for this game

Sens beat up slumping Pens

Jan 11, 2012 - 4:06 AM
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Even the surprising insertion of James Neal into the lineup couldn't help Pittsburgh avoid its first five-game losing streak in two years.

Milan Michalek scored two goals and Craig Anderson made 29 saves, backstopping the Ottawa Senators to a 5-1 win over the Penguins at Consol Energy Center.

Jason Spezza, Chris Neil and Bobby Butler also lit the lamp for Ottawa, which has won six of its last seven games.

It was originally feared Neal would miss significant time with a broken foot suffered blocking a shot in Saturday's contest against New Jersey. But further evaluation determined his injury only to be a bone bruise.

Neal was on the ice when a giveaway by Ottawa's Sergei Gonchar led to Evgeni Malkin beating Anderson with 8:46 remaining in the second period. However, the Penguins were already down 4-0 prior to the marker and on their way to losing five straight for the first time since Dec. 27, 2009-Jan. 3, 2010.

Brent Johnson gave up three Ottawa goals on eight shots before he was replaced by Marc-Andre Fleury, who finished with 13 saves in relief.

"A couple breakdowns and a couple miscues gave them easy goals," said Pittsburgh head coach Dan Bylsma.

Neil and Butler scored in a 2:50 span in the first period to give Ottawa a 2-0 lead.

First, the gritty Neil hammered home his own rebound from the left side of the net at 11:13. Butler's tally was set up by Nick Foligno, who carried the puck the length of the ice and skated around Pittsburgh defenseman Ben Lovejoy before dishing to his teammate for a one-timer.

The Senators, who had been outscored 46-27 during a game's opening 20 minutes this season, doubled their advantage with two second-period goals.

Spezza faked a slap shot, pulled the puck around Johnson and tucked it in on the backhand at 1:15. Ottawa went up 4-0 when Colin Greening's shot from the slot banked off Michalek's skate for a power-play goal at 5:43.

Michalek pumped home his 22nd second goal of the season -- off a pass from Greening -- at 12:36 of the third period.

"I'm real pleased with the way we won the game," said Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean.

Game Notes

Ottawa's Erik Karlsson, the leading point producer among NHL defensemen with 41, missed the game with an upper-body injury...Greening collected three assists...Johnson made his first start since allowing five goals in a 6-4 loss at Ottawa on December 16...Penguins defenseman Simon Despres left the game with a lower-body injury.