Senators bury Penguins with goal barrage

On a night when goals were going in from everywhere, the Ottawa Senators outlasted the Pittsburgh Penguins and hung on for a 6-4 win, avenging a 6-3 loss in Pittsburgh three weeks ago.

Senators bury Penguins with goal barrage
PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 13: Jason Spezza #19 of the Ottawa Senators handles the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

On a night when goals were going in from everywhere, the Ottawa Senators outlasted the Pittsburgh Penguins and hung on for a 6-4 win, avenging a 6-3 loss in Pittsburgh three weeks ago.
It looked for a moment like it was going to be costly win.
Nick Foligno left the ice late in the game after a knee-on-knee collision with Penguin defenceman Simon Despres, but coach Paul MacLean said barring any overnight complications, Foligno was fine.
A handful of Senators had big nights.
Jason Spezza had two goal and two assists, Daniel Alfredsson had his 398th NHL goal and two assists, Jared Cowen had a goal and three assists, and Erik Karlsson had three assists, the third one being his 100th NHL point.
Colin Greening and Zenon Konopka also scored for the Senators.
Steve Sullivan, with a goal and two assists, Matt Niskanen, Evgeni Malkin, and Chris Kunitz scored for the Penguins.
Alex Auld, who faced 36 shots, outlasted Brent Johnson and Marc-Andre Fleury. It was Auld’s first victory since March 20 against Minnesota.
Johnson, who was pulled after two periods, allowed five goals on 19 shots. Fleury allowed one goal on five shots in the third.
The victory within the victory was that the Senators blew 1-0 and 3-1 leads but rebounded for the victory.
“It shows our resolve, I think,” said Spezza.
“You don’t want to fall into the habit of not being able to hold onto leads. So we squandered it, but we got it back and we did a much better job in the third period, once we got a chance to take a breath between the periods and talk about what we wanted to do.
“I thought we did a much better job in the third minimizing their chances, and we got a chance because of it, too.”
MacLean was pleased that his team went forward instead of retreating into a defensive shell.
“I thought for our team it was a real good opportunity for us to learn how to play with the lead,” he said.
“We haven’t done that very much or very well, really, this year. But I thought in the third they came out and did a real good job of establishing a forecheck and establishing a game in their end of the rink and not just defending and backing up and backing up.”
After a scoreless first, the second was a goalie’s nightmare.
Johnson allowed three goals on four shots, four on six, and finally five on eight, while Auld’s bad stretch saw him allowing three goals on seven shots.
Greening started it 25 seconds in when he converted a lovely pass from Spezza.
It wasn’t a lead that lasted long, with Sullivan tying the score 1:11 later with a shot from the right circle.
But in the next five minutes, the Senators would score on two of their next three shots to take a 3-1 lead.
Spezza beat Johnson to the stick side from the high slot, then set Alfredsson up for his ninth, a wrist shot from the right circle.

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GAME FILE

WHY THEY WON: Because they got big nights from their stars: Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, and Erik Karlsson. That’s what the Senators need if they’re going to win shootouts with the Penguins.

STUD: Jason Spezza. With two goals and two assists, Spezza was Ottawa’s offensive catalyst, which is what he’s supposed to be.

DUD: Brent Johnson. The only question was whether Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma should have pulled him sooner. His second period couldn’t have been worse. He allowed three goals on four shots, four on six, and finally five on eight. Fleury was in to start the third.

NOT A STARRY NIGHT: If you bought a ticket to this game because of its star power — and an announced crowd of 19,710 did — you would have been terribly disappointed. The Penguins were without three of their top names — Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal, and Kris Letang — while the Senators were without three of their top players (Milan Michalek, Sergei Gonchar, and Filip Kuba).

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