Young guns trigger Pens’ win
It was a big night for two of the youngest Pittsburgh Penguins.
The same can be said for a longtime NHL veteran, now formerly with the Ottawa Senators.
Jake Guentzel scored twice, Zach Aston-Reese scored his first two NHL goals and the Penguins picked up a 6-3 victory over the Senators, who also traded veteran defenseman Dion Phaneuf to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.
Phaneuf, 32, was pulled from Ottawa’s bench during the game and the trade was finalized afterward. The Kings visit the Penguins on Thursday, so he doesn’t even have to leave Pittsburgh to meet up with his new team.
“I’m excited to be going to the Los Angeles Kings,” Phaneuf said. “It’s going to be a real good experience for me to be able to join that team. I’m excited about the team that they have, where they’re at in the standings and I’m going to go there and do my best to do whatever I can to help their team.”
Evgeni Malkin scored his 31st and Kris Letang tallied his fourth for the Penguins, who have won seven of nine and 12 of their last 16. Sidney Crosby, who scored his 400th career goal on Sunday, finished with three assists.
Pittsburgh is riding a nine-game home winning streak, the longest since a franchise-record 13-game run during the 2013-14 season. The Penguins haven’t lost in Pittsburgh since a 4-0 defeat by Carolina on Jan. 4.
Matt Murray stopped 30 shots for Pittsburgh.
Derick Brassard, Colin White and Mike Hoffman all scored for the Senators, who lost for the third time in five games. The Senators dropped to 7-16-4 on the road. They were 22-17-2 away from home last season.
Phaneuf has 16 points in 52 games this season and 478 in 954 games during his 13-year NHL career with the Calgary Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs and Senators. He was traded again almost exactly two years after the Senators got him from the Maple Leafs.
“The business is the business,” Phaneuf said. “For me, it’s a business decision that the Ottawa Senators wanted to move me, and I respect that.”
Guentzel scored his 17th on the power play and his 18th in the second period. Aston-Reese scored the first of his career in the second period and added an empty-net goal with 1:05 to play.
Mike Condon made five saves on nine shots before he was pulled after Aston-Reese’s goal. Craig Anderson stopped 17 of 18 shots.
Guentzel, who set a Penguins rookie record with 13 goals in the playoffs, scored 12 goals in his first 27 games this season, but he had just four in his previous 30.
“I’ve kind of been in a drought,” Guentzel said. “Whenever you can score a couple, you get a little confidence.”