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Senators and Penguins look to bounce back

by Mike Battaglino /

PENGUINS (2-2-0) at SENATORS (3-1-0)


Season series: This is the first of three meetings. Last season, Ottawa won the final three of four matchups by combined score of 19-9. Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza each had eight points over the four games.

Big story: The Penguins and Senators each blew a two-goal lead Friday (Ottawa did it twice) in road losses using a backup goalie. Pittsburgh led the Winnipeg Jets 2-0 in the first period before losing 4-2. Ottawa held 3-1 and 4-2 leads in the second period before losing 6-4 at Tampa Bay.

"You see one team play another and you think, 'They're going to beat them' and then they lose 7-4 or whatever. It's really unpredictable and you just have to be ready and prepared to battle every night," Alfredsson told the Ottawa Citizen on Friday. "I think we have a pretty good idea how Pittsburgh is going to play and we have to adjust."

Team Scope:

Penguins: Coach Dan Bylsma and his players lamented the turnovers they made against the Jets that let the game get away after Sidney Crosby scored twice in the first 14:58.

"It's obviously disappointing when you had a two-goal lead, no matter who you‘re playing, but especially in a building like this that can get pretty hostile," defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "The way we started out, the way Sid got those goals and took their fans out of it, that's a frustrating way to finish."

The team's website reported a standing-room crowd attended practice Saturday at Bell Sensplex in Ottawa.

"It's unique to go on the road and have a crowd like that watching practice," defenseman Kris Letang said. "It's fun. [It] gave guys jump even on a long travel day."

After opening the season with road wins over the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers, Pittsburgh has lost two in a row, including its home opener, 5-2, to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

Tomas Vokoun started Friday because Bylsma did not want to play him due to his poor history against Ottawa. Marc-Andre Fleury will start.

Ben Lovejoy made his season debut, replacing Simon Despres, and Bylsma moved Tyler Kennedy to left wing on a line with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal.

Senators: Goalie Craig Anderson had Ottawa off to a 3-0-0 start, allowing two goals for a .976 save percentage and 0.67 goals-against average.

Backup Ben Bishop started Saturday and gave up three goals to the Lightning before the end of the second period. Tampa Bay added two against him in the third before the Lightning hit the empty net I the final minute.

Asked about Bishop, coach Paul MacLean said, "I didn't particularly like anybody today. I don't think there's any individuals that were better or worse than others."

This is the third game in four days for the Senators, who have home games Tuesday and Wednesday against the Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens.

"With the way the schedule is, you drop this one, you get ready for the next one and get ready to play again," MacLean said Friday. "It's more like a playoff thing than a regular season, and you have to have a short memory."

Who's hot: Pittsburgh forward Chris Kunitz has 15 hits, three points and is a plus-1. … Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson has three goals, five points and is a plus-6. … Forward Kyle Turris has four goals in four games. … Anderson led the League in wins, GAA and save percentage heading into Saturday. …

Injury report: The Penguins report no injuries. … Senators forward Guillaume Latendresse missed Friday's game with an undisclosed injury. Defenseman Jared Cowen (hip surgery) is expected to miss the season. Defenseman Mike Lundin is sidelined after finger surgery.

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