Posted January 26, 2013 on AP on Fox
After their offense keyed consecutive victories to open the season, the Pittsburgh Penguins' poor defense has led to back-to-back defeats. The Penguins likely have to tighten things up Sunday night when they visit the Ottawa Senators, one of the highest-scoring teams in the Eastern Conference through the first week. Playing on the road for the fourth time in its first five games, Pittsburgh (2-2-0) looks to come out of its difficult season-opening stretch with a winning record. The Penguins and Senators have picked up where they left off after ranking first and fourth, respectively, among the NHL's top goal-scoring clubs last season. Pittsburgh has scored 13 through four games, including nine in road victories over Philadelphia and the New York Rangers to begin the year. The Penguins, however, will try to improve defensively to avoid a third straight loss after allowing nine goals in their last two contests. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to get the start at Ottawa, where he has a 3-4-0 record with a 4.28 goals-against average in seven career starts. Fleury had 26 saves in a 3-1 victory over the Flyers before giving up five goals in a 5-2 loss to the visiting Maple Leafs on Wednesday. He's shared time with Tomas Vokoun, who hasn't fared much better at Ottawa with a 4.29 GAA in his last four there. "(Ottawa) is a skilled group," defenseman Kris Letang said. "We have to be aware and we have manage the puck better." Pittsburgh will have to find a way to contain the high-scoring Senators (3-1-0), who have 15 goals and average the second-most shots per game (36.8) among all East teams. Center Kyle Turris has four goals to lead the Senators, while defenseman Erik Karlsson has three and two assists. Jason Spezza has scored in each of the last two games and was a big reason Ottawa won last season's series with Pittsburgh. He went pointless in the first meeting, won by the Penguins, but had four goals and four assists in the final three as the Senators won them all. After three straight wins to open the season, the Senators open a three-game homestand with starting goalie Craig Anderson back between the pipes as they look to bounce back from their first loss. Backup Ben Bishop, making his first start of the season, allowed five goals in a 6-4 loss at Tampa Bay on Friday. "We're just like everyone else, we're trying to find some consistency in our game," coach Paul MacLean said. Anderson, though, has shined with a 0.67 GAA in his three wins. He's 3-2-1 with a 2.67 GAA in seven career starts against the Penguins. He'll have to deal with Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby, who has started to heat up with three goals and an assist in his last two after scoring twice in a 4-2 loss at Winnipeg on Friday. While Crosby has nine points in his last five matchups with Senators, Evgeni Malkin has 10 goals in his past 10 games against them. The Penguins will try to get their power play hot again, having converted 1 of 6 chances in the last two games after going 4 for 8 in the first two. That may be a difficult task against Ottawa, which has killed 15 of 18 short-handed situations.

Penguins D has gnarly black eye from fight

Earlier last week Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland and the Toronto Maple Leafs Colton Orr threw down their gloves in what was the best fight of this young hockey season. For those who did not see it take a gander. It was one for the ages. In between periods Deryk Engelland was interviewed and this is what his black eye looked like four days later. I thought that I...

Sidney Crosby hears winter's call in walk to arena

Sidney Crosby fed his inner Canadian by walking to his team's pre-game skate. ''I just wanted to get outside and experience a Canadian winter again,'' said Crosby, whose Pittsburgh Penguins play the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night. ''Believe it or not you miss it a little bit. You miss seeing the snow.'' Winnipeg delivered on the snow with a side...

Crosby Back To Normal

from Chris Johnston now of Sportsnet, What stands out most during a few days around the Penguins in the early stages of the 48-game season is how significantly Crosby's narrative has changed. No longer is he asked endlessly about the well-documented concussion and neck injuries that cost him most of the last two seasons. Even the frustration stemming from a lockout took...

Penguins 2, Senators 1 (SO)

OTTAWA, Ontario -- Evgeni Malkin's shootout goal was the difference as the Pittsburgh Penguins ended their two-game losing streak with a 2-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators Sunday at Scotiabank Place. Senators goalie Craig Anderson, who had allowed three goals in nine periods leading up to the shootout, couldn't make a save in the tie-breaking procedure, as James Neal...

Penguins beat Ottawa in shootout

OTTAWA, Ontario -- The offensively dynamic Pittsburgh Penguins stopped their losing skid at two by playing a stellar defensive game Sunday. And they did so with a depleted blue line. Marc-Andre Fleury matched Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson save-for-save through 65 minutes -- then made one more stop than his opposite number in the shootout -- as the Penguins left Scotiabank...

Penguins 2, Senators 1, SO

Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal scored in the shootout to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 2-1 victory against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday. Neal also scored in regulation to help the Penguins snap a two-game skid. Colin Greening scored a second-period goal for the Senators (3-2-1), and Jason Spezza and Kyle Turris beat Marc-Andre Fleury in the shootout. But Milan Michalek...

Travis Yost: GAMEDAY: Penguins and Senators at Scotiabank Place

Make sure to follow Travis on Twitter! -- After a tough loss in Tampa Bay on Friday evening, Paul MacLean's team headed back to Ottawa for a Sunday affair against a familiar foe in the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins, like the Senators, are coming off a road defeat of their own. The Penguins were stymied by the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre on Friday, and currently...

Ryan Malone leads late charge as Lightning get past the Senators

A high scoring second period put the Lightning behind the Ottawa Senators going into the third period of Friday’s matchup. But a pair of third period goals by Ryan Malone put Tampa Bay ahead for good as they beat the Sens 6-4. The Lightning got on the board first with a power play goal by Matt Carle just a little over a minute into the game. Ottawa followed that up with four goals...

Travis Yost: Bolts Comeback Sinks Senators

Make sure to follow Travis on Twitter! -- Without veteran Craig Anderson between the crease, the Ottawa Senators knew they'd have to clean it up a bit defensively in order to take down a Tampa Bay Lightning team known for an electric offense. Final score? Tampa Bay 6, Ottawa 4. Mission failure. The two teams went full pond-hockey for all sixty minutes, trading scoring...

Gameday 5 - Ottawa Senators

Pittsburgh Penguins (2-2-0) @ Ottawa Senators (3-1-0) ROOT, Sportsnet East, TVA, 5:00 pm/et Scotiabank Place - Kanata, ON The Pens travel to the middle of nowhere Scotiabank Place in Kanata, Ontario to face off against the Ottawa Senators. Since the Penguins have lost *OMG* two games in a row, it'll be interesting to see if they can bounce back today. ...

Travis Yost: Goalie Thoughts and Defensive Mistakes

Make sure to follow Travis on Twitter! -- It's the second rendition of Hockey Night in Canada for the shortened 48-game season, but once again, the Ottawa Senators are out of action. In fact, Ottawa doesn't actually play a Saturday night game until they head up to the Air Canada Centre on February 16th. That said, I think Paul MacLean will be OK with today's off...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.