Post-game report: OT turnover, Fleury’s game changer

Here’s Jason Spezza’s explanation of how he got stripped of the puck for the winning goal by James Neal.

Here’s Jason Spezza’s explanation of how he got stripped of the puck for the winning goal by James Neal. “Greener,” of course, is Colin Greening, who appeared to leave the ice early because he thought the puck was going to get out, via Spezza.

“The puck was just on the wall, there and Neal lifted my stick,” Spezza said. “Greener, I think, went for a line change, didn’t realize they had the puck. So , just a bit of a miscue. It happens. I think he’d been out there for a while. Andy makes a good first save but the puck squirts right to them.”

Not much ownership on the play by the captain.

Interestingly, Spezza played fewer than four minutes in the second period as he seemed to get benched, although his overall ice time was 19:13 in a 62-minute hockey game. Head coach Paul MacLean, when I asked him about Spezza missing time said there were “some penalties” but the Senators only had one minor in the second period.

Bobby Ryan played just four minutes in the first period, when the Senators took two minor penalties.

Neither Ryan nor Spezza was credited with a shot on goal, although Spezza clearly had at least one, in the third period.

“We played a pretty solid game,” Spezza said. “There wasn’t much either way. They had more chances than we did but Andy stood tall.”

“It was good to get a point here in a tough building”

FLEURY FLASHES LEATHER

Craig Anderson called Fleury’s brilliant third-period save on Erik Karlsson “a game changer.”

Karlsson was stunned, saying he did not expect Fleury to stop the puck when he was down, and Karlsson shot high, before the Penguins goalie reached up and made the spectacular glove save.

“I just smiled at him,” Karlsson said. “There’s nothing really I can say. He knows he made a good save and unfortunately I’m going to be on the highlights for quite some time with that one.”

No one was less surprised than Anderson, watching from the other end of the ice.

“He’s quick, he moves well from side to side,” Anderson said of his rival goaltender. “He always gives himself an opportunity to make the save. I kind of broke into the league at the same time as him, and I’ve seen him make saves like that on numerous occasions. In the minors and the big show.”

What was Anderson thinking after Fleury kept the game 1-1 with that save”

“C’mon boys, keep the shots going, he can’t make two like that.”

Anderson was no slouch himself, making 46 saves on 48 Pittsburgh shots.

Da COSTA DELIVERS

One of the most pleasantly surprising Ottawa performances came from Stephane Da Costa, who was the Senators best forward over the first two periods. He didn’t play much in the third as MacLean shortened his bench.

Too bad because Da Costa and his wingers, Cory Conacher and Eric Condra, were creating chances and had a lot of zone time. Da Costa scored Ottawa’s lone goal, a beauty that beat Fleury high to the short side to open the game’s scoring in the first period.

“I felt really good,” Da Costa said. “My two linemates had a lot of energy and we had a good game.”

Da Costa, called up from Binghamton when Mark Stone got hurt on Jan. 20, had no beef with his reduced ice time in the third.

“I understand the decisions and just go with it,” Da Costa said. “Try to do the best with what I get.”

Da Costa had a terrific rebound from being a healthy scratch Saturday against the Leafs.

Here’s how he described his goal on Fleury, as he threaded a needle.

“I thought he was going to cheat for the back door (pass),” Da Costa said. “Cory was over there.

“I was pretty surprised. It was a pretty nice goal. It was a nice feeling to get that.

TIME ON ICE: Karlsson 27:33. Jared Cowen, 26:41. Da Costa 9:07

Sidney Crosby 24:16. Evgeni Malkin 24:27. Paul Martin 24:13.

SHOTS ON GOAL: Mika Zibanejad, 5. James Neal, 6. Martin, 6. Chris Kunitz, 6. Crosby, 4. Malkin, 4.

PLAYER 87: Crosby was held without a point for a second straight game. His last two-game pointless streak – Nov. 6 and Nov. 9, against the New York Rangers and St. Louis Blues.

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