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Crosby hat trick powers Penguins by Senators

Scores three straight goals as Pittsburgh wins fourth in row

by Wes Crosby @OtherNHLCrosby / Correspondent

Crosby completes hat trick

OTT@PIT: Crosby scores third goal for ninth hat trick

2/2/16: Sidney Crosby completes the ninth hat trick of his career, beating Craig Anderson for the 20th goal of the season in the 3rd period

  • 01:14 •

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby's first hat trick in over two years helped the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 6-5 win against the Ottawa Senators at Consol Energy Center on Tuesday.

After Pittsburgh (25-17-7) surrendered a one-goal lead, Crosby tied the game 4-4 on a snap shot 6:10 into the second period to extend his streak of consecutive home games with a goal to a career-high eight. He then casually tapped a puck by Senators goalie Craig Anderson on a power play to give Pittsburgh a 5-4 lead with 3:15 remaining in the period.

Crosby, who finished with a season-high four points, capped his ninth career hat trick 6:40 into the third period, when he tapped another shot through Anderson to extend the lead to 6-4. It marked the first time he scored three goals since Oct. 12, 2013, against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

After scoring six goals in his first 32 games, Crosby has scored 14 in his past 16. Pittsburgh has won four consecutive games and five of its past six.

Video: OTT@PIT: Crosby scores on Kessel's perfect pass

"I think it's fun [to play in a wide-open game]," Crosby said. "You don't play in that many of them. You have to embrace it. It's one of those games where you know everything's bouncing wacky out there and you want to be on the right side of it. So, if you're complaining, or if you're not happy with the way it's going, you're more likely not to embrace it. I just think you try to make sure you get the last one."

Penguins forward Chris Kunitz had a goal and two assists, forward Evgeni Malkin had two assists and defenseman Kris Letang had a goal and an assist.

Video: OTT@PIT: Kunitz re-extends lead to two goals in 1st

"It was an interesting game," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "I thought we had a real strong start, the way we wanted to come out. I felt like we carried the play for the majority of the time."

The Penguins controlled the first period, but a few lapses kept them from taking full advantage.

Penguins forward Matt Cullen opened the scoring when he carried the puck to the Ottawa crease and took a shot off Anderson's glove. With Anderson looking behind him, thinking the puck might have crossed the goal line, Cullen sent a rebound shot into the Senators net 7:01 into the first.

Pittsburgh extended the lead to 2-0 with 9:06 remaining in the first when Letang sent a shot into an open net with forward Patric Hornqvist in front following Anderson's pad save on a Kunitz breakaway. The goal was upheld after Ottawa challenged for goalie interference.

Forward Mark Stone scored on Ottawa's third shot with 5:10 remaining to cut Pittsburgh's lead in half. Kunitz pushed Pittsburgh's lead back to two goals 1:27 later and defenseman Chris Wideman scored on the Senators' fifth shot to cut the deficit to 3-2 with 30.3 seconds left in the first.

Video: OTT@PIT: Stone scores on wrist shot to cut deficit

The Senators were pleased with their ability to fight back, but admitted digging their way out of a hole proved to be taxing.

"Just a slow start by us," Stone said. "Cost us an early lead and we were able to battle back a couple times to get into it, but that takes a lot of energy when you're chasing the game. So, when we take that lead, we have to keep that lead."

With Ottawa (23-22-6) trailing 3-2 to begin the second, the Senators scored two quick goals after Penguins forward Tom Kuhnhackl was called for embellishment to negate a Pittsburgh power play. Ottawa took advantage of the 4-on-4 when defenseman Erik Karlsson's slap shot bounced over Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury before forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau tapped it past the goal line 3:01 into the second.

Defenseman Cody Ceci scored 24 seconds later when he dug a puck into the net from under Fleury, giving Ottawa a 4-3 lead.

Video: OTT@PIT: Senators take 4-3 lead on Ceci's tip-in

"It's tough to win a game when you give up six goals," Ceci said. "We gave up way too many. We found the back of the net a few times, but it wasn't enough. We gave up a few early and kind of killed the game early, right off the start."

Senators forward Dave Dziurzynski scored to make it a one-goal game with 4:10 remaining in the third. Ottawa hit the crossbar twice in the final minute.

Penguins forward Eric Fehr exited midway through the second period after being hit into the boards and did not return. Sullivan said Fehr has a lower-body injury and was being evaluated Tuesday.

Both goalies had nights they'd rather forget. Fleury stopped 18 of 23 shots and Anderson allowed six goals on 44 shots, but Senators assistant coach Dave Cameron said Anderson was "excellent" Tuesday and that Ottawa "hung him out to dry."

"We couldn't play with the same speed Pittsburgh played with tonight," Cameron said. "We couldn't play quick enough for a couple reasons. One was our execution with the puck. It was too sloppy. It was too slow… A lot of times when we did make the right decision, it wasn't a very good pass. It was a combination of things that made us look slow."

Fleury didn't face a shot for the first 11:30 of the first period, which he said made the rest of the game difficult.

"No shots against, that was a rough one," Fleury said. "The guys did a great job, obviously, and it's good to get a win. It's always frustrating [having a poor performance]. You never want it to happen. I'm sure it'll happen again sometimes, but this feels good though. We played very well. We dominated the play."

Video: Crosby hat trick powers Penguins by Senators

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