Dupuis' goal gives Penguins 4-3 win at Ottawa, series

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OTTAWA -- The Penguins did not plan to spot Ottawa a 3-0 lead.

There was nothing in the game plan about failing to score in the first 30-plus minutes of the game Saturday night, and coach Dan Bylsma never said anything to suggest that having another sluggish start would be a swell idea.

Didn't matter.

OK, so maybe Game 6 of the Penguins' opening-round playoff series against Ottawa did not go exactly as they would have scripted it, but they had absolutely no complaints about how it ended as they claimed a spot in Round 2 with a 4-3 overtime victory.

Pascal Dupuis scored the winning goal at 9:56 of overtime, beating Senators goalie Pascal Leclaire from just below the left dot.

"I didn't know it was in until everybody starting [jumping] on me," said Dupuis, who did not have a goal during the 2009 playoffs. "It's an unbelievable feeling."

Neither the starting date nor the Penguins' opponent for the next round has been determined.

The story line in this game was strikingly similar to the one from their Game 6 victory in the opening round against Philadelphia in 2009.

They again were on the road and spotted the opposition a 3-0 lead before rallying to pull out the victory. One difference this time: Max Talbot did not have to lose a fight to spark the comeback.

"We're a pretty superstitious group," defenseman Mark Eaton said, smiling. "This is the way we did things [against the Flyers] last year. ... We're just keeping the tradition going."

Penguins center Sidney Crosby, who had 14 points in the first five games, was held off the score sheet in Game 6.

With Ruslan Fedotenko scratched for the fourth time in the series, Bylsma reconfigured three of his forward lines: They looked like this: Alexei Ponikarovsky-Evgeni Malkin-Max Talbot, Matt Cooke-Jordan Staal-Dupuis and Chris Conner-Craig Adams-Mike Rupp.

The Chris Kunitz-Crosby-Bill Guerin unit remained intact.

Matt Cullen gave the Senators a 1-0 lead at 5:19 of the opening period when he got behind the Penguins' defense and beat goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who made an unsuccessful attempt to poke the puck away.

"They started better in almost every game of the series," Eaton said. "They did it again [in Game 6]. ... They came out and won every battle, got to every loose puck and outplayed us for the first half of the first period."

The Penguins came close to generating a tying goal at 12:40, when Rupp swiped at a puck in front of the Ottawa net. The on-ice ruling was that Leclaire stopped the puck with his left leg before it crossed the goal line, and a lengthy video review concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to change it.

"It has to be indisputable to overturn it," Rupp said. "Common sense-wise, it's probably a goal, but that's not how it works."

His near-goal quieted the crowd, but Chris Neil re-energized it at 1:51 of the second, making it 2-0 by backhanding in a Chris Kelly rebound from close range.

Daniel Alfredsson threw a shot inside the far post from the left circle to put Ottawa up by three at 9:48 of the second, but Cooke countered for the Penguins 58 seconds later, when he backhanded in a loose puck.

"That was big for us," defenseman Alex Goligoski said. "Really, from there on, we took the play to them."

Each team then lost a possible goal to video replay -- one by Ottawa's Mike Fisher at 16:19, another by Ponikarovsky at 5:42 of the third -- but the Penguins' surge continued when Bill Guerin beat Leclaire from high in the left circle at 7:03 of the third.

"After we got that second one," Goligoski said, "we knew it was coming."

What they didn't know was that Cooke would tie the game with his second of the night at 12:24 as he converted an Eaton rebound from the front lip of the crease.

That was one of 18 shots the Penguins launched in those 20 minutes, when they seized control of the game.

"In the third, the guys played awesome," Fleury said. "And we finally got the win."

And did not mind at all that it did not look the way it had been drawn up.

For more on the Penguins, read the Pens Plus blog with Dave Molinari and Shelly Anderson at www.post-gazette.com/plus . Dave Molinari: dmolinari@post-gazette.com .


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