Sens hope to halt slide vs. Penguins

( – The sliding Ottawa Senators will try to win for the
first time in five games when they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins for
Saturday’s matinee clash at Consol Energy Center.

The Senators have lost four straight (0-3-1) since picking up a road win in
St. Louis on Nov. 25.

Ottawa is just 3-7-3 over its last 13 games and was recently swept by the New
York Islanders in a home-and-home series. The Sens picked up a point with an
overtime loss in the road portion but were handed a 2-1 regulation setback by
the Islanders on Thursday.

Thursday’s loss spoiled an emotional night at Canadian Tire Centre. The
Senators honored franchise icon Daniel Alfredsson, who signed a one-day
contract with the team on Thursday to officially announce his retirement,
prior to the game’s start.

Ottawa would lose the game, however, as Casey Cizikas notched the game-winner
for the Isles with 6:27 left in regulation.

“It was fun to be a part of and I think it was well done,” Senators captain
Erik Karlsson said of the ceremony. “That was the positive of the day,
obviously, we didn’t win the game.”

Ottawa mustered just 21 shots on net and Mika Zibanejad provided the only
offense for the home team when he recorded a power-play goal in the second

Craig Anderson stopped 23 shots for Ottawa. Anderson will get the start this
afternoon and is 5-4-2 with a 2.21 goals against average in his career against
the Penguins.

Today’s tilt marks the first of three meetings between the Pens and Sens this
season. Ottawa was 2-0-1 in the 2013-14 series and has taken five of the last
nine meetings overall. Pittsburgh has won five of the past seven encounters in
the Steel City, but the Sens did record a shootout win when the clubs last met
at Consol Energy Center on April 13 of last season.

The Penguins hope to rebound from a loss after having a two-game win streak
halted in Thursday’s home shutout defeat against Vancouver. Brad Richardson
had two goals and an assist to support a 21-save effort from Eddie Lack as the
visiting Canucks recorded a 3-0 win.

Thomas Greiss finished with 28 saves for Pittsburgh, which was blanked for
only the second time this season. The Pens also lost 5-0 in a road game
against the New York Rangers on Nov. 11.

“It just was an awkward game,” Greiss said. “It felt like it was hard for me
to get into it. Just never felt quite comfortable in the game.”

Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to be back between the pipes on Saturday
afternoon. Pittsburgh’s franchise goaltender is 10-9-1 with a 3.30 GAA in his
career against Ottawa.

The Pens, who are 8-4-1 as the host this season, are capping a three-game road
trip today before visiting the Rangers on Monday. Pittsburgh defenseman Robert
Bortuzzo will be eligible to return from a two-game suspension in New York.
Bortuzzo received the ban for a late hit on New Jersey’s Jaromir Jagr.

Patric Hornqvist is questionable for today’s game with an upper-body injury
after absorbing a hard hit in Thursday’s loss to the Canucks. Hornqvist is
third on the Penguins this season with 25 points in 25 games.

Hornqvist joins the group of injured Pittsburgh forwards that includes Chris
Kunitz (broken foot), Pascal Dupuis (blood clots in lungs) and Beau Bennett
(lower body). In need of reinforcements to their banged-up forward ranks, the
Penguins acquired Rob Klinkhammer from the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.

Pittsburgh sent defensive prospect Philip Samuelsson to Arizona as part of the
swap, with the Penguins to also receive a conditional 2016 draft pick from the
Coyotes. Klinkhammer had three goals and a plus-three rating in 19 games with
Arizona this season. The 28-year-old established career bests with 11 goals
and 20 points over 72 games in 2013-14.