Penguins Battle Hard, But Lose to Senators in OT

The Pittsburgh Penguins missed an opportunity to move into 1st place in the Eastern Conference as they lost to the Ottawa Senators with just 3.2-seconds left in ovetime on Saturday afternoon.  Despite outshooting the Senators 17-8 in the 1st period and building a 3-0 lead through the fist half of the game, the Penguins played a little sloppy late in the 2nd and allowed the Senators to battle back and pick up 2 goals and then one early in the 3rd to send it to overtime.  It looked like the game was destined for a shootout when Daniel Alfredsson scored the game winner with just seconds left on the clock to make it 4-3.  Red hot Evgeni Malkin played like a beast, but failed to put up any points, ending his 10-game points streak.  Despite the loss, the Penguins played a very strong game.

In the 1st period, the Penguins came out and man-handled the Senators with the help of 4-power play opportunities.  Petr Sykora cashed in on the first opportunity just 1:47 into the game.  He was assisted by Ryan Whitney and Ryan Malone.  The goal was Petr Sykora’s 20th of the season, marking the 8th time in his career to reach the 20-goal plateau.  The Penguins were unable to notch another power-play goal in the first, despite some fabulous opportunities.  The Penguins managed to stay out of the penalty box.

In the 2nd, it looked like it was going to be all Penguins as they continued to dominate through the 1st half of the period.  At 4:09, Colby Armstrong came down the right wing and blew a shot to the top of the net above Ray Emery to make it 2-0 on his 9th goal of the season.  Max Talbot and Rob Scuderi were credited with the assists.  Then at 10:20, it was Jeff Taffe who gathered some trash to the right side of a flailing Emery and lifted it into the net.  The goal, Taffe’s 3rd, was assisted by Jordan Staal and Darryl Sydor.  But at 12:47, a misplay by Ty Conklin led to a Cory Stillman goal that put the Senators on the scoreboard and ignited some fire in the lifeless team.  Chris Kelly and Antoine Vermette picked up the assists.  Less than 5-minutes later, the Senators scored again as Dany Heatley picked up his 29th of the season with assists by Cory Stillman and Wayne Redden.  The Senators ended up outshooting the Penguins 11-7 in the 2nd, despite being short-handed twice.  The Penguins were 0-for-2 on the power play and again managed to stay out of the penalty box. 

In the 3rd, it was Dany Heatley again, notching his 30th goal at 6:09 from Randy Robitaille and Jason Spezza to tie it at 3-apiece.  It was the last goal to be scored in regulation as both teams put 7-shots on the board.  The Penguins killed off their only penalty and had no more power play opportunities.  Through 3-periods, Evgeni Malkin had 7-shots on goal but was unable to put one home. 

The Penguins had more opportunities in the overtime frame, missing on 4-shots, including one by Ryan Malone that hit both the left and right goal posts but failed to go in.  Malone, who thought he had scored raised his hands in jubilation, but it wasn’t meant to be.  Play continued as the clock ticked down to 3.2 seconds when Daniel Alfredsson managed to put a backhander past Conklin for the win.  Andrej Meszaros was credited with the assist. 

The Penguins picked up 1-point in the standings, to fall 2-points behind the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference race.  The New Jersey Devils won their game this afternoon against the New York Islanders, to put them 1-point ahead of the Penguions in the Atlantic Division.  Early in the 2nd, the Montreal Canadiens were losing 2-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets.  The Penguins have an opportunity to bounce back on Sunday as they host the San Jose Sharks in another 3PM matinee game. 

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