The Penguins entered the matchup with the Senators as theNHL's hottest team, having won seven in a row and 12 of their last 13. However, Ottawa stopped the Pens' streak with a 5-0 victory at Canadian Tire Centre Monday night.
Though the winning streak has ended, Pittsburgh still enters the Holiday Break having won 12 of its last 14 contests and seven of the past eight.
"Coach said we've been playing a lot of hockey lately and tonight just didn't go our way," Brandon Sutter said. "I don't think it was a five-goal hockey game. We had lots of chances to score. If we got one or two in the second (period) it would have been a different game."
The Penguins didn't play a crisp brand of hockey. They were in the wrong spots, missing on their passes and looked like they weren't on the same page at times. That isn't surprising considering all the moving parts to the lineup lately.
Despite the wrath of injuries, the Penguins had been inexplicably able to maintain a high level of play. But at some point missing 11 players was bound to catch up with them. Even the best teams in the league have off nights. Pittsburgh was due for it to happen. Tonight was that night.
"We just have to forget about this one, have a good break and come back ready," Sutter said.
The Senators had goals from Zach Smith, Bobby Ryan, Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris and Cory Conacher.
So far this season the Penguins have suffered 210 man-games lost to injury and 10 lost to suspension. Pittsburgh entered the contest with Ottawa with 10 players on the injury list.
Unfortunately, the list grew by one with a prominent name.
Winger Pascal Dupuis suffered a lower-body injury in the first period and did not return. He's going back to Pittsburgh to be re-evaluated.
"I'm just hoping it's not a severe injury," head coach Dan Bylsma said.
Captain Sidney Crosby was carrying the puck into the Ottawa zone when he was checked hard by Marc Methot. Crosby fell from the hit with his full force colliding into linemate Dupuis.
Both players left the ice, although Crosby eventually returned.
"It was a hip check, I haven't seen the replay so I don't know how low it was," Crosby said. "He almost blew my knew out so it was pretty low. I just know it was awfully close."
Head athletic trainer Chris Stewart helped Dupuis off the ice and to the locker room, but Dupuis couldn't walk without assistance.
With Dupuis out of the game, the Penguins used Joe Vitale and James Neal at various times in his spot alongside Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby.
The Penguins have the NHL¹s No. 1 ranked power play with a 26.2-percent success rate entering the game against Ottawa. But unfortunately, despites getting seven chances, Pittsburgh could not convert.
Pittsburgh had four power-play opportunities in the second period alone, but couldn¹t connect. That was the turning point in the game.
"Our power play hurt us," Crosby said. "We had some good chances in the second, 2-0 game. It didn't feel like they were getting much there in the second period. We didn't capitalize on those power plays that we had."
Author: Sam Kasan