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Penguins vs. Senators Game Preview

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins

Home: 5-5-1-11
Road: 8-3-1-17

WHEN: Nov. 26, 2010 - 1:00 pm   |   WHERE: HSBC Arena
FSN  |  LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM
Ottawa Senators
Home: 6-5-0-12

  Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Ottawa Senators 
Jason Spezza
F  -  #19
  6 Goals
  8 Assists
  14 Points
• Has spent all eight seasons of his NHL career with the Senators, who drafted the Ontario native No. 2 overall in 2001.
• The center won a season-high 16 of 20 faceoffs on Nov. 22 and leads the team with a 57.1 percent success rate.
• Posted back-to-back seasons where he posted 34 goals in ’06-07 and ’07-08 with Ottawa.
Alex Kovalev
F  -  #27
  6 Goals
  5 Assists
  11 Points
• Played 345 games for Pittsburgh from ’98-03, recording 357 points (149G-198A) and 357 penalty minutes.
• The veteran forward, who signed with Ottawa on July 6, 2009, ranks third on the team in points with 11.
• Has recorded 1,001 points (418G-583A) and 1,260 penalty minutes in 1,250 games played over 18 NHL seasons.
Chris Phillips
D  -  #4
  0 goals
  3 assists
  3 points
• The Senators’ alternate captain has missed only one regular-season game over the past four seasons.
• Has tallied 58 career goals, with Ottawa going 41-9-6 all-time when the defenseman has scored at least one goal.
• Was drafted by Ottawa 1st overall in 1996 and has spent his entire 13-season NHL career with the Senators.
The Penguins, who are currently riding a 6-0-1 unbeaten streak, return home to the CONSOL Energy Center to face the Ottawa Senators on Friday afternoon after sweeping a brief two-game road swing.

Ottawa currently sits near the middle of the standings, ranking ninth in the Eastern Conference and third in the Northeast Division with 21 points. The Senators offense has been struggling to produce lately, finding the net just 56 times this season, the sixth-fewest total in the league, and scoring just 12 goals over their past seven contests.

Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson will be key to jumpstarting the Senators’ offense on Friday as he leads the team in road scoring, getting 11 of his team-leading 18 points in opposing teams’ arenas. He paces the team with eight goals through 22 games.

The Senators’ strength on the blue line lies primarily in the form of former Penguin Sergei Gonchar, who has been playing well for Ottawa. Gonchar leads the team with an impressive 25:13 average minutes-played and is tied for second on the team with 14 points.

Defenseman Erik Karlsson, Ottawa’s first choice (No. 15 overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, has been a healthy scratch the past two games but will likely play Friday to give the team an offensive boost. He has 11 points (4G-7A) in 20 games and is tied for 21st in scoring among NHL defensemen.
Penguins forward Tyler Kennedy has scored seven goals in 10 career games against Ottawa, getting two of his four career two-goal games against the Senators.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby carries a season-high 10-game scoring streak, which is currently the league’s longest-active, into Friday’s game. Over the stretch, he has recorded 21 points (9G-12A). Crosby ranks second in the NHL’s scoring race with 36 points (15G-21A) behind Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos, who has 38 points (21G-17A). Last season, the two players shared the “Rocket” Richard trophy as the league’s leading scorer with 51 goals apiece.

Crosby has recorded 18 points (6G-12A) in his past nine contests against the Senators, notching multiple-point games in seven of those games.

Evgeni Malkin led the Penguins with five goals in four games against Ottawa last season. This season, Malkin tallied on Oct. 18 in a 5-2 win to improve his point total to six goals in his last five games against the Senators. The forward currently ranks second in scoring for the Penguins with 21 points (7G-14 A) and leads the team with 100 shots, including six in Wednesday’s win.

Former Penguin Sergei Gonchar will face his former team for the second time this season on Friday. The defenseman signed a free-agent contract with Ottawa on July 1 after spending five seasons with Pittsburgh, where he recorded 259 points (54G-205A) and won a Stanley Cup in 2009 while serving as an alternate captain.

The Penguins penalty kill continues to shine, killing off 85-of-95 opposition power plays, good for 3rd in the NHL. Over their recent unbeaten streak, Pittsburgh has killed 47-of-49 penalties (95.9 percent), including a current stretch of 22 straight kills. In 10 of their past 12 games, the Penguins have held their opponent scoreless with the man-advantage.
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