NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, March 14th
(All times eastern)
Ottawa Senators (27-30-10) at Pittsburgh Penguins (36-26-7), 3 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Despite having their longest winning streak of the season
recently halted, the Pittsburgh Penguins will still try for a fifth straight
win on home ice tonight against the Ottawa Senators at Mellon Arena.
The Penguins begin a season-long eight-game homestand this afternoon just two
days after their 4-3 shootout loss to Columbus brought their seven-game
overall winning streak to an end.
After the initial four shooters failed to find the net, Kristian Huselius'
wrister went through the five-hole of Marc-Andre Fleury to give Columbus a 1-0
edge in the shootout. It all came down to Evgeni Malkin, the NHL's leading
scorer, but he fired wide left to hand the game to the Blue Jackets.
Sergei Gonchar, Pascal Dupuis, and Maxime Talbot scored for the Penguins, who
lost for the first time since February 22 in Washington. Malkin and Sidney
Crosby had two helpers each in defeat, while Fleury turned away 25-of-28
Malkin's two helpers boosted his league-leading total in assists to 67, while
his 97 points are also tops in the NHL. Crosby is second in helpers with 60.
The Penguins hope to have Petr Sykora back on the ice tonight, as he has
missed the last three games due to an upper-body injury.
Pittsburgh enter's this contest sixth overall in the Eastern Conference, just
one point back of Montreal but also a mere point up on both the New York
Rangers and Carolina.
The Pens' four straight home victories have pushed their mark at Mellon Arena
to 18-12-2 this year. Pittsburgh continues its homestand on Sunday versus
Eastern Conference-leading Boston.
Ottawa also had a lengthy win streak end last time out, as Thursday's 5-3
setback to the Bruins ended its run of four victories in a row. Jason Spezza,
who has a hat trick versus the Penguins this year, recorded a pair of goals,
while Christoph Schubert added a marker for the Senators. Alex Auld made 17
saves for Ottawa.
Spezza has posted four goals and two assists in three games against Pittsburgh
this year and has 27 points in 20 career games against the club.
Filip Kuba has missed the last two contests because of flu-like symptoms, but
could return tonight for the Sens, who have lost three straight on the road
and are 10-18-4 as the guest this year.
Ottawa has won two of three versus Pittsburgh this year, including a split of
their two games in Stockholm to begin the season. The Sens have won five of
their last six versus the Pens overall and two straight and six of the last
seven played in Pittsburgh.
03/14 10:36:16 ET