The Penguins continued their Canadian road trip, traveling to the very heart of the nation, Ottawa, to battle it out with the Senators. Looking to rebound from Friday’s loss against the Winnipeg Jets, the Pens were gearing up to battle it out with an Ottawa club also looking to rebound from a 6 to 4 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning whereby the Sens led the Lightning up until the last period. The game would go right down to the wire, eventually resulting in a shootout that would prove to favour the Pens.
Ottawa would come out swinging, testing Pens’ net-minder Marc-Andre Fleury early and often. The game would settle into a pretty even flow, both teams going hard at
the goaltenders. Pittsburgh would strike first, however, with just six and a half minutes left in the first period of play. Just minutes after stopping a blast from Pascal Dupuis on a Penguins 2-on-1 opportunity, Senators net-minder Craig Anderson would be beat by a wrist-shot courtesy of James Neal. Neal would pick up a pass from Evgeni Malkin and snipe it toward Anderson while down on one knee who didn’t even have a chance. The Senators would apply pressure as the period wound down, and Erik Condra would come very close to tying it up in the final minutes of the frame if not for the speed of Kris Letang. Heading into the second, shots would favour Ottawa 12 to 10, despite the goal deficit.
The Pens would be unable to capitalize on an early penalty against Condra while the Senators, for their part, would be unable to capitalize on a boarding call against Pascal Dupuis. Ottawa would tie it up, however, with just over six minutes left to go in the second. Jason Spezze would speed down the ice, taking an initial shot while opening up the zone for Colin Greening to pick up a rebound and bank it past Fleury. Despite holding the Sens to just one goal through the second, the Penguins would lose Matt Niskanen to a lower-body injury. Niskanen appeared on the bench at the beginning of the period, but disappeared soon thereafter. His condition was made known after the game. He will be re-evaluated in Pittsburgh on Monday.
Neither team would be able to capitalize during the third, although the Senators would come very, very close halfway through the period when a puck would sneak past Fleury only to die on the goal line. Fleury would come up big in the dying five, and at the end of sixty, the game would remain tied. Headed to overtime.
Five minutes of sudden-death overtime would prove futile as the Penguins would be unable to earn any real opportunities for themselves while ensuring that Ottawa’s
chances were few and far between. That meant the game was headed to a shootout. Milan Michalek would shoot first for Ottawa and Fleury would deny him no problem. James Neal would beat Anderson, while Jason Spezza would tie it up for Ottawa. Sidney Crosby would effortlessly put Pittsburgh ahead while Kyle Turris’ shot would sneak past Fleury after the initial save. It would all come down to Evgeni Malkin, who would walk the puck in and tap it past Anderson, giving the Pens their third win of the season.
Paul Martin led all skaters with 30:26 of ice time while Kris Letang followed with 29:10. Tyler Kennedy and Kris Letang would each record four shots on net while Brandon Sutter and Sidney Crosby would each have two of their own. Marc-Andre Fleury would face 32 shots while Craig Anderson would face 34. The win brings the Pens to 3-2-0, placing them second in the Atlantic Division, one point behind the New Jersey Devils. They sit sixth in the conference and tenth in the league after just one week of play.
The Penguins will rest Monday before returning to the ice Tuesday to go head-to-head with the New York Islanders in Pittsburgh. Game time is 7:30pm.