While the Penguins have gone 7-3-1 in their last 11 games, the
losses have been against the Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers,
Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes, who were a combined 90-100-2 going
into Monday's action.
The Penguins played with playoff-like intensity Monday night,
though, as winger James Neal scored 1:55 into overtime to lift
Pittsburgh to a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators.
"We need to be more comfortable in a one-goal game and that's where
we were all night long," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "We played
with intensity through the first two periods, carried it right
through the third and then went the extra minute to win. That's the
way we need to be — focused."
Neal knocked in a rebound of a shot by defenseman Robert Bortuzzo
over sprawled Senators goaltender Craig Anderson. The goal was
Neal's 18th of the season, and it improved the Penguins' record to
Neal had not scored in the previous eight games.
"I was just trying to get the puck on the net and hit the net more,"
Neal said. "When you don't score you sometimes try to pick corners
and be a little too cute with it. It's something maybe I've done in
the past few games, but I was able to find one tonight. It was a
The Penguins improved to 7-2 in overtime, while the Senators
(24-21-11) dropped to 5-11.
"I thought we had a lot of guys play real well," Senators coach Paul
MacLean said. "We did a lot of good stuff out there. The competition
level was good until you get to overtime against (Pittsburgh), then
things can go wrong in a hurry and they did."
Anderson and Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury were both strong
in net. Anderson made 46 saves, and Fleury stopped 24 shots.
Fleury executed the most difficult save when he gloved Senators
defenseman Erik Karlsson's shot from point-blank rage midway through
the third period to preserve a 1-1 tie.
"It was an amazing save," Bylsma said. "Not only his ability to get
across (the crease) to get to an open cage, but he had to go up
there and get the puck with glove."
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Karlsson could only shake his head.
"I can't really do anything else but tip my hat and say 'good job,'"
he said. "I thought it was a clear shot and an open net.
Unfortunately, I'm going to be on the highlights for quite a time
with that one."
The Penguins finished with 24 or fewer shots in three of their four
previous games. They doubled that total in winning for the 16th time
in their last 17 games at Consol Energy Center and raising their
home record to 23-4.
Senators center Stephane Da Costa opened the scoring at 14:05 of the
first period when he made a twirling move through the Penguins
defense toward the net and beat Fleury high to the short side with a
wrist shot. It was Da Costa's third goal.
Two minutes and 18 seconds later, Penguins center Brian Gibbons tied
it with his third goal. He deflected defenseman Olli Maatta's slap
shot, and the puck knuckled under Anderson's pads.
The Penguins outshot the Senators in every period — 13-8 in the
first, 16-8 in the second, 15-9 in the third and 4-0 in overtime.
The Senators have been outshot by an average margin of 7.4 shots in
their last eight games.
NOTES: Penguins LW Tyler Pyatt suffered a lower-body injury in the
game's first minute and did not return. ... Penguins D Kris Letang
missed his third straight game because of illness and underwent
tests Monday afternoon in an attempt to pinpoint the problem. ...
Penguins rookie D Olli Maatta was in the lineup two days after being
hit in the face with a puck and leaving Pittsburgh's previous game
on Saturday, a loss at Phoenix. ... Penguins C Sidney Crosby, who
leads the NHL in scoring with 75 points, failed to score a goal in
his fifth straight game, his longest drought since going seven games
without one from Oct. 26-Nov. 9. The Penguins won for just the third
time in 13 games this season in which Crosby did not record a point.
... Senators D Chris Phillips (lower body) missed his fourth
straight game and will also sit out Tuesday night's game at St.
Louis against the Blues. However, there is a chance he could return
Thursday when Ottawa hosts the Buffalo Sabres.
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