Senators join century club

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

The numbers kept piling up for the Senators last night, their point total hitting the 100 mark and, it seems, their number of injuries, too.

The Senators beat the Penguins 5-2 in a chippy game in front of another sellout crowd at Scotiabank Place, hitting the century mark in points for the third straight season and for the fifth time in the last seven seasons. They also clinched a playoff spot for the ninth straight season and increased their lead over the Carolina Hurricanes to four points atop the Eastern Conference.

But the gloss was taken off the Senators' 47th win of the season with defenceman Anton Volchenkov suffering a suspected concussion in the first period.

BOGUNIECKI STIRS IT UP

The Senators lost Vochenkov when his head was slammed into the end glass by the shoulder of Penguins forward Eric Boguniecki in the first period. That led to a long string of incidents in what started out to be a sleeper but wound up with some fireworks.

There was no penalty on that play, though Boguniecki could have been called for boarding as he leapt into the hit. Volchenkov was kept out of the rest of the game and will be assessed today.

"That's a big loss for us," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "He's been playing well for us. That was an obvious situation where he's back with his face to the wall. I don't know if (Boguniecki) left his feet ... I don't know how it's not a five-minute penalty and (Boguniecki) is out of the game. I talked to the refs and they said they didn't see it that way.

"When there's no call, that opens the door for a lot of things that are not allowed."

"That could have been taken care of better by the referees," said Senators defenceman Zdeno Chara, who was at the centre of a melee at the end of the second period. "Anton is not a guy to stay on the ice if he's not hurt. That's (Boguniecki)'s second hit from behind on us (the other was on Christoph Schubert earlier this season). I thought it should have been five minutes at least."

The Senators are already without goaltender Dominik Hasek, centres Mike Fisher and Jason Spezza, and winger Martin Havlat.

The Penguins, meanwhile, weren't happy with a third-period hit on star rookie Sidney Crosby by Senators defenceman Andrej Meszaros. Crosby was clipped in a leg-on-leg collision when he swerved to avoid Meszaros' hit and Meszaros stuck out his left foot.

"That was an attempt to injure on Crosby. (Meszaros) went for his knee," said Penguins coach Michel Therrien. "(Crosby's) lucky he got out of the way at the last second. I hope the league takes a long look at it."

Meszaros said he was just trying to hit Crosby, not hurt him.

There was an undercurrent of nastiness after the Volchenkov hit with Senators winger Chris Neil hitting Boguniecki a couple of times, but things got really hot at the end of the second.

The two teams started milling about in front of the benches and Penguins tough guy Eric Cairns and Chara started throwing them in the scrum (well, Chara did most of the throwing, connecting on a half-dozen big rights before Cairns got his sweater off his own head and pushed Chara to the ice in front of the Penguins bench).

40 MINUTES FOR CAIRNS

Cairns was called for spearing somewhere in that scrum as he was assessed a total of 40 minutes (five for spearing, five for fighting, a misconduct and two game misconducts).

"I got speared twice and I don't like that," said Chara. "I did what I had to do. It's not my first priority to drop the gloves, but I'm not afraid to do it. I'm not going to back off from anybody. Sometimes you have to make a statement."

Ottawa led 1-0 after the first on captain Daniel Alfredsson's 38th goal of the season on the power play before the game was three minutes old.

The Penguins tied it up on a short-handed goal by Colby Armstrong in the second, but Meszaros restored the lead just 17 seconds later on the power play at 7:13.

Chris Kelly, with the Senators' 21st short-handed goal of the season, and Neil, with his 15th of the year (originally credited to Meszaros), made it 4-1 early in the third.

Pittsburgh's Tomas Surovy made it 4-2 after a giveaway by Ottawa's Vaclav Varada, but Antoine Vermette scored another short-handed goal at 15:08 to close out the scoring.


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