GAME: Pittsburgh Penguins (11-29-5-3) at Ottawa Senators (25-12-7-3).
TIME: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EST.
Looking to keep up the pressure in their push for the Northeast Division
lead, the Ottawa Senators can't afford a letdown against the Eastern
Conference's worst team.
The Senators look for their second straight victory when they host the
woeful Pittsburgh Penguins, losers of four in a row.
Ottawa managed to maintain its focus against the offensively challenged
Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night, winning 3-1 at the RBC Center. Marian
Hossa and Daniel Alfredsson each scored in the first period, and Patrick Lalime
needed to make only 13 saves as Ottawa won for the 12th time in 18 games.
Hossa also had two assists for the Senators, who took control early against
a team that is last in the NHL with 87 goals.
"I like the way we played," Ottawa coach Jacques Martin said. "I thought
we played real strong, and that's what we need."
Martin's second-place team is pushing Toronto for the Northeast lead. The
Senators face the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre on Jan. 31.
While Ottawa has stayed close to Toronto, the Senators need to start
stringing victories together again. They haven't won consecutive contests since
a six-game winning streak from Dec. 28-Jan. 8.
Ottawa's aggressive approach Tuesday night allowed it to bounce back from a
5-2 loss to the New York Islanders in its last outing Monday.
"I think the first period was really the key," Hossa said. "We didn't
stop pressuring them. ... Tonight we protected the lead, so that's huge for
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson has a point in all 10 of Ottawa's games
in 2004, recording five goals and six assists during that span.
The Penguins were overmatched Tuesday night against New Jersey, losing 3-0
at Mellon Arena. Pittsburgh wasn't able to take advantage of a rare start by a
Devils goalie other than Martin Brodeur, as rookie Scott Clemmensen stopped 25
shots in his first NHL start.
The Penguins pressured Clemmensen throughout a first period in which they
outshot the Devils 12-4, but still lost their sixth straight home game.
"We probably missed the net 15 times and then refused to shoot another
dozen times," Pittsburgh coach Eddie Olczyk said. "We had our chances, but
the kid in net played well."
Jean-Sebastien Aubin made 16 saves for the Pens, whose 30 points are the
fewest in the NHL.