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Penguins vs. Senators Game Preview

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins

Overall:
13-8-2-28
Home: 5-5-1-10
Road: 8-3-1-17

WHEN: Nov. 26, 2010 - 1:00 pm   |   WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
WATCH:
FSN  |  LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM
Ottawa Senators
Overall:
10-11-1-21
Home: 6-5-0-12
Road:
4-6-1-9

  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). 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.

 

      
Score First: The Senators have scored just 12 goals in seven games, have totaled 20 or less shots over their past three contests, and have a 2-10-1 record when their opponent scores first. If Pittsburgh can play like they did in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Buffalo, where they played stingy defense after tallying first, they’ll contain the Senators offense.

Play Physical:
The Penguins have thrown an impressive 624 hits, the second-most in the league behind the New York Rangers (678), and have seamlessly weaved hard checking and energetic play with scoring power. Players like Matt Cooke (71), Brooks Orpik (63) and Chris Kunitz (62), who all rank in the top-15, need to keep the Senators looking over their shoulders.
C Jordan Staal, broken right hand (up to three weeks)
None
 
 
 
 
G
Crosby (15)
Alfredsson (18)
A
Crosby (21) Alfredsson (8)
PTS
Crosby (36) Alfredsson/Gonchar (10)
PIM
Engelland (44) Neil (68)
+/-
Letang (+10) Carkner (+4)
PP
Crosby (6) Alfredsson (5)
SH
Cooke (2)
Michalek (1)
W/L
Johnson (6-2-1) Elliott (9-7-1)
GAA
Johnson (2.11) Elliott (3.14)
SVP
Johnson (.927) Elliott (.905)

Marc-Andre Fleury - Pittsburgh’s goaltender has been the foundation of the team’s recent 6-0-1 unbeaten streak. During the stretch, Fleury has posted a 1.82 goals-against average and stopped 184-of-197 shots for a .934 save percentage. He made 30 saves to notch his first shutout of the season and the 17th of his career in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Buffalo.
 
Daniel Alfredsson - The Senators captain, who leads the team in both goals (8) and points (18), has been solid, with four points (2G-2A) over his last six games. He is tied for fifth in the league with five power-play goals. He became the first player in franchise history to reach 1,000 points, scoring a hat trick on Oct. 22. Alfredsson has enjoyed success against Pittsburgh over his career, totaling 54 points (19G-35A) in 56 games played against the Penguins.
 
 
 
 


Aftermath: Penguins 1, Sabres 0
Pittsburgh Magazine features Sidney Crosby on Cover of December Edition
Penguins Crosby Tops All Vote-Getters In First Week Of All-Star Fan Balloting 
Sidney Crosby, Duncan Keith Top All Vote-Getters In NHL All-Star Fan Balloting, Presented By XM
 

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Author: Michelle Crechiolo

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