OTTAWA – Tyler Kennedy must drool at the thought of playing the Ottawa Senators.
Kennedy had two goals Monday night and linemate Craig Adams had two assists in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 4-1 win over the Senators at Scotiabank Place.
In eight career games against the Senators, Kennedy has seven goals. He has 22 goals in 123 games against the rest of the National Hockey League.
“I enjoy coming here and I really prepare well when I play here because I know they have such a great team,” Kennedy said.
“I just go out there and try and do my best. I know my family’s watching and I hope they were tonight. I’m just trying to help out. Everyone has to help pull the rope and that’s what I’m trying to do right now.”
Bill Guerin, in the first, and Jordan Staal, in the third, also scored for the Penguins (5-1-0). Marc-Andre Fleury, who has won all five of his starts this season, made 30 saves.
Milan Michalek had the lone goal for the Senators (3-2-0), who had their three-game winning streak stopped. Pascal Leclaire made 24 saves in the loss.
The Senators pressed the Penguins hard in the first half of the third-period trying to come back from a 3-1 deficit, but Staal put the game out of reach scoring on a rebound at 9:54.
A long five-on-three advantage late in the game for the Senators produced nothing.
“We had a ton of chances and you’d like to think that if you keep getting chances things will start going in,” forward Jason Spezza said of the Senators’ power play.
“We’ve got to practise it. We’ve got a lot of new faces and we have to establish what our objective is. It’s no time to panic but it’s time to sharpen it up and simplify it.”
Kennedy broke a 1-1 tie with two second-period goals, the second of which Leclaire simply missed. Kennedy took a pass from Matt Cooke and drove down the right side before beating Leclaire with a shot to the far side from two feet above the faceoff circle.
“What hurt us a bit was that third goal,” Leclaire said.
“It was of a bad goal I gave up at kind of a bad time. We were fighting pretty hard to get back in the game and I kind of missed it. It was frustrating.”
The first of Kennedy’s goals was nothing but luck as his pass bounced off Senators’ forward Chris Kelly and then the skate of defenceman Erik Karlsson right in front of the net.
“A goal is a goal and I’m just excited to get them,” Kennedy said.
The Penguins are excited when anyone gets them, especially when superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are held off the score sheet.
“We want everyone to contribute and make sure we’re doing our part, but to have other guys contribute and play really well that’s big for us and an important part of winning,” Crosby said.
“That’s the only way you’re going to have success consistently is if you have guys contributing. It’s been different guys each night that have stepped up but that line of Staalsy (Jordan Staal), Cookie and TK (Kennedy) have really stepped up and they had some great chemistry last year and they’ve built off that this year. If we can get all the lines going like that it will be hard to play against us.”
The Senators had opened the scoring late in the first period but the Penguins came right back to tie the game before the end of the frame.
Michalek made a great move to get around Fleury, after Jonathan Cheechoo made an even better move to get around the Ottawa defence and get the puck to Michalek for his first as a Senator at 15:59.
Just 39 seconds later though, Guerin was the recipient of a fortuitous bounce as his shot deflected off the end boards right back in front where Guerin had an empty net as Leclaire was playing the puck to come out on the other side of the net.
Notes: Malkin appeared in his 248th consecutive game on Monday, meaning he’s played in every regular season game since missing the Penguins first four games of the 2006-07 seasonadefenceman Filip Kuba and Ryan Shannon each missed their fourth straight games for the Senators Monday with lower and upper-body injuries respectively .. The Penguins are 4-0-0 when scoring first this season and 1-1-0 when they don’ta.The Senators wrap up a four-game homestand when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday while the Penguins conclude a four-game road trip against the Hurricanes Wednesday night in Carolina.