The Pittsburgh Penguins had the type of night they needed.

They put together an excellent first period in firing 16 shots on goal and then got the results they deserved early in the second period on an Evgeni Malkin goal 23 seconds in and Daniel Sprong’s first career goal 2:02 later.


The Penguins with a little more speed in the lineup on the wings tonight with Bobby Farnham and Bryan Rust dressing, Pittsburgh established a consistent forecheck from the drop of the puck. Some of the grit provided a bit of a spark early.

“Wanted the forecheck from Farnham and Rust is a responsible, two-way guy,” Johnston said of the lineup change and feels he got it from those two.

The Senators while quick at the forward position, have some slow footed defensemen on the backend and it played into the Penguins advantage in being able to establish a cycle and create zone time.

“We put their defense back on their heels,” Johnston said of the Penguins strong forecheck in the first period.

Meanwhile, the Penguins transition game was much improved. The Senators are a team systematically that plays a bit risky. They come aggressive with two forecheckers and the Penguins blue-liners were very effective at making quick short passes to exit the zone.

The Penguins were able to beat the Senators initial wave and then able to exit the zone as a five man unit. The best way to exploit the Penguins on the forecheck is to bring one aggressive forechecker and then have the F2 and F3 in a read and react situation. Something the Senators don’t do.

The way the Sens forecheck played into the Penguins favor.

The Penguins group of defensemen supported each other very well in avoiding the Senators pressure by taking a hit and making a soft chip to their d-partner to the left or right side. Short support among the d-men was a key in the Penguins having a numbers advantage in [hide] exiting the zone for much of the night until Ottawa made adjustments mid-way through the second period.


— The Senators came into the game giving up 36 shots a night, Pittsburgh out-shot Ottawa 36-22.

“We got more pucks to the night and that’s the way we have to keep playing,” rookie winger Daniel Sprong said after the game.

Sprong among the Penguins best players tonight in elevated minutes, had a goal, 4 shots on goal and 5 shot attempts.

“Very happy [scoring 1st goal] but most importantly we got the win,” Sprong said. “We played the right way, got the win at home.”

Sprong played a career high 13:07 and was even used late in the game in defensive situations.

“He responded with a good working game,” Mike Johnston said of Sprong seeing a bigger role tonight. “I like what I see out of him and how competitive he is but I still want to see good habits.”


— The Penguins were 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and Evgeni Malkin was very strong on the PK.

“Good to see Geno can kill,” Johnston said.

Brian Dumoulin was on the ice for 22 shots attempts for and just 12 against.

— Mike Johnston called scratching Rob Scuderi, Sergei Plotnikov “lineup decisions”[/hide]