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.