NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, February 3rd
(All times Eastern)
Ottawa Senators (24-21-10) at Pittsburgh Penguins (38-15-2), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Penguins will try to avenge their most
lopsided loss of the season on Monday when they host the Ottawa Senators in an
Eastern Conference clash at CONSOL Energy Center.
The Penguins and Senators met for the first of three scheduled encounters in
2013-14 on Dec. 23 in Ottawa, and the home team recorded a 5-0 rout. Along
with a 5-1 road loss to the New York Rangers on Nov. 6 and a 5-1 setback
against visiting Florida on Jan. 20, it marked the only time Pittsburgh was
defeated by a margin of four or more goals this season.
Pittsburgh had won three straight in the regular-season series against the
Sens before that December loss and Ottawa enters Monday having lost four of
five in the Steel City. That doesn't include last season's playoff encounter
in the Eastern Conference semifinals, which the top-seeded Pens won in five
The Penguins enter Monday leading the East with 78 points, but the talented
club was dealt a regulation loss Saturday at Phoenix. Mike Smith stopped 23-
of-24 shots to help the Coyotes register a 3-1 victory over Pittsburgh in the
Evgeni Malkin had the only goal of the game for the Penguins, who had won four
of five entering the contest. Malkin passed Ron Francis for fifth place on
Pittsburgh's all-time scoring list with the goal, which represented the
Russian's 614th career point.
Marc-Andre Fleury gave up all three goals on 30 shots in the loss.
"I thought we played a real good game and their guy made some really strong
saves," said Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby. "They played a pretty tight
game and when you don't cash in on your chances you're not going to win."
Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang missed his second straight game due to an
illness and he is questionable for Monday. Fellow Pens blueliner Olli Maatta
is also questionable after getting hit in the face with a puck on Saturday.
The Pens boast a 22-4-0 record on home ice this season and have won 15 of
their last 16 games as the host.
Ottawa is also coming off a loss as it had a two-game win streak snapped in
Saturday's 6-3 road setback against the rival Toronto Maple Leafs. The
Senators led 2-0 early in the second period, but the Maple Leafs scored six of
the game's final seven goals to take the tilt in regulation. Toronto winger
Phil Kessel capped his fifth career hat trick with the game-winning goal at
14:02 of the third period.
Chris Neil posted two goals and an assist while Colin Greening also had a goal
and an assist for the Senators. Craig Anderson allowed five goals on 36 shots
in the loss.
"I felt we played hard. We gave up some chances in the second, but I thought
we settled it down there in the third and got back after them," said Neil. "I
don't think it's a 6-3 hockey game, that's for sure. It was pretty close back
Ottawa fell to 12-10-5 as the visiting team this season after Saturday's
setback. The Sens will close a three-game road trip when they visit St. Louis
Erik Karlsson had a goal and two assists in December's blowout win over the
Pens. The talented defenseman has 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists) in 13 career
games versus Pittsburgh.
Anderson is 5-4-1 with a 2.24 goals against average in 12 career games against
the Pens, while Fleury is 9-9-1 with a 3.41 GAA in this matchup.
02/03 10:39:28 ET