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Precautionary Scratch Pays Off in the End, Penguins Face Sens in Rd 1

When Michel Therrien decided it'd be in the team's best interest to scratch Sidney Crosby prior to Sunday's match-up against the Flyers, there weren't many people in the Pittsburgh fan base all that against the move.  In fact, many already agreed keeping Sid healthy for the playoffs was the main concern at hand.

In the long-run the Penguins did not claim the Conference title in their 2-0 loss.  They did not even up the season-long series with Philly, nor did they sweep any team in the Atlantic this year.  

What they did accomplish was the perfect set-up to take on the 2006/2007 playoff Pittsburgh eliminating Ottawa Senators.  

Now, some would say Pitt should've played their hearts out today in Philadelphia to smash the Flyers in round one.  And while I would've loved to see Pittsburgh atop the Eastern Conference, perhaps revenge for last year's elimination is more fitting.  

Ottawa has been without Daniel Alfreddson since the Maple Leafs' Bell rocked his face off in a questionable head shot.  

Ottawa has also faced a season-long question mark between the pipes as the battle for netminding supremacy wages on between Martin Gerber and Ray Emery.  Factor in Ottawa's 3-6-1 record in the last 10 games and their ability to barely skimp into the playoff race and this may be the match made for perfection.

Critics and so-called experts will say Ottawa is undefeated (1-0) against Pittsburgh in the playoffs.  On a similar note, had round one been against the Flyers than you would've heard the same (Penguins 0-3 vs Philly in the playoffs).  

In any case, I'll take an 0-1 record over 0-3.  I look forward to seeing Washington and Philly destroy one another in the first round, to which if Philly does surpass, than knocking them out as they edge closer to the cup will be all the sweeter.

Sid has two full days to rest up his ankle (if it was actually bothering him) and Pittsburgh can continue to work on their scoring.  A 2-0 loss may be somewhat meaningless in the last game of the season, but it is beyond unacceptable in the playoffs.  Gary Roberts' return was on somewhat of the irrelevant note on paper, but when Sergei Gonchar was mobbed by Flyers after a boarding call, Scary Gary was the muscle between.  And if there was any question whether he's 100% healthy or not, an open-ice takedown from Philly's Scott Hartnell leaves no further question.

Pens vs Sens Wednesday in Pittsburgh.  Puck drops at 7:00.