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Sens hope to bounce back in Pittsburgh

by Brian Compton
SENATORS (1-3-1) at PENGUINS (3-3-0)

TV:  SportsNet-Ottawa; Fox Sports-Pittsburgh.

Season Series: This is the first of four meetings between the teams. They split the four meetings in 2009-10.

Big Story: Monday's matchup features two teams still trying to find their way. Granted, the Penguins are tied for first place with the New York Islanders in the Atlantic Division, but they're just 1-3-0 at the Consol Energy Center. Meanwhile, Ottawa has just one victory in five tries and has been outscored 16-10.

Team Scope:

Senators: Ottawa enters this match trying to avoid a three-game losing streak. The Sens have lost a pair of one-goal games, most recently dropping a 4-3 decision at Montreal on Saturday night.

"It's just the small things right now," defenseman Erik Karlsson said after the loss. "I think we battled hard and we played good, it's just that we've got to close the game off a little more there when we have a two-goal lead and play a little bit smarter. Overall, I think we're on the right track here."

Penguins: Pittsburgh built off its first home win Friday night against the Islanders, as the Pens went to Philadelphia and pummeled the Flyers in a 5-1 win at the Wells Fargo Center. Sidney Crosby had a pair of power-play goals and also added an assist.

"Coming into Philly -- with this rivalry and in this building -- and getting a win is always a good thing," coach Dan Bylsma said. "To have to come in here and get a big win after playing (Friday) night … I thought our guys battled hard and it was good to get the two points."

Who's Hot: Sens forward Milan Michalek scored twice on Saturday and has three goals in five games, while Jason Spezza is 1-3-4 in four contests. … Crosby is tied for the team lead in goals (3) and points (6).

Injury Report: For the Senators, goalie Pascal Leclaire (groin) is out indefinitely. Filip Kuba is expected to return next month from a broken leg. … Pens center Jordan Staal (foot) is out indefinitely, as is right wing Arron Asham (shoulder) and defenseman Zbynek Michalek (shoulder). Brooks Orpik (groin) is day-to-day.

Stat Pack: Sens forward Alex Kovalev is still in search of his first point. In his last 22 games dating back to last season, the Russian has just one goal and one assist and is minus-17. … Crosby's two power-play goals on Saturday marked the fourth consecutive contest the Penguins have tallied on the man advantage.

Puck Drop: "For whatever reason, we just stopped pressuring their defense. We started cheating on our breakouts. We refused to just get pucks in deep and forecheck. We just gave them too much momentum. Basically, the ice became slanted in one direction." -- Ottawa coach Cory Clouston after Saturday's loss at Montreal
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