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Aftermath: Penguins 4, Senators 1

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins
 

  
  
LINKS
QUICK ANALYSIS
 
Sidney Crosby’s line with Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin had the most jump that unit has had all season during the first period. Kunitz got things started early when he drew an interference penalty against Anton Volchenkov nine seconds into the game. Later, just 39 seconds after Milan Michalek had given Ottawa the lead, Guerin put his own rebound off the back boards behind Pascal Leclaire to draw the Penguins even, 1-1. Those three players combined for four of the Penguins’ nine first period shots.

A big reason the Penguins were able to take the game over during the course of the second period was solid play between the pipes yet again from goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. Winning his fifth-consecutive decision to start the season, Fleury was again efficient, making most of his 30 saves appear ordinary by being aggressive with his positioning, taking away shooting angles and consistently catching pucks in the Penguins’ logo on his chest. Fleury’s best save was a diving stop with his glove hand on former teammate Jarkko Ruutu at the 14:05 mark of the second period.   

It was again an 18-man effort for the Penguins as head coach Dan Bylsma continues to roll four lines with excellent success. Craig Adams recorded two assists and Mike Rupp one, while big Eric Godard nearly put the Penguins ahead late in the first period a little more than a minute after Guerin had tied it. Using the entire team has made the Penguins look fresh in the final period each of the past three games, while Ottawa appeared tired in the final frame on this night.
 
WHAT HAPPENED
 
OTTAWA (AP) - Tyler Kennedy scored twice and Marc-Andre Fleury made 30 saves, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators on Monday night.

Bill Guerin and Jordan Staal also scored for the Penguins, who won their third in a row to remain undefeated on the road despite Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin being held off the scoresheet.
 
SHOT OF THE NIGHT


Sidney Crosby, fourth in the NHL in faceoff percentage, stands in against the Senators Jason Spezza during the Penguins' 4-1 victory Monday night.
(photo by Getty)
ESSENTIALS
 
What Worked Well: Capitalizing on Bounces
Teams will be both victimized and aided by bounces throughout the course of an 82-game schedule. How a team reacts to such instances is usually indicative of the type of makeup they possess. The Penguins took advantage on this night. Twice Ottawa hit goal posts, once by Shean Donovan in the second period, and another by Milan Michalek off a faceoff in the third. Pittsburgh took advantage of two bounces in their favor, an initial shot by Bill Guerin bouncing off the end boards back onto his own stick for a goal, and Tyler Kennedy banking a shot into the goal off a Senators defenseman right in front of the Ottawa net.

What Could Have Gone Better: Turnovers
Pittsburgh was credited with four turnovers in this game, with one of those ending up behind Fleury with about six minutes left in the first period. Jason Spezza stole the puck from Evgeni Malkin and started a sequence resulting in Milan Michalek scoring Ottawa’s only goal of the night. Two great saves by Fleury at the 18:19 and 10:37 marks of the third period following turnovers, kept the Penguins from allowing more goals off their own turnovers.
 
DIFFERENCE MAKER
 
Tyler Kennedy was shooting from all places and angles Monday night, and such a strategy paid off for the gritty winger when two of his chances went behind Pascal Leclaire for his second career two-goal game. Kennedy’s goal 6:16 into the second period gave the Penguins a lead they would not relinquish.

Later in that same period, Kennedy took the sails out of the Senators ship and gave the Penguins insurance when his slap shot from just inside the Senators’ blue line got past Leclaire for his second goal of the night. Kennedy, who led Pittsburgh with six shots, had two good chances in the middle of the third period to notch his first career hat trick, but was denied on each by Leclaire.
 
SCORING SYNOPSIS
 
Pittsburgh gave up the first goal on the road for the first time this season when Ottawa’s Milan Michalek deposited the puck behind a sprawled-out Marc-Andre Fleury at the 15:59 mark of the first period. Evgeni Malkin turned the puck over just inside his own blue line, and it came back to haunt him when Jason Spezza overtook him for the puck and fed Jonathan Cheechoo skating down the left side. Cheechoo held the puck until Sergei Gonchar made a play towards him, at which point Cheechoo slid a pass to Michalek for the goal. Ottawa 1, Pittsburgh 0.

The Penguins answered Ottawa’s score with one of their own 39 seconds later as Bill Guerin put his own rebound behind Pascal Leclaire. Guerin was sprung on a two-on-one with Sidney Crosby on a pass from Chris Kunitz, and he elected to shoot the puck, but he missed wide to the left of Leclaire. Guerin’s original shot caromed off the back boards behind the net right back to Guerin, who then shot the puck over the outstretched pad of the Ottawa netminder. Pittsburgh 1, Ottawa 1.

Tyler Kennedy gave the Penguins their first lead of the night when he banked a shot off the skate of Senators rookie defenseman Erik Karlsson 6:16 into the second period. Craig Adams began the play by skating out from behind the Ottawa net and feeding Jay McKee at the left point. McKee’s shot hit traffic in front of the net, but Kennedy was there to clean up the garbage. Pittsburgh 2, Ottawa 1.

