Final

Series (Game 4 of 4)

Ottawa leads 2-1

Game 1: Saturday, November 22nd
Senators1Final
OT
Penguins2
Game 2: Friday, December 26th
Penguins3Final
OT
Senators3
Game 3: Thursday, January 22nd
Penguins5Final
Senators6
Game 4: Sunday, February 22nd
Senators6Final
Penguins3

Senators 6

(34-15-5, 81 pts)

Penguins 3

(11-42-4, 31 pts)

3:00 PM ET, February 22, 2004

Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1 2 3 T
OTT 3 1 26
PIT 1 2 03

M. Havlat (Senators - RW): Goals: 3, Assists: 1

R. Malone (Penguins - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

C. Neil (Senators - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Havlat gets hat trick; Pens tie club record

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Penguins have lost more games in a row than any team in NHL history. What they don't have is the record to prove it.

Martin Havlat scored three goals, two late in the game during a four-point day, and the NHL-leading Ottawa Senators ran Pittsburgh's winless streak to a club record-tying 18 straight by winning 6-3 Sunday.

Milan Kraft and Ryan Malone scored in the second period as Pittsburgh tied it after trailing 2-0 and 3-1, but the Penguins still lost their 18th in a row (0-17-0-1) -- the most ever by an NHL team. The streak won't make the record book because of an overtime loss Feb. 14 in St. Louis; the record 17-game streaks by the Capitals (1975) and Sharks (1993) included only regulation losses.

"If you start looking at that, you'll lose focus," defenseman Brooks Orpik said. "You can get so caught up in it, it becomes a distraction. I'm just disappointed that we keep making the same mistakes over and over."

The Penguins did extend their record home losing streak to 14, three more than any other team in NHL history. Their 18-game winless streak is 12 off the league record of 30 by Winnipeg in 1980-81, but ties the team record set when they went 0-17-1 from Jan. 2-Feb. 10, 1983.

Ottawa overcame a mid-game lapse to take first place in the NHL's overall standings with 81 points, moving past the idle Red Wings, Flyers and Maple Leafs, who have 80 points apiece.

"It's tight and it will be right to the end," Senators coach Jacques Martin said. "It is a logjam."

Chris Neil put Ottawa back into the lead at 4-3 by jamming the puck past Jean-Sebastien Aubin during a scramble in front of the net late in the second period, helping the Senators remain unbeaten in regulation over their last nine games (6-0-1-2). Havlat scored twice in the final 3:33, including an empty-net goal with 14 seconds remaining.

Malone put a hard hit on Havlat after that, and Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk yelled toward Ottawa's bench as the game ended, causing both teams to hang around the ice for a few extra seconds. The Penguins were upset because Havlat camped out at the blue line and wasn't involved in the defensive end before scoring into the empty net.

"Everybody knows we're losing games," Orpik said. "If that's the way he wants to get a hat trick, good for him. He can think anything he wants to think. The way he went about it, that was his choice, but it will catch up to him sooner or later."

Havlat insisted he was more concerned about getting the two points for the victory than a 24th goal for himself.

"We had a quick lead, 2-0, but we had problems with concentration the whole game," he said. "The last time we played them (Jan. 22), we were up 6-3 but they came back and had a pretty good chance to tie in the last seconds. We did a much better job at the end this time."

After Ottawa's three-goal first period, Kraft made it 3-2 early in the second with his 12th goal and Malone tied it at 17:05 with an excellent move, skating around Jason Spezza by faking as if he would shift the puck from forehand to backhand as he accelerated across the blue line.

Characteristically for the Penguins during their longest losing run in their 37-year history, they gave up the go-ahead goal just over a minute later as Aubin couldn't prevent Neil from pushing the puck across the goal line off a Peter Bondra rebound. The officials didn't immediately signal a goal, but video replays clearly showed the puck crossing the line.

"The puck was just lying there and I just kind of kept whacking at it until it went in," Neil said. "I saw it cross the line and that's when I stopped whacking."

Antoine Vermette, Havlat and Chris Phillips scored in the first for Ottawa, which finished 2-1-1 against Pittsburgh. Havlat assisted on Phillips' third goal of the season.

Game notes


Ottawa, the NHL's highest-scoring team, has outscored Pittsburgh, the league's lowest-scoring team, 206-125 for the season. ... Ottawa backup goalie Martin Prusek made 23 saves to improve to 12-4-2. ... The longest losing streaks in the other major pro sports were by the Phillies (23 games in 1961); the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers (24 games over two seasons ending in 1983); and NFL's Chicago Cardinals (29 games through 1945). ... The Penguins recalled LW Matt Murley from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL) and returned RW Eric Meloche to the team.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES