It was a hockey night Pittsburgh and the Penguins were desperately looking to rebound following back-to-back losses to the New Jersey Devils this past weekend. They would welcome the Ottawa Senators to the Consol Energy Center for this first time this season in the second meeting between the two clubs. The Pens took the first contest in a shootout two and a half weeks ago.
Both teams would exchange some quality chances in the first, but it would be the Penguins striking first, although it would take some time. With just three and a half minutes left in the first period, it would be Pascal Dupuis with his fifth of the season beating Craig Anderson to give the Pens a 1-0 lead. Dupuis would be set up by a BEAUTIFUL pass courtesy of Sidney Crosby who exhibited some excellent on-ice awareness of his linemate, through traffic, to send the puck through traffic to the blade of Dupuis’ stick. The Pens would hold the lead as the clock wound down, outshooting the Sens 15 to 11 in a pretty even tilt through the first twenty.
On to the second where the Senators would not only tie the game, but take a temporary lead before James Neal would tie it with the Pens’ second of the night. With eight and a half minutes off the clock, Dupuis would be called for a hook, sending the Senators to the power play. The Penguins would kill off the man advantage, but the Senators would sneak one in just as the power play ended, the goal courtesy of Stephane Da Costa. Ottawa’s second of the night would come twenty-four seconds later, this time courtesy of Jim O’Brien. O’Brien’s shot would redirect off of the glove of Marc-Andre Fleury and, for the moment, the Senators would hold the lead. With just over eight minutes left in the middle frame, the Senators’ Chris Phillips would be called for a hook, sending the Penguins to second power play of the evening. This would provide James Neal with just the opportunity he needed to tie the game up, his power play goal coming with just over thirty seconds left on the man-advantage. Paul Martin would draw two players out, leaving Neal alone on the circle where Crosby would dish a pass and Neal would snap it in. Both teams seemed to draw momentum from the goal, and what followed would be four minutes of fast-paced, back-and-forth hockey. Late in the period, in the final two minutes, Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke would collide with last year’s Norris Trophy winner, Erik Karlsson in the corner. Cooke’s skate would somehow make contact with the back of Karlsson’s leg, and the young defencemen would skate away favouring it. Karlsson was helped off the ice by Ottawa’s trainers and would head straight to the locker room. He would not return to the game and later it would be announced that he suffered a lacerated/torn tendon that would require surgery.
The injury to Karlsson late in the second set the tone for the third. The Penguins would regain the lead less than two minutes into the period. James Neal would earn his
second of the night after picking up a rebound courtesy of Deryk Engelland and snapping it past Anderson who’d been screened by Cooke. After exchanging a few quality chances, the Pens fourth goal would come with less than nine minutes left in the period, this time courtesy of Crosby himself. Just as the Pens power play expired (courtesy of holding call against Chris Phillips) Paul Martin would draw Anderson out of the net, giving Crosby all the time and space he needed to tap the puck into the net, giving the Penguins a two goal lead. The Penguins would end the game on the power play, but would be unable to capitalize, following a scrum at in the final three minutes of the game. Chris Neil would have words with Matt Cooke who was clearly not interested in fighting. Neil would be given two minor roughing penalties and a 10-minute game misconduct. Cooke would also be given a 10-game misconduct, apparently for trying to throw Neil’s stick over the glass. However, one has to think that the officials were trying to avoid a full out bench brawl that was sure to ensue as a result of reproach for insult. (Not an expert, don’t quote that.) The Penguins would ultimately take the “W” and the two points.
Kris Letang, returning after having missed some games following a lower-body injury, led all skaters with 27:33 of ice time while Paul Martin followed with 23:43. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each had four shots on goal while Pascal Dupuis recorded 3. Crosby and James Neal each enjoyed three point nights, one of Crosby’s points earning him his 400th career assist. The Penguins sent 30 shots toward Anderson while Fleury faced 29.
The Penguins will hit the road again on Friday when they head back to Winnipeg to face the Jets for the second time this season. Game time is 7:00pm.