By Kevin Muska
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Brian Elliott made 30 saves for the streaking Ottawa Senators as they handed the Pittsburgh Penguins a 4-1 loss Thursday night.
After Evgeni Malkin scored at 1:34 of the first period, Elliott closed the door while the Senators scored three unanswered goals to solidify their spot at fifth place in the tightly contested Eastern Conference.
The Penguins began the game fast and furious with intense forechecking leading to Malkin’s quick goal. The game settled down when Mike Fisher scored his eighteenth goal of the year at 10:06 of the first period. Chris Kelly added another goal a little over three minutes later to make the score 2-1 heading into the first intermission.
The second period was largely uneventful. Though the two teams traded blows, they resulted in no goals. The Penguins power play, largely maligned of late, came up empty.
The third period began in Ottawa’s favor, and their effort was rewarded with a Jason Spezza goal at 4:27. Throughout the third, the Pens couldn’t muster too many chances, and the opportunities they had were turned away by Elliott. Nick Foligno buried an empty-net goal at 18:32 of the third, effectively ending the game for the Pens.
Elliott, who lost the starting goaltender spot last year, has now won six games in a row to help Ottawa rise in the standings on their current win streak.
With the loss, the Penguins record dropped to 33-21-1 with 67 points. Ottawa’s record improved to 30-21-4 with 64 points, leaving them trailing the Penguins by only three points.
01:34 PIT Evgeni Malkin (19) – Assists: N. Johnson (1) & R. Fedotenko (14)
10:06 OTT Mike Fisher (18) – Assists: N. Foligno (15) & M. Carkner (8)
13:39 OTT Chris Kelly (10) – Assists: J. Ruutu (10) & C. Neil (8)
04:27 OTT Jason Spezza (8) – Assists D. Alfredsson (28) & M. Michalek (7)
18:32 OTT Nick Foligno (8) – Assists: E. Karlsson (8)
Shots on Goal
OTT – 28
PIT – 31
OTT 30 – B. Elliott: 30-31
PIT 29 – M. Fleury: 24-27