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Crosby at forefront of Penguins' surge

by Sean Farrell

OTTAWA -- Sidney Crosby was named the NHL's Second Star of the Week on Monday after the Pittsburgh Penguins captain led the way on offense during a stretch where the injury-plagued team's depth on defense was tested to its fullest.

Crosby had two goals and six assists in four games to extend his League scoring lead to 54 points, six ahead of Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Defensemen Brooks Orpik and Rob Scuderi and forward Tanner Glass, all on injured reserve, and suspended defenseman Deryk Engelland took part in Pittsburgh's morning skate at Canadian Tire Centre on Monday.

The Penguins have won 12 of 13 and will look to extend their seven-game winning streak when they face the Ottawa Senators.

"I think everyone's tried to raise their level a bit when guys go out," Crosby said. "I think naturally you try to do that and fortunately I've been able to produce and contribute. But I think it's really taken everyone, from the goaltending right on out, so we've all tried to raise our level and find ways to survive without guys."

Defensemen Simon Despres, Brian Dumoulin and Philip Samuelsson all have been called up recently from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League.

"It's fun because we're all up together," Despres said. "Sometimes when you're called up it's one or two so you're pretty much left to yourself. Now we're like a little family and we're all in the same situation. We're just having fun and winning games so it's a good atmosphere."

Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury will play his 499th regular-season game and make his 479th start.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said the rest of his lineup will be a game-time decision.

Senators forward Mika Zibanejad returns after missing Ottawa's 4-3 overtime loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday. Zibanejad left in the first period of a 4-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on Thursday after sustaining an upper-body injury on a hit by Florida Panthers defenseman Erik Gudbranson.

"The hit, per se, wasn't that bad but I didn't feel very good after, and for precautionary reasons we didn't feel like risking anything after," Zibanejad said.

Here are the probable lineups for the Penguins and Senators:


Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Pascal Dupuis

Chris Conner - Jussi Jokinen - James Neal

Harry Zolnierczyk - Brandon Sutter - Joe Vitale

Craig Adams - Zach Sill - Chuck Kobasew

Matt Niskanen - Olli Maatta

Robert Bortuzzo - Brian Dumoulin

Simon Despres - Philip Samuelsson

Marc-Andre Fleury

Jeff Zatkoff

Scratched: Brian Gibbons

Suspended: Deryk Engelland

Injured: Evgeni Malkin (lower body), Kris Letang (upper body), Brooks Orpik (head), Andrew Ebbett (ankle), Beau Bennett (wrist), Tanner Glass (hand), Paul Martin (leg), Rob Scuderi (ankle), Jayson Megna (lower body), Tomas Vokoun (pelvis)


Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Mika Zibanejad

Clarke MacArthur - Kyle Turris - Bobby Ryan

Colin Greening - Zack Smith - Chris Neil

Matt Kassian - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Erik Condra

Jared Cowen - Erik Karlsson

Chris Phillips - Cody Ceci

Marc Methot - Eric Gryba

Craig Anderson

Robin Lehner

Scratched: Joe Corvo, Patrick Wiercioch, Cory Conacher

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