Kennedy added his second score of the night when his slap shot from just inside the Senators’ blue line found its way through an opening between the right arm and the pad of Leclaire. The Penguins quickly regrouped the puck following an Ottawa turnover, as Adams moved the puck ahead to Matt Cooke, who quickly passed to Kennedy streaking ahead of the play. Pittsburgh 3, Ottawa 1.

A failed breakout attempt by the Senators gave the Penguins their final goal of the evening 9:54 into the third period. Chris Campoli had the puck in the far corner behind his own net, but his pass to the high slot bounced over the stick of Spezza and landed right to Mike Rupp. His shot was stopped by the right pad of Leclaire, but Staal was there to slam home the loose change. Pittsburgh 4, Ottawa 1.
 
INTRIGUING NOTABLES
 
Sidney Crosby continues to log significant minutes while the Penguins are shorthanded early in the season. Crosby has earned the added ice time by virtue of his dramatic rise on faceoffs, where he ranked fourth in the league entering the night, as controlling the draw is huge for a penalty kill when trying to earn possession of the puck and clear the zone. Crosby almost picked up his first shorthanded goal of the season when Pascal Dupuis found him behind the Senators’ defense midway through the third period, but he was denied by the glove hand of Pascal Leclaire.

A couple of the Penguins’ offseason additions picked up their first points in a Penguin uniform in the victory. Defenseman Jay McKee picked up an assist on Tyler Kennedy’s first goal, as it was his shot to the net that resulted in the loose puck Kennedy cashed in on. Mike Rupp also picked up an assist in the third period when he intercepted an errant Senators’ pass and saw Jordan Staal put the rebound of his shot past Leclaire.

For those who question the importance of faceoffs in a National Hockey League game, a look inside tonight’s statistics shows how crucial they can be. Pittsburgh won 20 of the 34 faceoffs at even strength (59%) while controlling the action five-on-five, scoring four times compared to once for Ottawa. The Senators won seven of the nine faceoffs when they possessed the man advantage, allowing Ottawa to throw seven shots on Fleury during their power plays. Ottawa won three of the five faceoffs when Pittsburgh was on the power play, holding the Penguins to only three power-play shots, and often icing the puck and making Pittsburgh go 180 feet to retrieve the puck. 
 
GAME NOTES
 
> Scoring Summary:
OTT, M. Michalek (1), 15:59 1st period: Senators 1, Penguins 0
PIT, B. Guerin (2), 16:38 1st period: Penguins 1, Senators 1
PIT, T. Kennedy (3), 6:16 2nd period: Penguins 2, Senators 1
PIT, T. Kennedy (4), 18:02 2nd period: Penguins 3, Senators 1
PIT, J. Staal (3), 9:54 3rd period: Penguins 4, Senators 1

> Pittsburgh improved to 4-0 on the road for the third time in team history with the victory. The Penguins previously won their first four road games in the 2006-07 and 1994-95 seasons. That ’94-95 team went 5-0-1 their first six road games. A win on Wednesday at Carolina would establish a new team record for consecutive road wins at the beginning of a season.

> The Penguins are 5-0 against the Eastern Conference, the first time they have won their first five inter-conference games since winning their first seven games against the Eastern Conference in 1994-95, when teams played games against only opponents from their conference following a 34-game lockout to begin the season.

> The Penguins have now killed off eight consecutive opposition power plays dating back to the second period of their 5-4 victory over Philadelphia last Thursday night.

> Dan Bylsma improved his regular-season record to 23-4-4 (.806) with the victory over Ottawa.

> Tyler Kennedy’s two-goal effort was the second of his career, with his only other such performance occurring on opening night against the Senators last season when Kennedy scored twice, including the game winner in overtime, as the Penguins defeated the Senators, 4-3, in Stockholm, Sweden.

> Kennedy’s goal was his third game-winning tally of the season, most in the NHL thus far, and the 10th regular-season game winner of his career. Kennedy now has seven career regular-season goals against the Senators, his highest total against any one team.

> Jordan Staal (9-6; 60%) won more faceoffs than he lost for the second time this season. Staal’s only other such effort came when he went 12-1 (92%) against the Phoenix Coyotes on October 7th.

> Jay McKee, who entered the game leading the league with 17 blocked shots, blocked three more on this night, tying Craig Adams for the team lead.

> Tyler Kennedy (3G-1A), Jordan Staal (3G), Matt Cooke (1G-2A), Chris Kunitz (3A) and Bill Guerin (2G-1A) each have three-game scoring streaks on the road trip.

> Craig Adams’ two assists marked his first multi-point performance during the regular season since joining the Penguins off waivers on March 4. Adams did have a goal and an assist in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Carolina.
 
THREE STARS QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
   
1. M. Fleury
2. T. Kennedy
3. M. Michalek
“I’m just trying to help out. Everyone has to pull the rope and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

- Tyler Kennedy after scoring twice in the Penguins’ 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators.
 

 



Author: Jason Seidling

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