You can turn out the lights at Scotiabank Place — the Ottawa Senators’ season is over.
The Pittsburgh Penguins completed their four-game sweep of the Senators in their Eastern Conference quarter-final with a 3-1 victory last night at “The Bank.”
The Senators had not lost in the first round of the playoffs since 2004 when the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated them in seven games. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, won their first playoff series in seven seasons. The Penguins’ last post-season victory was in the 2001 Conference semifinals versus the Buffalo Sabres.
Sidney Crosby led the Penguins to victory with a goal and an assist. Evgeni Malkin and Jarkko Ruutu scored the other Penguins goals.
Cory Stillman was the lone marksman for the Sens, who see their season end prematurely after starting the season with such high hopes for another crack at Lord Stanley.
“It’s disappointing to lose in four straight games,” admitted Senators head coach/general manager Bryan Murray. “The reality is they were a better team than us over the four games. They were extremely disciplined and have a lot of offensive talent to work with.
“When we were shaking hands after the game I told (Pens head coach) Michel Therrien that they have a real good chance to go a long way.”
Malkin opened the scoring for Pittsburgh with a powerplay goal at 1:40 of the second period after banging in his second opportunity past Sens goalie Martin Gerber from the side of the net.
Ottawa was quick to reply as Stillman evened the score five minutes later, sweeping a loose puck behind Pens netminder Marc-Andre Fleury.
But the Penguins regained their lead at 15:28 when Ruutu drew Gerber out of his net before tucking in a backhand shot between the Ottawa goalie’s legs.
The Sens thought they had tied the game minutes later, but after video review, the goal was waived off on a ruling that Antoine Vermette had made a distinct kicking motion to get the puck into the net.
Crosby sent the 19,954 fans home for the last time this season with an empty-net goal with eight seconds remaining.