Sports

First-round jitters gone, Penguins remain wary as series with Senators opens

  • New York Islanders center Frans Nielsen (51), of Denmark, congratulates Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) after the Penguins defeated the Islanders in overtime of Game 6 of a first-round NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey series in Uniondale, N.Y., Saturday, May 11, 2013.  The top-seeded Penguins advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 4-3 win. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

    New York Islanders center Frans Nielsen (51), of Denmark, congratulates Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) after the Penguins defeated the Islanders in overtime of Game 6 of a first-round NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey series in Uniondale, N.Y., Saturday, May 11, 2013. The top-seeded Penguins advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 4-3 win. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)  (The Associated Press)

  • Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson skates during hockey practice in Ottawa, Ontario, Sunday, May 12, 2013. The Senators are to face the Pittsburgh Penguins in round two of the NHL playoffs. (AP Photos/The Canadian Press, Fred Chartrand)

    Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson skates during hockey practice in Ottawa, Ontario, Sunday, May 12, 2013. The Senators are to face the Pittsburgh Penguins in round two of the NHL playoffs. (AP Photos/The Canadian Press, Fred Chartrand)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71), of Russia, celebrates with defenseman Paul Martin (7), whose goal tied the score against the New York Islanders in the third period of Game 6 of a first-round NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey series in Uniondale, N.Y., Saturday, May 11, 2013. The Penguins won 4-3 in overtime, and advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

    Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71), of Russia, celebrates with defenseman Paul Martin (7), whose goal tied the score against the New York Islanders in the third period of Game 6 of a first-round NHL Stanley Cup playoff hockey series in Uniondale, N.Y., Saturday, May 11, 2013. The Penguins won 4-3 in overtime, and advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)  (The Associated Press)

The Pittsburgh Penguins felt a mixture of relief and joy when they beat the New York Islanders in six games to advance to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in three years.

The top-seeded Penguins won despite being outplayed for long stretches by the quickly improving Islanders. Pittsburgh will face a very different task when it opens the second round on Tuesday night against Ottawa.

The seventh-seeded Senators have the NHL's best defense and dominated Montreal in the first round. Yet the Penguins have had their way with Ottawa this season, winning all three meetings between the two clubs. Pittsburgh also knocked Ottawa out of the postseason in 2008 and 2010, though defenseman Brooks Orpik says history will have no bearing on how this series plays out.