NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, April 13th (All times Eastern)
Ottawa Senators (36-31-14) at Pittsburgh Penguins (51-24-6), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Metropolitan Division-champion Pittsburgh Penguins will close out their regular season on Sunday night in a home matchup with the Ottawa Senators.
The Penguins will head into the postseason as the second seed and will have home-ice advantage against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Pittsburgh was coming off back-to-back shootout wins before suffering a 4-3 loss in overtime to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. Defenseman Kris Letang scored on a backhander with 36.8 seconds left in regulation, but the Flyers won it on Mark Streit's goal with 2:50 to play in overtime.
James Neal totaled a goal and two assists for the Penguins, while Jussi Jokinen also tallied. Marc-Andre Fleury ended up with only 17 saves in defeat.
With nothing on the line, the Penguins sat defenseman Brooks Orpik and forward Chris Kunitz. Several skaters also could get a rest tonight, though captain Sidney Crosby still wants his team to focus on playing a good game.
"I think just to follow up this performance from today. As a whole, we want to feel good about our game," Crosby said of today's finale. "I think there were some things from today that I think were good. For a game that doesn't move us anywhere, it didn't have a lot of bearing on us, we came with the right attitude, the right mindset."
Letang, meanwhile, scored his first goal since Jan. 23 in his second game since returning from a 10-week absence while recovering from a stroke.
"I'm just trying to get back into it," Letang said. "The result is disappointing, but I think we played a good game overall. I think if we go into the playoffs that way, we're going to win games."
The Senators will not be going into the playoffs, but can end the campaign with a season-high fifth straight victory. They matched their previous best of four consecutive wins with Saturday's 1-0 decision over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Craig Anderson stopped 28 shots for his fourth shutout of the season and 26th of his career.
Jason Spezza had the only goal of the game, blasting a one-timer into the net during a second-period power play for his 23rd goal of the season.
"We're playing games that don't mean much in the standings as far as getting us into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which is what it's all about," said Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean. "But at the same time, finishing our home schedule like we are is way better."
Ottawa wrapped the campaign with an 18-17-6 record at home. The Sens are 18-14-8 on the road.
The Senators have lost four of their previous five meetings with the Penguins as well as five of their past six trips to Pittsburgh.
04/13 10:51:31 ET