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NHL Game Summary - Ottawa at Pittsburgh

(Wednesday, December 23rd)

Final Score: Pittsburgh 8, Ottawa 2

Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Evgeni Malkin recorded a hat trick, while Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz each had four points, as the Pittsburgh Penguins bounced back from being on the wrong side of Martin Brodeur's latest record- breaking performance with a resounding 8-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators at Mellon Arena.

Guerin scored two power-play goals and collected two assists and Kunitz registered a goal and three helpers for the Penguins, who were blanked by Brodeur and the New Jersey Devils on Monday, snapping a five-game winning streak. The shutout was No. 104 of Brodeur's career, surpassing Terry Sawchuk for the league record.

Sergei Gonchar had a goal and two assists, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 45 saves for Pittsburgh, which goes into the Christmas break tied with New Jersey atop the Atlantic Division standings.

"We wanted to respond and rebound from (the loss to New Jersey)," said Pittsburgh forward Sidney Crosby. "(Fleury) played well and we capitalized on a lot of chances."

Anton Volchenkov and Chris Kelly scored for the Senators, who have dropped three of four.

Goaltender Pascal Leclaire returned to the crease for Ottawa, stopping 18- of-24 shots through 40 minutes. He had been sidelined since November 23 with a fractured cheekbone he sustained when struck by a stray puck while sitting on the bench. Backup Brian Elliott, who started 15 of the last 16 games in Leclaire's absence, made 10 saves in the third period.

Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson, however, was lost for the game with a left shoulder injury after being on the receiving end of a high hit doled out by Penguins right winger Craig Adams late in the first period. No penalty was called on the play. The veteran Swede leads the Senators with 22 assists and 31 points this season.

Alfredsson said he expects to miss "a few weeks."

Pittsburgh grabbed a 1-0 lead on the power play when Crosby threaded a cross- ice pass to Malkin for a one-timer 4:37 after the game's opening faceoff.

The Senators tied the game with 6:55 remaining in the first period. Peter Regin won a draw to Fleury's right and slid the puck to the point for Volchenkov, who ripped a shot through the legs of two Penguins players and behind the screened Pittsburgh netminder.

Unfortunately, it was all down hill for the Senators as Pittsburgh blew the contest open with a five-goal second period.

Guerin restored the lead 63 seconds into the middle stanza, skating to the net and banging home his own rebound while Ottawa's Jonathan Cheechoo served a high-sticking penalty.

Jordan Staal then lugged the puck up the middle of the ice and dished off to Maxime Talbot on his left side. Staal took the return feed and continued driving the net before sliding the puck over to Ruslan Fedotenko for an easy tap-in at 7:35.

Kunitz scored on a deflection at the 11:25 mark, then Guerin lit the lamp a little over two minutes later. Malkin's second goal of the game made it 6-1 with 1:33 remaining.

Gonchar and Malkin each scored in the third period. Kelly found the back of the net with 1:51 left in regulation.

Game Notes

It was the fourth career hat trick for Malkin...Crosby picked up three assists for Pittsburgh...Forwards Chris Neil and Shean Donovan also returned to Ottawa's lineup after lengthy absences due to knee injuries. Neil missed 15 games while Donovan sat out 18 straight...Ottawa visits Buffalo on Saturday...The Penguins conclude a three-game homestand Sunday against Toronto.

12/23 23:50:26 ET

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