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Stopping the Pittsburgh Penguins' offense hasn't been an easy task lately, but the Ottawa Senators might have the right goaltender for the job.
The Penguins look to continue their recent strong offensive play Saturday when they visit the Senators and hot goalie Alex Auld.
The Penguins (15-6-4) have alternated wins and losses over their last five games, but have scored four goals or more in each of the three victories in that span as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin continue to carry the offense.
Crosby had four assists Thursday in a 5-2 victory at Carolina, giving him six goals and eight assists during a five-game point streak. He has three points or more in five of his last seven games.
Malkin, whose league-leading 41 points are two ahead of Crosby, has three goals and seven assists over the last five games, including two assists against the Hurricanes as Pittsburgh bounced back the night after blowing a two-goal lead in a loss to the New York Rangers.
"We probably deserved better against the Rangers," Crosby said. "We knew (Carolina would) be motivated. I think it was important to weather the storm."
Including last season's first-round playoff sweep, the Penguins have defeated Ottawa (9-10-4) in five of the last six meetings. Pittsburgh opened the 2008-09 season Oct. 4 with a 4-3 overtime win over the Senators in Stockholm, but Ottawa evened the season series with a 3-1 victory the following day.
In the playoff sweep of the Senators, Crosby and Malkin combined for four goals and 11 assists.
Auld stopped 30 of 31 shots to earn the win for Ottawa in the Oct. 5 meeting, improving to 4-1-0 with a 2.01 lifetime GAA versus the Penguins.
"(The Penguins) are guys you get excited to play against," Auld told the Senators' official Web site. "You always want to play against the best, and they're a real good team."
An offseason free-agent acquisition from Boston, Auld has gone 3-1-2 with a 1.44 GAA in his last six starts overall to lower his season GAA to 1.96. He stopped 22 of 23 shots Wednesday in a 5-1 victory over Atlanta - the Senators' third win in four games.
Daniel Alfredsson had a goal and an assist against the Thrashers for his second straight game with two points. He has also four goals and nine points in his last eight games, and has tallied at least one point in 17 of the 22 games in which he's played.
Heatley, the team leader with 13 goals and 25 assists, has five points in the last two games and 10 in the last seven. He had a goal and two assists Wednesday.
Although Heatley failed to score a goal in last spring's playoff sweep, he has found the back of the net in seven consecutive regular-season games against the Penguins, including a two-goal effort in Ottawa's Oct. 5 victory.