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4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, February 1, 2019
PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  Attendance: 18,618

Penguins hope losing trend ends vs. struggling teams

Ottawa Senators at Pittsburgh Penguins

  1. The Penguins have won their last six home games against Ottawa, their longest home win streak against the Senators since winning 10 straight from January 25, 1994 to April 5, 1997. Pittsburgh has scored 24 goals in the last four of those games, the most it has scored in a four-home game span against Ottawa.
  2. The Senators went 3-2-0 on the road in January, their first month with a winning road record since October 2017 (3-0-1). Ottawa went from having the leagues' worst goaltending on the road from October through December (.871 save percentage) to the league's best in January (.942).
  3. The Penguins defeated the Lightning in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, 4-2, preventing a third consecutive loss. Pittsburgh will now face Ottawa and Toronto on consecutive nights. The Penguins are 5-0-1 (.917) on the first night of back-to-backs this season, tied for the second-best mark in the league (Cgy: 6-0-0)
  4. Mark Stone has reached 50 points for the fifth consecutive season, joining four other Senators who had five of more straight seasons with 50-plus points (Daniel Alfredsson -- 10, Jason Spezza -- 8, Marian Hossa -- 5, Erik Karlsson -- 5). Stone has 15 points (9g, 6a) in 11 career games against the Penguins.
  5. Kris Letang tallied two points (1g, 1a) in the win over Tampa Bay. Pittsburgh has earned points in Letang's last 38 multi-point games (35-0-3), the longest streak for a defenseman since Detroit earned at least a point in 43 straight multi-point games by Nicklas Lidstrom (February 8, 2006 -- January 6, 2009).
  6. Jake Guentzel led the Pens in goals in January (8), the fourth skater to lead them in goals in a month this season (Oct: Phil Kessel -- 7, Nov: Sidney Crosby -- 7, Dec: Bryan Rust -- 8). Including the last two full months of 2017-18 there have been six goal leaders (Mar: Patric Hornqvist -- 9, Feb: Evgeni Malkin -- 10).

Perhaps the Pittsburgh Penguins should avoid looking at the standings going into home their game Friday against the Ottawa Senators at PPG Paints Arena.

Otherwise, the Penguins (27-17-6), who are in contention for the Metropolitan Division title and yet not securely above the playoff cutoff, might notice that the Senators (19-26-5) are in last place in the Atlantic Division.

Pittsburgh is 1-7-1 against clubs that are last in their division, not exactly a point of pride. The most recent addition to the losses in that equation came Monday, when the Penguins fell 6-3 at home against New Jersey.

Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang said that prompted a players-only meeting Tuesday, and the result was a 4-2 win Wednesday against Tampa Bay, the top team in the league.

"We had a good meeting (Tuesday). We needed a response," Letang said. "All of our guys came out to play. We all showed up, and we were really invested right from the get-go.

"On a normal loss, I don't think we have a meeting, but on a loss that important against a team that is lower in the standings -- we all know in the Metro it's going to be tough to get in the playoffs -- we needed an answer."

Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan saw, and heard, some familiar signs Wednesday that his team was on top of its game.

"I know, from being around our players as long as I have, that when we have some personality on our bench, then we usually bring it to the ice. We had it (Wednesday)," Sullivan said. "There was some chatter on the bench. There was a little bit of swagger that I think is important for this group of players."

Whether that will carry over to Friday against another last-place team, or whether the Penguins might again play to the level of an opponent, remains to be seen.

"Our challenge moving forward is to make sure we bring some consistency to our game night in and night out," Sullivan said. "It doesn't matter who our opponent is. We should find a motivation for urgency and enthusiasm just with the opportunity that's in front of us."

Ottawa will be playing its first game since Jan. 22 after the All-Star break last weekend and its bye week.

The Senators lost their last two games before the break, both 3-2 results against the St. Louis Blues and Arizona Coyotes, but before those one-goal defeats won four of five.

"We were playing some good hockey, so we'll try to get back at it right away in Pittsburgh," Senators center Jean-Gabriel Pageau told TSN 1200.

"When I look around the room, everybody is taking pride playing for the Sens, and everybody wants to end on a good note. I expect a push from our team."

Ottawa expects center Colin White back from a shoulder injury. He missed five games before the break.

"All the pieces are going to be back," Pageau said. "The players are never 100 percent through the year, but everybody's going to be in top shape after the little break. Everybody will be rested up, and I think everybody is motivated to finish strong."

--Field Level Media

Updated January 31, 2019

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