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NHL Game Summary - Pittsburgh at Ottawa

(Thursday, April 5th)

Final Score: Pittsburgh 3, Ottawa 2

Ottawa, ON (Sports Network) - Maxime Talbot's goal with only 10 seconds remaining in regulation lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to a dramatic and critical 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place.

Michel Ouellet and Gary Roberts also scored for the Penguins, who with 103 points are now even with Ottawa as both teams are fighting for the all- important fourth seed and subsequent home-ice advantage in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves in the win.

It is now certain that these teams will play against each other in the first round of the playoffs, but the location of the first two games is still up in the air. The Penguins learned during the third period that their hopes of an Atlantic Division title no longer existed after New Jersey defeated Philadelphia.

"We know we're going to play them and from what I've seen this year, they've got a bunch of little guys who like to run around and we have a physical team, so it should be a good series," said Ottawa's Dany Heatley.

Heatley and Jason Spezza scored for the Senators, who could have locked up the fourth seed with a win but will have to wait until Saturday when they play the Bruins in Boston. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, will also conclude its regular season on Saturday when it hosts the New York Rangers. If both teams win, Ottawa would gain home-ice in the first round due to the victory-total tiebreaker.

"We played a pretty good hockey game," said Spezza. "We didn't get the win, but Emery made some big saves. I thought we outplayed them, but we just didn't come out with the victory. If tonight was any indication, it should be a tough series. It'll be an intense, physical series with a lot of emotions. There should be a lot of good scoring opportunities for both sides."

The score was knotted at two apiece at the start of the final period and the action remained tight throughout the stanza. Pittsburgh wasted a pair of power-play chances in the session, but used 4-on-4 action in the waning moments to net the game-winning tally.

Evgeni Malkin and Chris Phillips were both in the penalty box during the furious final minute of action. Tremendous work along the rear boards by Penguins forward Colby Armstrong kept the puck inside the Pittsburgh offensive zone and the disc made its way back to the right point for a shot by Ryan Whitney. Ray Emery made the save, but the disc kicked out to the slot before Talbot's second swipe at the loose puck flew past a screened Emery and the Pens used the only even-strength goal of the game to skate off with the victory.

Emery finished with 24 saves.

Spezza's 32nd goal gave Ottawa the early 1-0 lead at the 7:59 mark of the opening period. With Mark Recchi in the penalty box for holding, Spezza planted himself at the left post and made several whacks at the puck before he swept it past Fleury.

Brooks Orpik's effort to keep the puck inside the zone led to a 1-1 margin in the latter stages of the first period. Orpik nicely kept the play alive at the left point and Ouellet curled in, gained control, maneuvered around a defender in the slot and beat Emery with a wrister at 14:05.

Less than a minute later, the veteran Roberts put the Pens ahead 2-1. Following a slap shot from the high left slot by defenseman Josef Melichar, the puck squirted free after Emery's pad save and sat atop the crease for Roberts, who lifted home his 19th goal of the season with five minutes remaining in the first period.

Heatley's power-play marker, the only goal of the second period, knotted the contest at the 4:11 mark.

Game Notes

Ottawa defenseman Tom Preissing left the game with a groin injury and did not return...The Pens finished 21-14-6 on the road this season...Ottawa ended its 2006-07 home slate with a 25-13-3 mark...Pittsburgh captured the season series, 3-1...Both teams finished 2-for-8 on the power play...Attendance was 20,064.

04/05 23:53:44 ET

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