Share “Spezza lifts Senators to SO win over Penguins”

Spezza lifts Senators to SO win over Penguins

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 13, 2014 at 11:09 pm •  Published: April 13, 2014
Advertisement

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins are ready for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Ottawa Senators aren't headed to the postseason, but captain Jason Spezza wanted to make sure his team finished the season strong.

Spezza scored in the shootout to help the Senators beat the Penguins 3-2 on Sunday night and stretch their season-ending winning streak to five games.

"We wanted to play for each other," said Spezza, who finished his first season as captain. "We talked about it a lot down the stretch, how it would be easy to let up, and I thought the group showed good character by finishing hard and winning these games."

The teams were tied 2-2 after two periods and didn't score in the third or overtime.

Spezza, who scored the lone goal in Ottawa's win Saturday against Toronto, stopped at the circle during his shootout attempt, stickhandled around goalie Jeff Zatkoff, and scored. Kyle Turris added a goal in the shootout for the Senators.

Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner stopped Beau Bennett and Jussi Jokinen to seal the win.

Turris scored his 26th goal in regulation, and Mark Stone had his fourth for Ottawa, which will miss the playoffs for the second time in six years and first since 2011.

"We believe in this group, that it's a good group and very close to being a good team," Senators coach Paul MacLean said. "We have work to do and we have to come to training camp in September prepared to do the work and make changes to our game that's going to make us successful."

Jokinen scored on the power play in regulation, his 21st of the season, and Lee Stempniak added his 12th for the Penguins, who rested captain Sidney Crosby and several others for their final game before the playoffs.

No. 1 goalie Marc-Andre Fleury also sat out along with Brandon Sutter, Matt Niskanen, Robert Bortuzzo and Deryk Engelland.

"I think we've gone through quite a bit with this group in terms of different lineups, different injury situations," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said of his team, which led the NHL with 521 man-games lost. "I think we've done a better job of being able to shut teams down and limit opportunities, but now we have to do that in the playoffs."

The Penguins will face Columbus in the first round of the playoffs. The series begins Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

It will be the first postseason meeting between the teams, separated by a four-hour drive. The perennial-contending Penguins have lots of star power and three Stanley Cup titles. Columbus, during its first season in the Eastern Conference, secured its second playoff berth and first since the 2009 season.

Continue reading this story on the...