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Ottawa holds off Pens' to post 4-2 win



Published: Thu, March 13, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



It was the ninth straight loss for Pittsburgh, which was playing without Mario Lemieux.

OTTAWA (AP) -- Mario Lemieux's absence should have made the job simple for the Ottawa Senators. For a while, it was.

Then the Senators got complacent and nearly blew it before holding on Sunday night to beat Pittsburgh 4-2.

"We thought it was going to be easy after we made it 3-0, and all of a sudden they got two quick goals," Marian Hossa said, "but we found a way again to win."

Senators hold top spot

Hossa scored his 39th goal and added an assist. Mike Fisher, Zdeno Chara and Radek Bonk also scored for Ottawa, which retained its lead atop the NHL's overall standings with 94 points.

"We kind of gave them some life there," Senators defenseman Wade Redden said. "We had to settle it down and get back to keeping it simple. We just tightened up a bit and kept working, and ended up getting another power play and making good on that."

Hossa got his first in eight games to open the scoring. With goalie Sebastien Caron sprawled out stopping Shane Hnidy's point shot, Hossa picked up a loose puck from the left edge of the crease. He switched to his forehand to take advantage of an open left side.

Fisher got his 15th goal in the second period when he poked in a puck that Caron failed to control to put the Senators up 2-0.

Pittsburgh, which had just two shots in the first, didn't get its third shot of the game until nearly midway through the second.

After Hossa got his second point of the game as he started a nice passing play by feeding Bonk, who set up Chara for his seventh of the season 3:10 into the third, Pittsburgh woke up. But Eric Meloche and the struggling Penguins found Lemieux's skates too big to fill, though not for lack of effort.

Lemieux rested

Lemieux was rested and didn't accompany the Penguins here after scoring Pittsburgh's only goal in a 5-1 loss to Ottawa on Saturday.

Meloche scored his first NHL goal in a losing cause.

Recalled from the minors to take Lemieux's spot, Meloche got the goal on a power play early in the third period. Meloche took a shot from the left corner that deflected off Senators defenseman Wade Redden's skate and went through goalie Martin Prusek's legs into the net.

Dick Tarnstrom scored moments later to draw Pittsburgh within one, but Ottawa got the power-play goal from Bonk to win its third in a row.

The Penguins, who were able to dress just 19 players after trading Randy Robitaille earlier in the day, lost their ninth in a row, tying the franchise's second longest losing streak.




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