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Preview: Penguins at Senators

Goalie Matt Murray returns for Pittsburgh; Mike Condon to start for Ottawa

by Chris Stevenson / Correspondent

PENGUINS (26-9-5) at SENATORS (21-14-4)

7:30 p.m. ET; RDS2, TSN5, ROOT, NHL.TV

Penguins team scope

Goalie Matt Murray will play for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second of back-to-back games. It's his first appearance since Dec. 28, when he left after the second period against the Carolina Hurricanes with a lower-body injury. The Penguins had their five-game winning streak ended with a 5-2 loss at the Washington Capitals on Wednesday. They will be trying to avoid losing back-to-back games in regulation for the first time since Dec. 14-18, 2015, when Pittsburgh lost its first four games after Mike Sullivan replaced Mike Johnston as coach. Since then, Pittsburgh has gone 90 consecutive regular-season games without back-to-back regulation losses. The Penguins have won four straight games against the Ottawa Senators and are 7-0-2 in the past nine, including an 8-5 win in Pittsburgh on Dec. 5. The Penguins gave up two power-play goals to the Capitals, the first time they gave up multiple power-play goals in a game since they allowed three to the Senators on Dec. 5. The Penguins lead the NHL with an average of 3.48 goals per game.

Senators team scope

The Senators haven't played since a 5-3 victory against the Edmonton Oilers at Canadian Tire Centre on Sunday that ended their four-game losing streak. Ottawa is 1-3-1 since winning four in a row Dec. 17-22. The Senators were 1-for-1 on the power play against the Oilers, ending a four-game streak without a power-play goal in which they were 0-for-14. It was their ninth power-play goal at home in 68 opportunities (13.2%, 27th in the NHL). Goaltender Mike Condon, acquired from the Penguins on Nov. 2, will make his eighth consecutive start. This is the second straight game in which the Senators' opponent will be playing the second of back-to-back games.

Penguins projected lineup

Conor Sheary -- Sidney Crosby -- Bryan Rust

Carl Hagelin -- Evgeni Malkin -- Patric Hornqvist

Chris Kunitz -- Nick Bonino -- Phil Kessel

Scott Wilson -- Matt Cullen -- Eric Fehr

Trevor Daley -- Kris Letang

Ian Cole -- Justin Schultz

Olli Maatta -- Steve Oleksy

Matt Murray

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: David Warsofsky

Injured: Brian Dumoulin (jaw), Chad Ruhwedel (illness), Tom Kuhnhackl (lower body)


Senators projected lineup

Zack Smith -- Derick Brassard -- Mark Stone

Ryan Dzingel -- Kyle Turris -- Bobby Ryan

Mike Hoffman -- Jean-Gabriel Pageau -- Tom Pyatt

Chris Kelly -- Curtis Lazar -- Chris Neil

Marc Methot -- Erik Karlsson

Dion Phaneuf -- Cody Ceci

Mark Borowiecki -- Chris Wideman

Mike Condon

Matthew O'Connor

Scratched: Fredrik Claesson

Injured: Andrew Hammond (ankle), Clarke MacArthur (concussion)

Personal leave: Craig Anderson


Status report

Murray dressed as Fleury's backup against the Capitals.


Who's hot

Crosby has five goals and 12 points in his past nine games, 12 goals and 26 points in his past 19. Malkin has five goals and 11 points in his past nine games, nine goals and 27 points in his past 20 games. Kessel has two goals and six assists during a six-game point streak. Letang has a goal and six assists in his past six games. Schultz has a goal and five assists during a six-game point streak, seven goals and 21 points in his past 18. …Smith has five goals and four assists in his past seven games. Stone has two goals and three assists in five games.

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