Coach calls on veterans
Coach Paul MacLean opened Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinal Friday night at Consol Energy Center with the veteran line of center Jason Spezza, left wing Milan Michalek and right wing Daniel Alfredsson.
His aim was to stock the ice with veterans. Before Friday, the trio had combined to play in 229 career playoff games, with a total of 81 goals. Michalek and Spezza are former first-round draft choices and Alfredsson, 40, is the team's respected captain.
“Maybe if we put our veteran guys together and get them on the ice early in the game, it will have a calming effect for the rest of the group,” MacLean said.
Initially, MacLean's strategy didn't work. While Spezza had the second-most ice time among Ottawa forwards in the first period, his line had none of the Senators' 10 shots.
Michalek scored on a power play late in the second period after the Penguins had seized a 3-0 lead. Spezza and Kyle Turris assisted.
MacLean, who took no questions and cut short his news conference Wednesday night, stayed as long as anyone wanted Friday afternoon after his team's game-day skate.
But reporters threw only two questions at him and he sat on stage for a total of 76 seconds. He did offer a bit of news everyone expected when he said goalie Craig Anderson, who was pulled before the end of Games 1 and 4, would start Game 5 on Friday night.
He also said right winger Mark Stone, who was injured in Game 4, did not make the trip to Pittsburgh.
— Jerry DiPaola
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