Penguins leave offense at home in overtime loss to Senators
OTTAWA — Evgeni Malkin has a burning desire to score goals. It’s been a defining characteristic of his game for the past 12-plus seasons.
On Saturday night, it cost the Pittsburgh Penguins a point in the standings.
Malkin was guilty of a bad line change in overtime, and Ryan Dzingel converted on the ensuing power play, giving the Ottawa Senators a 2-1 victory.
The loss ended a modest two-game winning streak for the Penguins, who are 5-2-3 in their past 10. They’ve dropped four straight games decided after regulation: three in overtime and one in a shootout.
In the run-up to the penalty, Sidney Crosby corralled the puck in the defensive zone and held it as tired teammate Jake Guentzel made his way to the bench. Thinking he could jump on the ice, take a pass from Crosby and move in on a breakaway, Malkin turned overzealous and left the bench too soon.
“It’s my fault,” Malkin said. “I think I jumped a little bit early, but I see Sid has the puck. I tried to jump and have a breakaway. Probably I needed to wait one more second.”
On the power play that followed, Dzingel took a cross-ice pass from Mark Stone at the bottom of the right faceoff circle and wired a shot in under the crossbar.
“It’s frustrating because we don’t want to put ourselves in that position, and I know Geno doesn’t want to put us in that position,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “I think he’s anxious to get on the ice, but we’ve got to show a little bit more discipline there.”
Penalty trouble was a major problem for the Penguins in the game. From the 9-minute mark of the second period on, the Senators held a 5-1 advantage in power plays.
Whether that was a result of a lack of discipline by the Penguins or an uneven job of officiating done by referees Kevin Pollock and Furman South was a topic that was very much open to debate after the game.
Crosby was diplomatic.
“We did a lot of good things, but you can’t expect to win games, especially close games, putting yourself in that position time and time again,” he said.
Malkin was less so.
“Not just tonight. It’s like every game,” he said. “It’s crazy how many times we played on the PK. I think we played a better game. Forty minutes, we played in the offensive zone and they had five power plays and we had two. I don’t know. How many times high-stick against Sid? It’s a dangerous penalty.”
Penalties aside, the Penguins dominated possession throughout much of the game. They practically doubled up the Senators in shot attempts (85-43) and scoring chances (37-18) but could manage only a 1-1 tie in regulation.
Thomas Chabot scored for Ottawa in the first period on a shot from the blue line past an Olli Maatta screen.
Jean-Sebastien Dea, playing in his first game back with the Penguins after being reclaimed on waivers from the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 29, evened the score in the second period. He skated up the right wing past defenseman Ben Harpur and beat goalie Craig Anderson short side.
“It feels really good to get that first goal in the first game,” Dea said. “It gives me a lot of confidence moving forward.”
Otherwise, though, it was a frustrating offensive night for the Penguins, who lost in Ottawa for the second time in three weeks.
“I thought we dominated a lot of the game,” Sullivan said. “We couldn’t find a way to score more goals. There was a lot to like about our effort tonight.”
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.