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Penguins beat Ottawa in shootout

The SportsXchange

OTTAWA, Ontario -- The offensively dynamic Pittsburgh Penguins stopped their losing skid at two by playing a stellar defensive game Sunday.

And they did so with a depleted blue line.

Marc-Andre Fleury matched Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson save-for-save through 65 minutes -- then made one more stop than his opposite number in the shootout -- as the Penguins left Scotiabank Place with a 2-1 victory over the Senators.

Anderson, who has given up just three goals in 12 periods of regulation time this season, couldn't stop a puck in the shootout as all three Penguins players scored. Evgeni Malkin had the decisive shootout score that put the Penguins back on track after losses to Toronto and Winnipeg.

But foremost in coach Dan Bylsma's mind afterward was the play of his charges without defenseman Matt Niskanen, who left after nine shifts with a "lower body" injury that will be reevaluated Monday in Pittsburgh. Giving Fleury the most help was veteran Brooks Orpik, who was credited with nine of the Penguins 24 blocked shots - which was twice as many as the Senators had.

Paul Martin was also impressive, playing a game-high 30 minutes and 26 seconds.

"Guys had to really step up," said Bylsma. "I thought our team did a pretty good job of realizing we were in that position, and had to play on the defensive side a little more, and play in the offensive zone to minimize the impact on our 'D'. Especially in the third period, we played well with the puck, we played well away from the puck and we did a good job of tracking back and eliminating opportunities."

Anderson, whose streak of wins in three straight games was stopped when coach Paul MacLean rested him Friday in Tampa, picked right up where he left off with some brilliant saves. Most notably, he denied Matt Cooke on a second period breakaway, then shot out his right skate to kick away a Sidney Crosby chance from the slot in overtime. But there was no consoling him after the game.

"I let my guys down in the shootout by not being able to make a save," said Anderson. "It's unfortunate, but we got two out of three (on Fleury) and that should be good enough to win a shootout.

"I thought we did more than enough in the shootout to get the second point. I'm not happy with my performance. I feel like I can do more there. You have to make at least one (save) there. I've got to expect more out of myself. It's a crapshoot: Some nights you may stop all three, some nights not any. Hopefully, we got all of those out of the way now."

James Neal and Crosby also scored shootout goals before Malkin's game-winner.

Kyle Turris and Jason Spezza scored for the Senators in the shootout, but Milan Michalek's failed to score on Fleury on Ottawa's first shot of the shootout.

Neal converted a Malkin setup in a mistake-filled first period, one-timing a shot for his fourth goal of the season.

"It was a little sloppy at times, but you've got to win them like that," said Neal. "It's big for us. Flower was great in nets tonight. It's going to be like that on the road sometimes, it's going to be sloppy. I thought we did a good job."

The lone goal to beat Fleury during regulation time came from Colin Greening in the second period. Playing on Ottawa's top line for the first time this season, Greening pounced on a rebound left from a Fleury save off Spezza.

"We held arguably the best team in the East to one goal," said Spezza. "It's 50-50 when you go to a shootout. If it goes the other way we're pretty happy.

"We did a good job of not giving them many chances. If you give guys like that too many chances, they'll get rhythm, momentum and they'll make plays out of nothing. We had to play a little more boring game, but I thought we did a good job. If we win the shootout, it's perfect."

The Penguins (3-2) now return home to host the New York Islanders Tuesday. The Senators (3-1-1) host the Washington Capitals Tuesday.

NOTES: Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson was a late scratch after coming down with flu symptoms. Taking his spot in the lineup was Guillaume Latendresse, who was otherwise scheduled to be a healthy scratch for the second game in a row ... Malkin's first-period assist was the 324th of his career, tying him with Rick Kehoe for seventh place on the franchise all-time list. It was Malkin's 432nd game as a Penguin. Kehoe played 722 ... Anderson stopped Matt Cooke's clear breakaway eight minutes into the second, prompting the team's second consecutive sellout crowd to start an "Andy" chant ... Entering the game, the Senators and Penguins had proven to be a pretty even match dating back to the 2007-07 season. Of the 24 games, Ottawa had won 13 ... Playing his first game at Scotiabank Place as a Senator was defenseman Mark Borowiecki, an Ottawa native who the team selected in the fifth round (139th overall) of the 2008 entry draft. Borowiecki made his presence felt with a thundering hit on Tyler Kennedy in the second.
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