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Batherson scores OT winner, Sens beat Penguins to snap seven-game skid

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OTTAWA — Losing seven straight games can make it hard for a team not to start feeling a little sorry for itself, but it’s amazing what a win can do for the psyche.

Thanks to Drake Batherson’s overtime winner Tuesday night, the Ottawa Senators were able to pick up a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins and snap their losing skid.

“It’s been quite a bit since we got a win,” said Batherson, who set a new career high by scoring his 23rd of the season. “It was a nice play by (Jake Sanderson) to (Tim Stutzle) and then Timmy just made a great play to me back door and I was able to just squeeze it in.

"I’ll take it for sure."

The overtime period had end-to-end action with both teams generating chances.

The game remained scoreless after 40 minutes thanks in great part to impressive performances by Ottawa’s Joonas Korpisalo, who made 34 saves, and Pittsburgh’s Tristan Jarry, who stopped 37 shots.

Ottawa (26-33-4) appeared to open the scoring at 4:08 of the third when Claude Giroux beat a heavily screened Jarry. The Penguins challenged for goaltender interference and after a lengthy review it was waived off, much to the chagrin of the 19,236 on hand.

Mathieu Joseph was in front of Jarry on Giroux’s goal, but he made no mistake setting up Sanderson for his eighth of the season at 11:06.

“It’s been frustrating for sure,” said Sanderson. “We’re resilient and we’re trying to stick with it here. To our fans, we’re going to battle to the end no matter what.”

The Penguins have had their own struggles of late, losing their previous three games while being outscored 15-1 through that stretch.

“I didn’t think we did as good a job tonight getting to the net front, we’ve got to do a better job fighting for that area of the rink,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan. “Making the sightlines difficult, create more broken plays where we get a chance to create off that initial shot. I didn’t think we did a good enough job in that area tonight.”

The Penguins forced the game to overtime with Michael Bunting scoring with 22.6 seconds remaining, but couldn’t find a way to beat Korpisalo in the extra frame.

While the Penguins are desperately searching for a way to spark their offence, Senators interim head coach Jacques Martin took much pleasure in a low-scoring game.

“I thought we battled hard,” said Martin. “They’re a team that plays hard and plays the right way. I thought we were composed and we did a lot of good things. There were some ups and downs in the game and I thought we handled it pretty good. We had a goal taken away and we didn’t pack it in.

"It’s the type of game when you go into the playoffs so you have to be prepared to play those types of games.”

While the Senators' playoff hopes were dashed a long time ago, the Penguins are still chasing down the final wild card in the Eastern Conference. They sit seven points back of the New York Islanders but remain confident despite the challenge.

“I believe we’re still in it,” said Sullivan. “Until we’re not in it, we’re still in it and so that’s how we have to look at it.”

Jarry took little comfort in playing a solid game knowing how crucial each point is at this time of the season.

“A loss is a loss at the end of the day,” said Jarry. “We’re in a tough spot and that’s the only way you can look at it at this time of year. It’s tough to be in this position and we need the wins and maybe one more save might have done it.”

The Senators swept the season series 3-0 with the win.

NOTES

Zack Ostapchuk made his NHL debut after being recalled from the American Hockey League’s Belleville Senators. ... Senators C Josh Norris will miss the rest of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery for the third time. ... Parker Kelly served the second and final game of his suspension.

UP NEXT

Ottawa heads to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets on Thursday.

Pittsburgh returns home to host San Jose on Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 12, 2024.