For the third time in four years, that meant facing off with the Ottawa Senators in the first round.
After losing Game 1 and winning Game 2 of their series, the Penguins went to Ottawa and came away with both wins and a 3-1 series lead.
Trying to take the series in Game 5, it was a marathon overtime game at Mellon Arena. With the help of a 56-save game from Pascal Leclaire in net, Matt Carkner broke the tie midway through the third overtime period, forcing a Game 6 back in Ottawa.
Trailing 3-0 in Game 6, it seemed as if things were destined for a 7th game — but not quite yet. (Matt Cullen sighting.)
Matt Cooke got the Penguins on the board. Bill Guerin got the Penguins within one, and Matt Cooke scored a second goal to tie the game at 3-3.
Overtime was needed, and midway through the extra time, Pascal Dupuis punched the Penguins ticket to the second round.
What a play by Jordan Staal behind the net. Once again, every shot in overtime matters. Bad angle, falling down, felt sort of harmless, but it was the one that went in.