Penguins travel to Sweden, split opening series

By Jay Huerbin

The Pittsburgh Penguins were one of four teams selected to travel to Europe to participate in… The Pittsburgh Penguins were one of four teams selected to travel to Europe to participate in the NHL Premiere Series. Playing in back-to-back games in Stockholm, Sweden, the Penguins return back home with a 1-1-0 record after splitting the series with the Ottawa Senators. Pittsburgh 4, Ottawa 3 The 4000-mile trip to Sweden didn’t seem to faze Pittsburgh forward Tyler Kennedy this past Saturday. Kennedy, who worked his way up the Penguins’ system last season, earned an opening day roster spot this season. He needed less than a minute of regulation to show Penguin coach Michel Therrien that he deserved it. His goal, 40 seconds into the season opener, jumpstarted a Penguins team that would see back-and-forth action all game. With the final minute of overtime coming to a close, attention again turned to Kennedy, who ended the game on a wrist shot coming down the left boards. ‘If there is one guy who deserved to score the winner, it’s Tyler Kennedy,’ said Therrien in his post-game conference. ‘He worked so hard again tonight, not only offensively, but defensively … He was an inspiration for his team tonight.’ The Senators responded to Kennedy’s goal in the first by tallying one of their own midway through the first period as Shean Donovan tipped in a shot by Dean McAmmond. Evgeni Malkin gave Pittsburgh the lead by scoring a shorthanded goal 3:18 into the second period, but back-to-back goals by Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza gave Ottawa a 3-2 lead heading into the third intermission. But the defense for the Penguins came up with some offense of its own from an unlikely source, as Rob Scuderi scored his third career goal in 220 games. ‘It’s obviously been a while for me,’ said Scuderi following the game. Marc-Andre Fleury stoped 32 of 35 shots and earned the win. ‘Since we’ve played them in the playoffs the past two years, I think there is a good rivalry between us,’ said Fleury. ‘And to get that first win was good for us.’ Penguins 1, Senators 3 Less than 24 hours after Pittsburgh defeated Ottawa, the two teams faced off again in Sweden with different results. Heatly scored two power play goals, and the Senators took care of the Penguins in the second of back-to-back games between the two teams. Special teams played a big part in the Penguins loss. If it were not for defenseman Alex Goligoski’s power play goal with less than two seconds remaining in the game, the Penguins would have gone 0 for 6 in that department. The Senators left Sweden having allowed only one goal in 14 situations. ‘Everyone is working together and working hard and caring about not getting scored on,’ said Senators forward Chris Kelly following the game. ‘So, that’s a major thing when you’re killing penalties.’ Behind Heatly’s two goals, the Senators were 2 for 5 on the power play. Antoinne Vermette also scored for the Senators. The intensity of the game also picked up with enforcers Eric Godard (Penguins) and Chris Neil (Senators) getting into rough hockey throughout the game. Godard’s double-minor roughing penalty in the third led to the Senators’ first goal. Fleury started the game again at goaltender and stopped 24 of 27 shots but ended up with the loss. The Senators switched up the goalies by sitting Martin Gerber, who started the first game, and went with 6-foot-5-inch netminder, Alex Auld, who recorded 30 saves and missed the shutout by two seconds. The Senators left Stockholm with three out of a possible four points, while the Penguins tallied two. The two teams won’t meet again this season until Dec. 6 when the Senators play host at Scotiabank Place in Kanata, Ontario.