With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin among the missing, the Pittsburgh Penguins have to take advantage of games against weaker teams. For the second time in three days, they did just that.
Tyler Kennedy and Jordan Staal each had a goal and an assist to help the Penguins beat the Ottawa Senators, the last-place team in the East, 5-1 on Tuesday night at Scotiabank Place. The win came two days after the Pens routed Edmonton, the worst team in the West, by the same score.
"We're playing the way the Penguins play. We're doing all the right things in the system. We're trusting each other to be there and back each other up and we're playing hard," Staal said.
Chris Kunitz had three assists for the Penguins, who also got goals from Ben Lovejoy, Matt Cooke and Zbynek Michalek.
Ryan Shannon scored for the Senators, who've lost two in a row and are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with 59 points. Ottawa's Craig Anderson made 36 saves but allowed four goals for the second straight game. Pittsburgh backup goaltender Brent Johnson turned aside 21 of 22 shots.
"Obviously it's not the way you want to lose. When you get outshot 41 to whatever it is, that's not our game," Anderson said. "The way we were winning games was playing a 2-1 gritty hockey game, taking away the other team's chances and capitalizing on our opportunities. Tonight Pittsburgh played their system to a tee and they capitalized on our mistakes."
After Kennedy gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead in an otherwise uneventful opening period, the teams scored three goals in just over three minutes to start the second.
Staal's ninth of the season put Pittsburgh up 2-1 at 1:21. Shannon scored for the Senators less then a minute later to cut the Penguins' lead in half, but Lovejoy restored the two-goal cushion at 3:05 when moved in from the point and sent a shot from the top of the faceoff circle through Anderson's legs.
Cooke put Pittsburgh up 4-1 at 7:35. The goal was upheld by a video review to ensure Cooke did not kick the puck into the net. Michalek scored the only goal of the third period.
Despite holding a 13-6 advantage in shots the Penguins only led 1-0 after the first period.
Paul Martin took a point short that was heading wide before Kennedy redirected the puck off both posts and in behind Anderson for a 1-0 Penguins lead at 9:14.
It was just the second goal in eight games for Kennedy, who has 16 on the season.
"It's nice that we can complement each other when we're out there and put pucks in the right areas," Kunitz said of Staal and Kennedy, his new linemates. "It's nice to be successful."
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report.