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by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Ottawa Senators scored seven-straight goals Thursday night to post a 7-2 win over the Penguins at Mellon Arena.

The Senators scored three short-handed goals against the Penguins, who played without rookie Sidney Crosby, who was ill with the flu.

“Right now, special teams are not doing the job at all – not at all,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. “And, this is costing us goals. It’s not a matter of if we’re playing bad. It’s the special teams that didn’t do the job. If the special teams would end up doing the job, we’d be in good shape.”

Only one of Ottawa’s seven goals came at even strength. The Senators tallied three power-play goals as well.

“Special teams are costing us games right now. We could write in the script, but it’s become the actors have to act,” Therrien said. “It’s pretty simple.”

Michel Ouellet wristed a shot past Dominik Hasek with 6:04 remaining in the first period for a 1-0 Penguins lead. Positioned in the slot, Ouellet ripped a shot over Hasek’s glove. Tomas Surovy and Sergei Gonchar earned assists.

Ryan Malone boosted the Penguins’ lead to 2-0 when he one-timed a shot past Hasek for a power-play goal 5:33 into the second period. Near the far face-off dot, Malone rifled the puck past Hasek on the short side. Mark Recchi and Gonchar assisted on the goal.

Antoine Vermette scored a short-handed goal with 7:26 when he converted on a 3-on-1 break. He slipped the puck past Sebastien Caron.

The Senators scored another short-handed goal 1:07 later when Mike Fisher wristed one past Caron.

“It took the game away. We had the game under control and we made some bad decisions and it cost us the game. We lost our momentum. Even-strength, we were pretty good against a good team,” Therrien said. “Was it a surprise those guys are able to score while penalty killing? No. We showed the guys this morning. We knew how to react, but we didn’t do it.

“We’re a fragile team, so any mental breakdown, it makes the guys think, ‘Here we go again.’ I wish that we had a different attitude,” he continued. “We’re going to fight through this, but it doesn’t seem that we have that attitude right now. I am disappointed about their attitude, there’s no doubt about that.”

Zdeno Chara gave Ottawa a 3-2 lead with 2:16 when he banged in a rebound for a power-play goal.

Anton Volchenkov flipped in a rebound 28 seconds into the third for a 4-2 lead.

Ottawa went up 5-2 at 6:25 when Daniel Alfredsson’s rebound deflected off Caron and slid into the net.

Dany Heatley scored on a two-man advantage with 9:13 remaining to make it 6-2.

Alfredsson added a short-handed goal with 4:54 left in the game to cap the scoring. It was Ottawa’s NHL-best 17th shorty this year.

The Penguins return to action Saturday when they welcome the New York Islanders to Mellon Arena at 2 p.m.

ICE CHIPS: Ric Jackman and Sidney Crosby were the Penguins’ healthy scratches…The announced attendance was 14,714.

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