Monday, April 14, 2014
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Senators Beat Penguins For Fifth Straight Win

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[April 14, 2014]  PITTSBURGH  The Ottawa Senators won't be participating in the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2011 but at least they could go into the offseason on a high note.

Centers Kyle Turris and Jason Spezza scored during the shootout as the Senators closed their season with a 3-2 victory over the playoff-bound Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday night. Ottawa won its fifth straight game, a season high.

Turris and Spezza both beat Penguins backup goaltender Jeff Zatkoff.

"It's obviously a nice way for us to finish," said Spezza, the Senators' captain. "We wanted to play for each other. We talked about it a lot down the stretch how it would be easy to let up and I thought it showed good character of the group by finishing hard and winning the games."

Turris also scored his team-leading 26th goal in regulation to snap a seven-game goal drought and right winger Mark Stone had his fourth goal for the Senators. Both goals came on the power play.

The Penguins rested a number of regulars in advance of the postseason, including centers Sidney Crosby and Brandon Sutter, defensemen Matt Niskanen, Deryk Engelland and Robert Bortuzzo and goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Crosby won the second scoring title of his nine-year career as he finished with 104 points. He had 36 goals and 68 assists.

The Penguins (51-24-7) open the playoffs Wednesday night by hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets. It will be Pittsburgh's eighth consecutive postseason appearance.

The Penguins swept all five games from the Blue Jackets in the regular season.

"It gives us good confidence against them," Penguins left winger James Neal said. "We know we can beat them. We played them hard all year. Going into the postseason, it's a different animal, though, and we're going to be ready for them when they come in on Wednesday."

Seeded second in the Eastern Conference behind the Boston Bruins, the Penguins are confident they can make a long playoff run.

"I think as a team we've gone through quite a bit in terms of different lineups, different injury situations, finding different ways to win," coach Dan Bylsma said. "I think we improved on our mentality in playing defense and how we play defense. I think we've done a better job of being able to shut teams down and limit opportunities.

"Now you have to do that in the playoffs. It's all about winning games and going on in the playoffs and we have that opportunity right now."

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The Senators (37-31-14) got a strong start from backup goaltender Robin Lehner, who made 26 saves and stopped both Penguins attempts in the shootout. He started in place of goalie Craig Anderson, who had a shutout Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Left winger Jussi Jokinen scored his 21st goal for the Penguins on a power play and right winger Lee Stempniak added his 12th. Jokinen extended his point streak to five games and scored his first career goal against the Senators in 23 games.

Zatkoff stopped 31 shots while suffering his third loss in a row.

NOTES: The Penguins recalled F Chuck Kobasew from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, where he scored 10 goals and had 11 assists in just 11 games. ... C Evgeni Malkin (foot), F Joe Vitale (mid body) and F Chris Conner (foot) all took part in the Penguins' optional skate Sunday morning, but coach Dan Bylsma said it was too early to know their availability for Wednesday's Game 1 against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. ... C Sidney Crosby was voted the Penguins' MVP by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association of America. ... The Senators had a winning record for the 16th time in the last 17 seasons. ... Penguins D Paul Martin blocked four shots and center Jayson Megna was credited with five hits. ... Penguins LW Tanner Glass and Senators RW Chris Neil received five-minute majors for fighting in the first period.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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