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Penguins fall back to Earth against Senators

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The Pittsburgh Penguins travelled to Ottawa on Monday night for their final game before the NHL’s three-day Christmas break, and it resulted in them having their seven-game winning streak snapped at the hands of the Ottawa Senators. The Senators simply took it to the Penguins, defeating the flightless birds, 5-0, in a rout.

The game was all Senators from the get-go. Before we get to the scoring, the Penguins suffered another injury early in the first period. In just his second shift of the game, Pascal Dupuis injured his knee after Sidney Crosby was hit into him by Marc Methot. Dupuis didn’t return to the game, and one would assume he will is quite a bit of time. Zack Smith started the scoring for the Sens at about the seven minute mark of the period when he found the rebound off of Cody Ceci’s shot and shoveled the puck behind Marc-Andre Fleury. Ottawa took their 1-0 lead into the first intermission, and led in shots, 10-6.

The Senators didn’t take their foot off the pedal in the second period. At 4:55, Chris Kunitz was called for hi-sticking Chris Neil to put the Sens on the power play. On the man-advantage, Chris Phillips fired a shot on net that was deflected past Fleury by Bobby Ryan to put Ottawa up, 2-0. The goal was Ryan’s seventeenth of the season, leading the Senators in that category. Much like the first period, the Sens took their lead to the locker room, but this time trailed the Penguins in shots, 12-4.

If the Penguins believed that they had any chance of a comeback, it was quickly disregarded early in the third period. About a minute into the period, Ottawa put more space between them and Pittsburgh when Erik Karlsson took the role of a forward, deked around Olli Maatta, and wristed a shot past Fleury to put Ottawa up, 3-0. The Senators weren’t pleased with just a three-goal lead. At 12:42, Kyle Turris made it a four-goal game when he took a brilliant centering pass from Karlsson and beat the Penguin netminder for his ninth goal of the season. The Senators finally out the Penguins out of their misery a little less than two minutes later when Cory Conacher capitalized on a shot/pass by Jason Spezza to put the Sens up by the final score of 5-0. Craig Anderson stopped all twenty-seven shots by the Penguins to pick up his tenth win of the season and second shutout of the campaign.

The Penguins return home to Pittsburgh for the Christmas break before heading to Raleigh, NC Friday for a post-Christmas contest with the Carolina Hurricanes and the Staals (7:00 pm/et; Root Sports, FS-CR).

Notes:

-Dan Bylsma said that Pascal Dupuis will be re-evaluated in Pittsburgh, but had no update at the current time.

-After the game, Philip Samuelsson and Harry Zolnierczyk were sent back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

-Sidney Crosby’s ten-game point streak is over.

-With two assists, Clarke MacArthur upped his total to twenty five points (9G, 16A) in twenty-five career games against Pittsburgh.

Three stars:

1. OTT D Erik Karlsson (1G, 2A)

2. OTT G Craig Anderson (27 saves, 1.000 save %)

3. OTT RW Chris Neil (+1, 5 hits)

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