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Ottawa upset with Pens' Roberts' contact

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By Keith Barnes
Thursday, April 19, 2007

Gary Roberts has been a thorn in Ottawa's side since he helped Toronto knock the Senators out of the playoffs in 2001, 2002 and 2004. After the Senators' 2-1 win in Game 4, however, the Senators believed Roberts was a bit more vociferous than he should have been.

"I'd like to comment on Gary Roberts getting free runs at a couple of our guys when they didn't even have the puck and there was no calls," Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said. "We made one comment to the referees, and they shook their head like, 'What are you talking about?' but, the bottom line was, they drew penalties because they were skating more than we were in the early going, and we felt that the calls the referees were forced to make went against us."

Roberts forced contact on several occasions and his crushing check on Senators defenseman Anton Volchenkov in the second period helped set up the Penguins only goal of the game.

"I don't really have a reaction," Robert said. "I'm just trying to be physical, I know it's playoff hockey, and you're trying to create opportunities for your linemates, and my job's usually to be the first one down on the forecheck and take the body. I don't really feel that that's the case. If the puck's there, I'm going to take the body, and I'm not going to worry about it."

• Penguins forward Nils Ekman played only two games since Dec. 29 before taking the ice in Game 4 but had to be helped off the ice with what is being called a left leg injury. Because it's the playoffs, the severity of the injury -- or it's exact location, for that matter -- will remain a closely guarded secret. But it will not keep Ekman from playing in Game 5.

"It's all right and not bad," Ekman said. "There's absolutely nothing that will keep me out of the game."

• Though the Penguins listed their practice Wednesday at Mellon Arena as optional, they still had 17 skaters and both goaltenders on the ice. Among the players who didn't take advantage of the extra session were Sidney Crosby, Mark Recchi, Sergei Gonchar, Evgeni Malkin and Roberts.

• The Penguins have not gone one-and-out in a playoff series since Montreal defeated them, 4-2, in 1998. It was a series that featured the second overtime penalty shot in Stanley Cup playoff history when Aleksey Morozov hit the post behind Canadiens netminder Andy Moog, and the Penguins lost Game 1.


6 - Shots the Penguins are averaging in the first period.

9 - Consecutive penalties that Ottawa has killed.

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