The Ottawa Senators tied a franchise record Thursday night with their eighth win in a row, defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 on Thursday night at Mellon Arena.
The Senators got another strong performance from goaltender Brian Elliott who led the way for Senators making 30 saves for his 6th straight win. Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin (19) scored a 1:34 into the game but Elliott shut the door on the defending champs for the remaining 58:26 in regulation.
Mike Fisher, Chris Kelly, Jason Spezza and Nick Foligno all scored for the Senators who have now cut Pittsburgh’s lead for fourth place in the Eastern Conference to three points. The Senators rebounded Thursday night from their embarrassing 8-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Dec. 23
For Pittsburgh, it was a disappointing group of players in the locker room afterwards, as the Penguins put together a “lackluster effort”. They didn’t execute and according to captain Sidney Crosby, “We didn’t play a tough enough game.”
Surprisingly, the players have been given a day off on Friday, as the team has cancelled a scheduled practice. It has sparked some player movement speculation late tonight as Thursday’s game was heavily scouted and Tom Fitzgerald, the Penguins assistant to the GM and assistant GM Jason Botterill have been on scouting trips this week.
However, as of early Thursday morning, the Penguins were not close to any major deals. A minor tweak to the roster is being discussed before the trade deadline but Pittsburgh doesn’t expect a significant move until afterwards.
Winger Nick Johnson was recalled for the third time in a week Thursday morning. Johnson was a regular on Evgeni Malkin’s line for the 4th straight game and recorded an assist on Malkin’s 1st period tally.
It was a milestone night for Ruslan Fedotenko and Jordan Staal. Fedotenko recorded his 300th career point, assisting on Malkin’s first period.
Meanwhile, 21 year old forward Jordan Staal appeared in his 300th career game, becoming the youngest player to appear in his 300th career game.
Head Coach Dan Bylsma see’s a bright future ahead for Staal. “To have 300 games under your belt at
such a young age, there is a long road ahead of that kid and some good hockey, Bylsma said.”
Eric Godard will be sidelined for up to 6 weeks and could end up having season ending surgery on a torn groin muscle. He is still being evaluated.
Tyler Kennedy (lower body) skated on Thursday and is day-to-day.
Alex Goligoski missed his second straight game with an upper body injury. Goligoski’s injury is not long-term.
Chris Kunitz took another step towards returning on Thursday, going through a full practice. Kunitz is cleared for contact and should be in the lineup by next week.
more to come in the morning.