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Senators-Penguins Preview @NHLdotcom
Senators-Penguins Preview

GAME: Ottawa Senators (34-12-4) at Pittsburgh Penguins (12-31-10).

TIME: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

The Ottawa Senators hope to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season as they continue their road trip against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Senators kicked off a three-game road trip with a 5-3 defeat Wednesday to the New Jersey Devils. Ottawa has given up 10 goals in its last two games, a stark contrast to a defense that had allowed a league-low 112 goals prior to the two losses.

"We had some segments of the game where we played really well and then we let up for a shift or two," said Senators right wing Dany Heatley, who had a second-period goal. "Ten goals in two games, we're not playing the way we can defensively."

Senators rookie Patrick Eaves had a goal and an assist and has seven points in his last seven games.

Ottawa went 0-for-4 on the power play and has failed to convert in eight opportunities over its last two games. In the Senators' 16 total losses, they are 8-for-95 (8.4 percent) with the man advantage, well below their season conversion rate of 20.8 percent.

Pittsburgh lost its third straight game Wednesday, 3-1 to the New York Rangers. Mark Recchi scored the lone goal for the Penguins, who are 1-12-1 in their last 14 games overall and 1-6 in their last seven home games.

"It's just frustrating to lose, that's pretty much it," said Penguins rookie center Sidney Crosby, who made an ill-advised pass that resulted in a short-handed goal by Rangers center Steve Rucchin in the first period.

"I thought we played better but I don't think our standard should be compared to the last game we played here," Crosby said. "We played better than that but it's not good."

Crosby, who played despite suffering from flu-like symptoms, had a four-game points streak end in the loss. The 18-year-old center has 14 goals and 33 points in 26 home games.

The teams play again Monday at Ottawa.

STANDINGS: Senators - 72 points, 1st place, Northeast Division. Penguins - 34 points, 5th place, 36 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Senators - Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson, 32 goals; Alfredsson 70 points; Jason Spezza, 41 assists; Chris Neil, 125 PIM. Penguins - Sidney Crosby, 25 goals, 35 assists, 60 points and 78 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Senators - Power play: 20.6 percent (64 for 311), 4th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.8 percent (267 for 315), 5th. Penguins - Power play: 17.9 percent (58 for 324), 14th. Penalty killing: 78.6 percent (279 for 355), 30th.

GOALTENDERS: Senators - Dominik Hasek (26-8-3, 5 SO, 2.05 GAA); Ray Emery (8-4-1, 1, 3.23). Penguins - Marc-Andre Fleury (6-18-3, 0, 3.23); Sebastien Caron (5-3-4, 0, 4.06).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Senators, 2-1-1.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 22, 2004; Senators, 6-3. At Pittsburgh, Martin Havlat scored two third-period goals to complete a hat trick for the Senators.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Senators - 14-7-3 on the road; Penguins - 7-14-5 at home.

Associated Press

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