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Craig Anderson and the Ottawa Senators had one of their most impressive wins of the season.
Anderson stopped 27 shots for his second shutout of the season and Ottawa defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-0 on Monday.
“We definitely had one of our better games this year and we played our most consistent game, playing hard-nosed and in their face,” Anderson said.
The Penguins had won seven straight games.
“We know they have a good team and they bring it every night and they do things right 99 percent of the time so we found a way to win the game and do it with conviction,” Anderson said.
Senators coach Paul MacLean was pleased with the timing of the victory.
“It’s the best way we possibly could [head into the break],” MacLean said. “If we were looking for something under the tree that could be a motivator for us and a feel-good thing for us, beating Pittsburgh 5-0 we can head into this three-day break with a positive attitude.”
The game was relatively close after two periods, but the Senators dominated the Penguins in the third, outshooting them 15-9 while getting goals from Erik Karlsson, Kyle Turris and Cory Conacher.
Zack Smith and Bobby Ryan also scored for the Senators and Anderson earned the 24th shutout of his career.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 24 saves for the Penguins, but had his five-game winning streak come to an end.
The win ended a three-game losing streak for the Senators with all three of those losses coming in Ottawa.
“I thought our response to the game tonight was workman like and our penalty killers did yeomen work and the difference in the game was that we obviously killed off those power plays,” said MacLean after his team survived all seven short-handed situations, while scoring once in three power-play opportunities.
The Penguins had won 12 of their past 13 games in Ottawa, including seven in a row. Pittsburgh had only been shut out once this season as it fell 1-0 at home to the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 21.
The shutout was the first for the Senators since they blanked the Buffalo Sabres 1-0 in their first game of the season.
Defenseman Marc Methot set an early tone that it was going to be a physical night.
With the Penguins breaking toward the Ottawa goal, Methot took Sidney Crosby out with a hard hip check. Crosby wasn’t hurt on the play but his spinning body was catapulted into Pascal Dupuis who went down and hit hard into the end boards.
Dupuis left the game with what was later described as a lower body injury and did not return. Crosby was mostly ineffective the rest of the game.
“I haven’t seen the replay. I don’t know how low it was. He almost blew my knee out so it was pretty low,” Crosby said.
“I don’t know if it was right above my knee or above my hip, but it was awfully close.”
“I have a ton of respect for that player,” Methot said. “I think he’s one of the best players in the world and you have to play him hard and that was our goal.”