OTTAWA – It took a period for the Ottawa Senators to find their offence on Friday, but when they did, it overwhelmed the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Jason Spezza had a goal and two assists in the second as Ottawa scored five times in the period to down the Penguins 6-4.
“I felt good in the first period and didn’t get much from it,” said Spezza, who added a goal in the third period. “I was a little bit frustrated in myself but I was going to get down because I felt good and had good legs.”
Jared Cowen had a goal and three assists and Daniel Alfredsson had a goal and two assists for Ottawa (15-14-4), while Colin Greening and Zenon Konopka also scored. Defenceman Erik Karlsson chipped in with three assists.
The Senators are one of only five teams in the NHL to have more than 100 goals on the season.
“Typically, we’re a lot better defensively than that,” said Penguins forward Craig Adams. “Whether it’s defensive zone coverage or plays up the ice and getting caught on rushes and things like that certainly our details away from the puck weren’t very good tonight.”
Steve Sullivan has a goal and two assists for the Penguins (17-11-4). Matt Niskanen, Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz had the other Pittsburgh goals.
Alex Auld made his first start for Ottawa in four games and made 32 saves to earn his first win of the season.
“I think it was March or April his last win, so to get this win gets the monkey off his back,” said Alfredsson. “He’s been solid for us the times he’s jumped in. I don’t think he was at his best but in the third period he was solid, especially playing pucks around the net and it will definitely build his confidence.”
Brent Johnson started in goal for the Penguins but was replaced by Marc-Andre Fleury to start the third period after allowing five goals on 19 shots. Fleury turned aside four of the five shots he faced.
After a scoreless first period, the two goaltenders were lit up with a total of eight goals in the second, including five Senators goals scored on Johnson.
The first three goals came in the opening 2:04 of the second with Ottawa grabbing a 2-1 lead. Greening gave the Senators the lead 25 seconds into the period. After Sullivan tied the game 71 seconds later, Spezza scored from the slot at 2:04.
The Senators went up 3-1 as Alfredsson scored at 6:45, then more than five minutes passed before the fireworks started again as the Penguins scored two power-play goals a little more than a minute apart.
Niskanen scored at 11:07 and Malkin at 12:14 before Cowen re-established Ottawa’s lead at the 13:20 mark.
After Pascal Dupuis took a high-sticking penalty at 19:50, Konopka put the Senators up 5-3 just four seconds later to close out a wild period of hockey—and Johnson’s night.
Spezza and Kunitz traded third period goals.
The Senators were happy to finally get a win over one of the elite teams in the league after playing solid in games without getting the results.
“We played a really good game against Boston here a couple of nights ago and we were frustrated at by getting any points out of it,” said Alfredsson.
“We came back, worked hard and our fourth goal was huge after they tied it up, but the biggest one was Konopka’s goal where he wins a faceoff, goes to the front of the net and tips it in. Those kinds of efforts are important when you play the top teams.”
Notes: Erik Karlsson collected his 100th career point with his third assist Friday…Defencemen Sergei Gonchar and Filip Kuba have missed the Senators’last four and nine games respectively with upper-body injuries while Milan Michalek missed his second straight game with a concussion…The Penguins have a long list of injured players but the most noticeable are Sidney Crosby (4th game missed), Kris Letang (7th) and Zybnek Michalek (7th) who are out with concussions… Entering the game Brent Johnson was 8-1-1 with a 1.99 goals against average lifetime against the Senators…Aaron Asham recorded his 200th career point with a second period assist on Sullivan’s goal…Pascal Dupuis played his 700th NHL game Friday