The Cup Defense Begins in Earnest. SENS-PENS preview.

You know it's the playoffs.
Because WPXI starts showing up in places you haven't seen them all year.
But still it's the most wonderful time of the year.
And a familiar friend is coming to town.
Ottawa columnist Don Brennan will be making his presence known at any moment.
Daniel Alfredsson will be scoring goals.
Casual Pens fans don't even know who the Sens goalie is.
Pensblog Charlie just got a wax job in anticipation.
The white towels will soon be waving.
After the jump, we're taking a look at the Sens.
After all the stats and roster breakdowns, it comes down to a simple train of thought.
The Pens are the defending champs.
The Senators have that in the back of their mind.
Having said that, with this being a 4v5 matchup, only 7 points separated the two in the standings.
The Sens have been lurking in the cut all season it seems.
The Sens will finally be emerging from said cut and into a huge playoff series.
Should be a fun time. Pens in 3.
This year's games:
October 12: Pens 4Sens 1
November 19: Sens 6 Pens 2
(amidst our Chris Bourque strike).
December 23: Pens 8 Sens 2
January 28: Sens 4Pens 1
No clue why anyone even reads this site.
Cory Clouston. A face that screams country-club brat.
Has been given the moniker of a "baby-faced drill sergeant" by Ottawa media.
His history with the Pens is nothing to write home about.
But he's still a joke.
He's already drilling home the Sens' underdog role.
The true hate for this man's face won't kick in
until he bitches about some hooking penalty on Chris Phillips.
Brian Elliott. Who?
Looking at his Game Log, he's definitely a streaky goaltender.
But more strings of wins than losses in there.
Without spending an hour trying to scout a guy we don't care about,
all we can say is he's about to face the biggest challenge of his life.
Chris Philips
Matt Carkner
Chris Campoli
Anton Volchenkov
Eric Karlsson
Andy Sutton
Alexandre Picard
Flilip Kuba (injured)
Chris Phillips will be in Sid and/or Geno's mouth all series.
Plays 22 minutes a game. 20 minutes more than sex.
Scores a goal once every 10 games or so. Solid D-man.
If you need help remembering Anton Volchenkov,
he was the clown wearing the full-face shield in the 2008 playoffs after getting drilled with a puck.
But he's no joke. Would love to have him as a Pen.
By the end of the series, we'll be sick of hearing his name.
Andy Sutton was acquired at the deadline from the Islanders.
Think Hal Gill, and you'll have a good idea what Sutton's gonna be about.
We remember saying the Sens acquired Sutton specifically for a series like this.
Could get an assignment on Geno or Bing if the Sens coach gets bored.
Might have to face karma for destroying Pascal Dupuis' face.

The big sigh of relief being heard around the Pittsburgh area
is shitloads of fans finding out Alex Kovalev is out for the season.
He's getting up there in age and had disappeared from the scoresheet late in the season,
but the Sens lost a big offensive threat.
Matt Cullen
Mike Fisher
Chris Kelly
Peter Regin
Jason Spezza
Jesse Winchester
Nick Foligno
Jarkko Ruutu
Daniel Alfredsson
Chris Neil
Ryan Shannon
Zack Smith
Milan Michalek (probably playing)
Bobby Butler
Shean Donovan (probably playing)
Alex Kovalev (injured)
Jason Spezza.
He'll bang your girlfriend after the game because that's what douchebags do.
Can't help it.
Still have to go into a Sens playoff series thinking Alfredsson will score a hatty every night.
Ruutu and Cooke will see each other and have a Bizarro Seinfeld moment.
Ruutu is built for the playoffs.
Chris Neil is a hack.
But he will be peeing on everything, trying to buy a powerplay.
Shean Donovan. What a pest.
Special-teams matchup is a crapshoot.
The Sens PP: 16.9%.
Pens PK: 84.3%
Pens PP: 17.2%
Sens PK: 84.3%
Goals per game:
Pens: 3.00
Sens: 2.68
Goals-against per game:
Both teams give up 2.84 goals per game.
Already, the Internet is saying that this is a great first-round matchup for the Pens:
An opponent like Ottawa will give the Pens some room for error as the Pens get into playoff mode.
If you've watched the Pens all season, that is the last thing you want to hear.
Honestly the Pens have little margin for error.
We're just glad the playoffs are back.
And we're along for whatever ride the Pens take us on.
If you've come this far, maybe you're willing to come a little further.
Go Pens.