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Penguins look to continue roll in Ottawa

by Mike G. Morreale

PENGUINS (27-10-1) at SENATORS (14-17-7)


Last 10: Pittsburgh 9-1-0; Ottawa 3-4-3

Season series: The first of three games. The second will be at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Feb. 3, 2014.

Big story: The Pittsburgh Penguins have won seven straight while the Ottawa Senators have lost three in a row. Pittsburgh scored twice in each of the first two periods to beat the Calgary Flames, 4-3, Saturday to extend the streak since they last trailed on home ice to 377 minutes, 19 seconds dating back to Nov. 27. The Senators have been outscored 13-7 during their three-game skid.

Team Scope:

Penguins: The Penguins will begin a four-game road trip that will take them through Ottawa, Carolina, Columbus and New Jersey before returning home on Jan. 3 against the New York Rangers. In the victory Saturday, the top line of Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis combined for two goals and six points. The victory was the 10th straight for the Penguins at Consol Energy Center. Crosby, who was named the game's first star, had one goal and three points.

"We are just playing with a lot of energy," Crosby said. "Just keeping it simple and playing to our strengths, got a lot of speed in the lineup and trying to take the load off our of defense a little bit. I think our energy has been pretty good considering how many games we've been playing and how depleted our lineup is."

Senators: Former Senator Antoine Vermette scored three goals on five shots against his former team Saturday to lead the Phoenix Coyotes to a 4-3 victory. Vermette, who began his career and played with the Senators from 2003-09, completed his hat trick 2:23 into overtime. The loss dropped Ottawa to 2-9-3 against Western Conference foes.

Senators defenseman Marc Methot had a goal and one assist to notch his first multipoint game of the season.

"I'm sick of standing here and always saying the same things," Methot said. "You could just repeat everything I say after a loss and it's going to be the same difference. We're all frustrated. I'm frustrated, I'm sure the fans are; it's almost like we found a way to lose the game [Saturday] and it pains me to say that."

Who's hot: Crosby is on a 10-game point streak (seven goals, 18 points). … Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson has one goal and five points in the past five games.

Injury report: Pittsburgh forward Evgeni Malkin (lower body) will miss his fifth straight game. Forward Jayson Megna (lower body) is expected to miss six weeks. Goalie Tomas Vokoun (blood clot), defensemen Rob Scuderi (ankle), Paul Martin (leg), Brooks Orpik (head) and Kris Letang (upper body) and forwards Beau Bennett (wrist), Tanner Glass (hand) and Andrew Ebbett (ankle) are on injured reserve. Scuderi and Glass are close to returning. … Senators forward Mika Zibanejad (upper-body) is day-to-day.

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