GAME: Ottawa Senators (33-15-8-5) at Pittsburgh Penguins (11-41-5-4).
TIME: Sunday, 3 p.m. EST.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will reach a low the NHL has never before seen with
The Penguins can avoid becoming the first team in league history to lose 18
consecutive games by beating one of this season's best squads, the Ottawa
While Pittsburgh's 17-game losing streak matches the all-time NHL high, it
won't make the record books because the Penguins gained a point last Saturday
in a 3-2 overtime loss in St. Louis.
Friday's 2-0 loss to Florida extended the Penguins' NHL-record home losing
streak to 13 games.
Even if the Penguins don't wind up with multiple entries in the NHL record
book, the streaks are wearing on a young but constantly outmanned team that is
finding it hard to look to the future when the present is so bleak.
"We are a team in an unbelievably tough stretch, and it certainly makes it
more difficult," coach Eddie Olczyk said after Friday's loss. "But not at any
time did we feel like we were out of the game, and I think you could tell by
the players' effort."
The Penguins haven't won at home since beating Chicago 1-0 on Dec. 29, or at
any venue since a 2-1 victory at Philadelphia on Jan. 12. A loss or tie Sunday
would tie the longest winless streak in club history, set when the Penguins
went 0-17-1 from Jan. 2-Feb. 10, 1983.
If the Senators take care of the Penguins, they will move into first place
in the league's overall standings. Ottawa is one point behind Philadelphia,
Toronto and Detroit - all three of which are idle Sunday.
The Senators have earned at least one point in each of their last eight
games, going 5-0-1-2.
On Saturday, Martin Havlat scored 2:26 into the third period, lifting Ottawa
to a 2-1 win over Calgary.
Bryan Smolinski scored a power-play goal in the first and Patrick Lalime
made 18 saves for Ottawa, which lost 3-2 in overtime to Atlanta on Thursday to
end a five-game unbeaten streak.
"We knew we were in for a battle but we weren't going to lay down for them,
and maybe it was a perfect game for us - we knew they were going to be in our
face and we responded and it's a great two points," Smolinski said.
STANDINGS: Senators - 79 points, 2nd place, 1 PB, Northeast Division.
Penguins - 31 points, 5th place, 49 PB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Senators - Marian Hossa, 26 goals, 38 assists and 64 points;
Chris Neil, 136 PIM. Penguins - Ryan Malone, 17 goals; Dick Tarnstrom, 23
assists and 34 points; Kelly Buchberger, 109 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Feb. 20): Senators - Power play: 22.5 percent (65 for
289), 1st in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.7 percent (216 for 255), 14th. Penguins -
Power play: 14.7 percent (42 for 286), 22nd. Penalty killing: 75.6 percent (208
for 275), 30th.
GOALTENDERS: Senators - Lalime (20-16-6, 3 SO, 2.14 GAA); Martin Prusek
(11-4-2, 3, 1.80). Penguins - Jean-Sebastien Aubin (2-7-0, 3.07); Andy Chiodo
SEASON SERIES: Tied, 1-1-1.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 22; Senators, 6-5. At Ottawa, Havlat and Peter Schaefer
scored two goals apiece and Hossa had three assists for the Senators.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Senators - 13-8-4-1 on the road; Penguins - 7-20-3-0 at