The Pittsburgh Penguins rallied for three goals in the third period Wednesday night at Mellon Arena, but fell short as the Ottawa Senators posted a 4-3 win.
The Senators grabbed a 1-0 lead through the first and built it to 4-0 heading into the third period.
“You can’t give up. We didn’t give up,” Penguins rookie Sidney Crosby said. “You just have to go out there and try to keep coming. We made it close, but in the end we didn’t get two points we wanted.”
John LeClair scored a power-play goal 6:18 into the third period to break the shutout. Ryan Malone and Ryan Whitney had the assists.
Andre Roy and Jani Rita tallied goals 1:33 apart late in the period to slice the Penguins’ deficit to 4-3.
Roy scored his first goal in a Penguin uniform when Rita’s pass trickled in front of the goal and he slammed it past Ray Emery with 6:14 to play. Colby Armstrong assisted on the goal as well.
Likewise, Rita notched his first goal with the Pens when he flipped in LeClair’s pass to make it a 4-3 with 5:41 on the clock. Armstrong added another assist on the play.
“Those guys chipping in is nice. Definitely against a tough team like Ottawa, we need everyone,” Crosby said. “Those were some big goals and we got some momentum off that. We just had trouble getting the last one.”
Penguins coach Michel Therrien was happy to see his team fight back from a 4-0 deficit against one of the NHL’s top teams.
“The first period was good for us and obviously the third. The second period, they took the momentum away from us. They were solid, but in the meantime, we were not sharp,” he said. “At 4-2, I thought the emotion was back. They didn’t quit and that’s a good thing. Hopefully, they will bring that third period to the next game. When we play hard like we did in the third period, who knows what’s going to happen. The purpose is to work and make sure we play with desperation for 60 minutes.”
Peter Schaefer got the Senators on the scoreboard 6:36 into the game. He one-timed a rebound past a diving Marc-Andre Fleury for a 1-0 lead.
Crosby nearly tied the game with 3:30 on the clock, but his shot clanged off the far post.
Daniel Alfredsson scored a power-play goal 5:05 into the second period for a 2-0 Senators lead.
Brian Pothier blasted a slap-shot past Fleury with 5:48 left on the clock for a 3-0 Ottawa advantage.
Dany Heatley tallied 2:26 later for a 4-0 edge.
ICE CHIPS: Cory Cross, Shane Endicott and Eric Cairns were the Penguins’ scratches…The announced attendance was 14,026.