The Penguins entered Saturday’s game against Ottawa having gone 14 straight games without a regulation loss. Pittsburgh had gone 13-0-1 in that span dating back to their last setback on Feb. 19 vs. Buffalo. Their impressive run allowed them to gain a huge chunk of ground on the division and conference-leading New York Rangers, slicing what had previously been a 10-point deficit down to just one entering Saturday’s contests.
But the Penguins’ streak would come to an end against a Senators squad fighting to stay in the postseason bubble. Ottawa came away with 8-4 triumph at Scotiabank Place, handing Pittsburgh its first loss in over a month.Matt Cooke
scored twice for the Penguins, while Sidney Crosby
scored his first goal in six games since returning from injury and added an assist. The Penguins outshot their opponent 40-28 and cut Ottawa’s lead to 5-4 over midway through the final frame, but the Senators produced three unanswered goals for the two points.
Losing is an unfamiliar feeling for this Penguins squad, and one they will be looking to bury as quickly as possible. They’ll have a chance to do that in less than 24 hours when they host New Jersey on Sunday at CONSOL Energy Center.
CROSBY SCORESSidney Crosby
had been piling up assists like candy since his return to the lineup on March 15, but had yet to score a goal entering Saturday’s game.
The Penguins captain came out flying from the drop of the puck and seemed destined to finally net one, but it eluded him most of the game.
Crosby came within inches of getting one in the first period when linemate Matt Cooke
’s shot on a 2-on-1 break looked like it needed help getting over the goal line, but it didn’t.
So Crosby tallied his 10th assist in his sixth game back when he fed Cooke minutes later with a gorgeous spin-o-rama pass.
And with just 8:14 remaining in the third period, Crosby finally put himself in the goal column when Arron Asham
fed him with a pass in the slot that he slammed past Senators goalie Craig Anderson.
Crosby now has eight multiple-point games in 14 contests this year.
TWO MORE FOR COOKEMatt Cooke
just keeps rolling.
The Penguins winger recorded his third two-goal outing in his last six games against the Senators on Saturday. He now has seven goals and two assists over that span.
After the Senators jumped to a 1-0 lead around the midway point of the first, Cooke’s first goal came a mere 40 seconds later. Cooke received a saucer pass from Deryk Engelland
and went down the ice on a 2-on-1 rush with Sidney Crosby
. Cooke looked to Crosby like he was going to pass, but instead slid a shot through goalie Ben Bishop’s pads for the goal.
Cooke has been thriving with Crosby as his center, who earned his 10th assist through six games back on Cooke’s second goal.
The play was a gorgeous one, starting when Paul Martin
hit Crosby near the blue line with a perfect stretch pass. Crosby barreled into the offensive zone before he stopped and sent a beautiful spin-o-rama pass over to Cooke, who quickly deflected it over Senators goalie Ben Bishop for the score. The goal allowed the Penguins to take a 2-1 lead into the second intermission.
“(Erik) Karlsson did a good job. He played me pretty tight,” Crosby said of the pass. “So really the only chance I had to get it through was to kind of fake like I was going to go forehand and try to get a backhand over there. ‘Cookie’ did a great job of going to the net.”
Senators goalie Ben Bishop, who started the game, left with 10:37 left to play in the second period with a lower-body injury and did not return.
Bishop contorted his body awkwardly as he bent back to make a save. The trainer came out to tend to the netminder, who slowly got up and gingerly skated off the ice after making 17 saves. Craig Anderson replaced Bishop between the pipes, allowing one goal on 20 shots.
Penguins winger Pascal Dupuis
extended his career-high point streak to nine games with his assist on Sidney Crosby
’s goal. Dupuis has piled up seven goals and four assists over that span, which is the longest active point streak in the NHL. Dupuis has now equaled his career high of 48 points, which he established in 2002-03 with Minnesota.
Author: Michelle Crechiolo