The Penguins welcomed back former defenseman Sergei Gonchar to Pittsburgh by putting together their most dominating performance of the young season. The Penguins’ offense exploded for five goals, chasing Senators goaltender Brian Elliott from the net, and cruising to a 5-2 victory.
The Penguins got the show rolling with a couple power-play goals in the first period to jump out to a 2-0 lead. Mark Letestu continued his hot scoring pace with his fourth of the season, and Sidney Crosby notched his fourth tally with assistance from the backboards.
Gonchar did record an assist on Daniel Alfredsson’s man-advantage goal early in the second period to cut the Penguins’ lead to 3-1. However, Pittsburgh responded with two goals within 25 seconds to put the game out of reach.
Rookie Mark Letestu had another silly good performance for the Penguins. The first-year center jumpstarted the Penguins’ 5-2 victory with the game’s opening goal at 8:39 on the power play with a wicked wrist shot.
Letestu got some ice time with Evgeni Malkin and Mike Comrie, and played a huge role in the Penguins’ third goal of the night. He started by winning a faceoff in the offensive zone, won a puck battle for possession and then drove to the net. Letestu’s traffic helped free Evgeni Malkin to score the goal.
Letestu finished the game with one goal, two points, a plus-1 rating, two shots and 15:43 minutes of ice time. He has a three-game point streak (2G-3A), and has points in five of the Penguins’ seven games this season.
The Penguins’ victory over Ottawa was never in doubt. Pittsburgh started hot out the gate, and it was a power-play goal 8:39 into the first period that launched the Penguins to their route.
Mike Comrie had the puck by the goal line and made a beautiful pass through a couple skates right onto the tape of Mark Letestu in the high slot. Letestu ripped a shot high over the glove of Senators goalie Brian Elliott.
Pittsburgh used that first goal’s momentum as a springboard to victory.
(AP) - Sidney Crosby and Mark Letestu scored power-play goals in the first period and the Penguins won their third in a row, ruining defenseman Sergei Gonchar's return to Pittsburgh by beating the slow-starting Ottawa Senators 5-2 on Monday night.
Evgeni Malkin also scored as the Penguins won their fourth in five games since losing three of their first four games. All three of those losses were in the new Consol Energy Center, where the Penguins have since won their past two.
• The Penguins have won three straight games, and four of their last five contests; Sidney Crosby has a four-game scoring streak (4G-3A); Evgeni Malkin has a four-game scoring streak (1G-4A); and Paul Martin has a three-game assist streak (3A).
• Brent Johnson put together another ridiculous performance with 32 saves to improve to a perfect 4-0 on the season. Johnson, who has started in net for Pittsburgh the last three games and four of the last five games, has an eye-popping 1.49 goals-against average and .950 save percentage. Johnson’s 4-0 record is his best start to a season since 2000-01 when he opened the year with seven wins.
• Alex Goligoski picked up an assist against Ottawa, extending his scoring streak to seven games. Goligoski’s current streak ties his career high (Oct. 14-30, 2009). He has a point in each of the first seven games of the season for a total of seven points (3G-4A). Goligoski also logged a team-high 24:00 minutes and three blocked shots.
• Deryk Engelland continued to make a name for himself in the NHL as a tough, fearless brawler. Engelland, who previously KO’d heavyweight Colton Orr, went toe-to-toe against Ottawa’s Chris Neil. Neither man landed a clear victory, but Engelland showed again his willingness to take on any adversary.
• According to the Post-Gazette’s Seth Rorabaugh, with an assist Monday night Sergei Gonchar has a seven-game scoring streak against the Penguins (dating to his days in Washington before he signed with Pittsburgh). The Penguins obviously have no way of stopping this guy (other than signing him to a long-term contract). Joke credit to Seth.