OTTAWA, Ontario (AP)Drake Batherson had two goals and two assists, and the Ottawa Senators defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-3 Saturday night to end a four-game losing streak.
Zach Sanford, Michael Del Zotto, Parker Kelly and Tim Stutzle also scored for the Senators, while Jacob Bernard-Docker and Lassi Thomson each picked up their first points in the NHL with assists. Del Zotto also had an assist, Thomas Chabot had two assists and Filip Gustavsson made 28 saves for the win.
Batherson wasn’t even sure he was going to play after a positive COVID-19 test Friday.
”I got in here and I was pretty excited for game day and I had 30 people in town and they were up in the box so I was super pumped to play in front of them,” Batherson said. ”Then I got the positive test and ran another one right after, negative.”
And that was that, as those 30 friends and family from back home got to see him play.
”All from back home, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton. People who had never seen me play before so it was great to have them up,” said Batherson.
Evan Rodrigues scored twice and Kasperi Kapanen once for the Penguins, and Casey DeSmith turned aside 18 of 23 shots.
Batherson scored at 9:40 of the third period to give the Senators a 5-0 lead, but Kapanen and Rodrigues scored at 11:49 and 12:55, respectively, and Rodrigues scored again just over three minutes later to make it 5-3.
After the second Pittsburgh goal, Senators coach DJ Smith took a timeout to try and calm things down.
”`You played really well for 52 minutes and on two shifts the puck ends up in the back of your net,”’ Smith told his players during the timeout. ”Told them to just take a breather.”
Batherson scored an empty-net goal at 19:11 to seal the victory.
”We started scoring goals and feeling good and we had it going real good in the third until they scored and I thought we made some immature plays in front of our net,” Smith said. ”When you haven’t won in a while it’s hard to close the game out.”
The Senators broke open the game in the second period with four goals, three in under six minutes.
Sanford opened the scoring at 5:21, beating DeSmith on a rebound. Del Zotto scored his first of the season and first of two power-play goals in the period when he beat DeSmith with a point shot off a faceoff at 10:40.
Just 27 seconds later Kelly scored his first of the year to give the Senators a 3-0 lead. But the biggest goal came from Stutzle, with his first in 16 games dating back to a hat trick last May against Winnipeg. A pass toward the front of the net was blocked but went directly to Stutzle, who quickly beat DeSmith short side on the power play.
”I think that second period is unacceptable, and it ultimately lost us the game,” Rodrigues said. ”Just no jam. We weren’t playing heavy, we weren’t hanging on to pucks. It got sloppy. It was a little bit of a track meet. It wasn’t our type of hockey. That’s not how we play.”
The was no scoring in the first period, although that wasn’t from lack of opportunities, especially for the Penguins. Gustavsson stopped Jason Zucker on a breakaway and shortly after that the Penguins had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:38, but not only did they not score, they managed just two shots on goal.
”That’s a big, big part of the game, the 5-on-3 early. We’re not able to convert there. Just a couple of opportunities out of it,” Penguins coach Todd Reirden said. ”On one, we missed the net. On one, we got a shot right off the faceoff but not nearly enough chances for in that situation.”
Notes: With several players in COVID-19 protocols, the Senators called up F Andrew Agozzino and defensemen Jacob Bernard-Docker and Maxence Guenette. … Scratches for the Senators were D Nikita Zaitsev and forwards Agozzino and Scott Sabourin. . The Penguins were without forwards Sam Lafferty and Dominik Simon as well as goaltender Tristan Jarry.
Penguins: At Washington on Sunday night.
Senators: Host Calgary on Sunday night.
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