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Lemieux has goal, two assists as Pens top Sens

10/31/2002

OTTAWA (AP) -- Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins are
making opponents pay attention to the NHL's crackdown on penalties.

Lemieux scored a goal and had two assists to lead the Penguins
to a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday night.

Dick Tarnstrom, Jan Hrdina and Alexei Kovalev also scored for
Pittsburgh, which won its third straight to improve to 6-2-2.

The Penguins scored twice in five power-play opportunities.
Pittsburgh has scored 17 power-play goals in 10 games and leads the
league with a 27.8 percent success rate with the man advantage.

''We've always had a good power play in Pittsburgh but not like
this one, so far, early in the season,'' Lemieux said. ''We've
spent a lot of time on it and we talk a lot about it, and the guys
know exactly what their jobs are -- how we're going to react in
certain situations.''

Lemieux increased his league-leading points total to 23, setting
up goals by Tarnstrom and Kovalev before scoring his sixth of the
season on a power play 2:56 into the third.

''The personnel we have, everybody can handle the puck and see
the ice very well so it makes it easy,'' Lemieux said. ''Look at
Kovie on the point, and Dick back there's doing a great job -- he's
seeing the ice very well -- and (Aleksey) Morozov and Hrdina.

''The five guys on the ice know exactly what we have to do and
we move the puck extremely well and quick. We find the seams and
we've been doing that for the last few games now so it's working
well.''

Lemieux and Kovalev extended their points streaks to nine games.
Both players have points in every Penguins game since a
season-opening 6-0 loss to Toronto.

''We started the season playing pretty good, even in the first
game when we lost 6-0,'' Kovalev said. ''The difference between
then and now is we started putting the puck in the net.''

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson scored a power-play goal for
his fifth of the season as Ottawa's winless streak stretched to
four games. Ten of Ottawa's 16 goals this season have been scored
on the power play.

''Scoring is our biggest problem, obviously, especially
5-on-5,'' Alfredsson said. ''We've got to get better at creating
chances at even strength and getting some goals there. That's
what's been hurting us.''

Penguins goalie Johan Hedberg made 21 saves to improve to 5-1-2.

Alfredsson opened the scoring with a power-play goal 2:07 in as
Hedberg misplayed his slap shot from the point that passed through
a screen set up by Senators right wing Brad Smyth.

Pittsburgh tied it on a power play at 6:28 as Lemieux passed the
puck back and forth with Morozov before Morozov fed Tarnstrom, who
shot into the open right side past Patrick Lalime.

The Penguins took a 2-1 lead 5:51 into the second after Lalime
misplayed the puck behind his net. Pittsburgh's Alexandre Daigle
passed to Kris Beech, who fanned on his attempt from the slot
before Hrdina swept in to beat Lalime for his third of the season.

''That was a great giveaway for us,'' Daigle said.

Kovalev got his eighth of the season at 12:11 to increase the
lead to 3-1. Lemieux made it a three-goal advantage early in the
third when he one-timed a slap shot from the point through Lalime's
legs.

Game notes
The Senators gave assistant coach Roger Neilson a portrait
of himself in recognition of his upcoming induction into the Hockey
Hall of Fame. Lemieux skated over to shake his hand as Neilson
walked off the ice after the presentation. ... Lemieux has five
goals and 17 assists during his streak, and Kovalev has eight goals
and seven assists. ... Daigle, chosen by Ottawa with the first pick
in the 1993 draft, was loudly booed by the Corel Centre crowd of
17,987 when his assist was announced. ... Senators C Martin Havlat
missed the game and is day-to-day after leaving Tuesday's 2-1 loss
in Philadelphia because of a groin injury. ... Smyth, recalled from
Binghamton of the AHL, made his Senators debut.