goal for Penguins?
Yes. After Marc-Andre Fleury surrendered 14 goals in four games in the first-round against the Islanders, he was replaced by backup Tomas Vokoun. The latter came in to win the back-to-back games and clinch the series. Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma was not very forthcoming as to who he will start versus Ottawa, but Vokoun confirmed on Tuesday morning that he will start the series opener.
3. Spezza didn't travel with the Senators to Pittsburgh. Does that mean he won't play Game 2, either?
Not necessarily. After skating with the Senators on Sunday and Monday, Jason Spezza stayed at home to continue his recovery from back surgery. He will skate with some of the other extra Senators under the tutelage of Binghamton Senators coach Luke Richardson. Spezza has not been ruled out for Game 2, but a return then seems unlikely ,even though there are two days off between Games 1 and 2. There will be another two days off between Games 3 and 4. The likely scenario will see Spezza return to action later in the series.
Projected lineup for Ottawa
Cory Conacher - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Milan Michalek - Mika Zibanejad - Jakob Silfverberg
Colin Greeing - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Erik Condra
Matt Kassian - Zac Smith - Chris Neil
Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips - Eric Gryba
Goaltender: Craig Anderson
Projected lineup for Pittsburgh
Pascal Dupuis - Sidney Crosby - Jarome Iginla
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Brenden Morrow - Brandon Sutter - Matt Cooke
Craig Adams - Joe Vitale - Tyler Kennedy
Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin
Kris Letang - Matt Niskanen
Deryk Engelland - Douglas Murray
Follow Tim Wharnsby on Twitter @WharnsbyCBC
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