Marc-Andre Fleury is finding his groove, which doesn’t bode well for an Ottawa Senators team seeking more offensive consistency.
Fleury and the Penguins seek a fifth consecutive win Friday night at the expense of the struggling Senators.
Watch the game live on Sportsnet East today at 1 p.m. ET.
Pittsburgh (12-8-2) has gone 6-0-1 in its last seven games, all started by Fleury. After going 1-6-0 with a 3.54 goals-against average in his first eight contests, Fleury has posted a 1.82 GAA during this surge.
He is coming off his first shutout this season, making 30 saves to beat Buffalo 1-0 on Wednesday.
“It’s a lot more fun, definitely,” said Fleury, who recorded his 17th career shutout. “Everybody’s been contributing. When you win, nothing else matters.”
Fleury is 5-7-1 with a 3.87 GAA against the Senators, whom he has not faced this season.
Fleury has been helped by the strong play of Pittsburgh’s penalty killers. The Penguins have not given up a power-play goal in six games, a span of 20 chances.
Ottawa (10-10-1) has dropped five of seven, including a 2-1 defeat to Dallas on Wednesday. The Senators, who totaled 19 shots and failed to convert on either of their power-play opportunities, were held to two or fewer goals for the sixth time in seven games.
“It was not a very exciting game at all,” forward Mike Fisher said. “(Leclaire) kept us in for a lot of the game and made some big saves and we didn’t generate a lot as far as quality chances and when we did Raycroft was there. We just didn’t seem to have any spark or jump that we needed.”
Ottawa’s power play has been nearly non-existent, going 2 for 17 the last seven games after converting five of 17 during a four-game winning streak.
Erik Karlsson, fourth on the team with 11 points, was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. Coach Cory Clouston has left the second-year defenceman out of the lineup after he picked up five penalties in a three-game stretch prior to a 3-2 win over Los Angeles on Monday.
He likely won’t play in this game either after going minus-3 in Ottawa’s loss to Pittsburgh last month.
The Penguins have won two of their last three at home versus the Senators, outscoring them 14-8.