OTTAWA — The only thing Sidney Crosby liked about this one was the final score.
David Perron scored the shootout winner to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 5-4 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night. Crosby, with two goals, Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin also scored for the Penguins, while Thomas Greiss made 29 saves.
It was a struggle for the Penguins, though. They blew a 3-0 lead and needed Perron to beat goaltender Robin Lehner in the shootout to get both points.
"I don't think it started right in the third," Crosby said of Pittsburgh's slippage. "I thought the second we weren't great as well. I think we had one shot in the second period. We didn't really set ourselves up for a good third."
And they didn't get one.
Down 3-0 to start the third period, the Senators made an impressive comeback to tie the game 4-4 late in the period. Mika Zibanejad, Mike Hoffman Mark Stone and Kyle Turris scored for the Senators, playing their first of a five-game homestand. Lehner, making his career-high seventh consecutive start, stopped 25 shots.
After struggling to beat Greiss, Zibanejad got Ottawa on the board after taking a nifty pass from Bobby Ryan.
Ryan picked up his second assist of the night as he and Hoffman worked a give-and-go, culminating with Hoffman's 18th of the season.
Crosby regained the two-goal lead for the Penguins as he spotted a loose puck between Lehner's legs and pushed it in.
But Ottawa went on to score goals 13 seconds apart to tie the game. Stone took a pass from Turris in close to beat Greiss, then Turris scored through Greiss' pads to make it 4-4.
"It wasn't a good third period," Pittsburgh coach Mike Johnston said. "I think when you look at a period like that I think you have to learn from it. The big thing for me, I thought we sat back a little bit, we were back on our heels."
Perron scored the only goal of the shootout with a quick wrist shot.
Ryan was awarded a penalty shot after being pulled down by Letang in the second period. Ryan made a great move, but Greiss read it well and made the stop.
Shortly after, Erik Karlsson fired a shot that bounced off Greiss' head and fell behind him. But the Penguins netminder somehow managed to keep it out of the net. Greiss then stopped Karlsson again from in close.
The Senators kept coming.
"We came in and said this team's going to be identified by how we respond," Ryan said, "and I thought for the most part throughout the year we've responded pretty well and I think this was no different."
The Penguins added to the Senators' frustration when Malkin scored from the faceoff circle to make it 3-0. They had opened the scoring 61 seconds into the game as Letang beat Lehner on a wraparound. Then Crosby picked up his first of the night after taking a sharp pass from Rob Scuderi and rifling a shot past Lehner.
"When you get down early it can go either way," Ryan said, "and I thought the guys came in after the first and regrouped and stuck together. But I certainly feel like we left one out there."
Notes: C Jean-Gabriel Pageau and D Patrick Wiercioch were healthy scratches for Ottawa. G Craig Anderson (hand) and D Chris Phillips (maintenance) are day to day for the Senators. ... C Zack Smith skated for the first time since injuring his wrist in December. ... D Christian Ehrhoff and RW Steve Downie were healthy scratches for Pittsburgh.
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