PITTSBURGH — Tristan Jarry made 44 saves in his return from a lower-body injury, and the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-1 at PPG Paints Arena on Friday.
Jarry missed seven games since being injured in the first period of the 2023 Discover NHL Winter Classic at Fenway Park in Boston, a 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Jan. 2. He was one save shy of tying his career high of 45 in a 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 23, 2019.
“I thought I was seeing the puck well,” Jarry said. “I’ve had a little bit of time off. Obviously, it’s never easy having to watch games and it’s never easy having to watch guys go out every night and give it their all, and you can’t be out there with them.”
Jake Guentzel had two goals and an assist, and Bryan Rust had two assists for the Penguins (23-15-7), who are 2-0-1 since losing eight of their previous 10. They lost 5-4 in overtime at Ottawa on Wednesday.
Brady Tkachuk scored, and Cam Talbot made 40 saves for the Senators (20-22-3), who have lost three of four and five of seven.
“The guys, they kept pushing. They tried,” Ottawa coach D.J. Smith said. “I thought if you look at the chances, Jarry made some unreal saves. If he’s not as hot as he is tonight, we probably get a bunch more.”
Rickard Rakell and Jason Zucker scored 43 seconds apart to give Pittsburgh a two-goal lead in the first period.
Rakell put the Penguins ahead 1-0 on a power play at 11:14, scoring from left of the crease on a rebound after Guentzel deflected a point shot from Jeff Petry, who returned from missing 16 games with an upper-body injury.
Zucker scored in a third straight game to make it 2-0 at 11:57 by spinning off Senators defenseman Jacob Bernard-Docker and wrapping a backhand around the left post. Seven of his 13 goals this season have come in the past 11 games.
“It’s just fun,” Zucker said. “Scoring goals is why you play the game. Winning games, winning Cups, that’s the goal around here. For me, I know scoring helps win games.”
Guentzel pushed it to 3-0 at 17:12 of the second period, taking a pass from Rust to the right face-off circle for a snap shot.
“I thought there were momentum swings in the game,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “There were times where Ottawa had it, there were times where we had it. I thought the shots came in flurries. They tended to come in flurries when they did.”
Tkachuk cut it to 3-1 at 18:55 by banking a shot in off Sidney Crosby in the crease. Tkachuk had one goal and three assists on Wednesday, scoring the game-winner 25 seconds into overtime.
“We’re just trying to put our head down and play the entire game,” Ottawa forward Derick Brassard said. “We played a good team. We were expecting a big push from them. We beat them last game. … The bottom line is they capitalized on their chances, and we didn’t put the puck in the net.
“They did a good job. We scored four power-play goals last game, so we were expecting them to be a little bit tighter. It’s just frustrating when you’re shooting so much and have chances.”
Guentzel scored his second goal at 6:13 of the third period for the 4-1 final, when his pass intended for Crosby went in off the stick of Bernard-Docker.
The Senators outshot the Penguins 21-12 in the third.
“Both goalies actually played well,” Ottawa forward Mathieu Joseph said. “But I think we made it a little too easy. I don’t think we were in front of the net enough. He was good, like I said, but it’s hard to score in this league.”
NOTES: Guentzel is the fourth Penguins player in the past 20 years to have six straight seasons with at least 40 points, joining Crosby (11 seasons from 2012-13 to 2022-23 and six seasons from 2005-06 to 2010-11), Evgeni Malkin (seven seasons from 2013-14 to 2019-20) and Chris Kunitz (six seasons from 2010-11 to 2015-16). … Joseph had four hits in 12:04 of ice time in his first game since Dec. 8. He was a healthy scratch Wednesday after being sidelined the previous 17 games with a lower-body injury. … Pittsburgh forward Kasperi Kapanen did not play with a lower-body injury. He is week to week.