The Ottawa Senators learned Monday night why beating three non-playoff teams is one thing and the current Stanley Cup holders something else entirely.
Tyler Kennedy tallied twice in the second period as the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins skated to a 4-1 victory over the Senators at Scotiabank Place.
Kennedy has eight goals in seven career games against Ottawa compared to 22 goals in 123 games against the rest of the NHL.
"I enjoy coming here, and I really prepare well when I play here because I know they have such a great team," he said. "I just go out there and try and do my best.
"I'm just trying to help out. Everyone has to help pull the rope, and that is what I'm trying to do right now."
Senators newcomer Milan Michalek opened the scoring 15:59 into the contest, but Bill Guerin replied 39 seconds later for the Penguins (5-1-0).
"Lady Luck wasn't with us tonight," Senators head coach Cory Clouston said.
Jordan Staal rounded out the scoring for Pittsburgh as he buried rebound with 10:06 left in the third period.
Staal has scored in each of Pittsburgh's last three games.
Craig Adams had two assists and Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced to remain unbeaten through five starts this season.
"Our depth is showing a lot right now," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "We have had a lot of contributions from different guys."
"That is big for us and an important part of winning," he continued. "That is the only way you're going to have success consistently is if you have guys contributing.
"It has been different guys each night that have stepped up, but that line of Staalsie, Cookie [Matt Cooke] and TK have really stepped up, and they had some great chemistry last year, and they have built off that this year. If we can get all the lines going like that, it will be hard to play against us."
Pascal Leclaire posted 24 saves for the Senators (3-2-0), coming off consecutive wins over the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Islanders and Atlanta Thrashers.
'It was just a strange game'
Ottawa took a 1-0 lead when Jason Spezza flicked the puck from the side boards to Jonathan Cheechoo, who deked Penguins defenceman Sergei Gonchar and slid it to Michalek at the left post.
It marked the first goal in a Senators sweater for Michalek, who was acquired Sept. 13, along with Cheechoo and a second-round draft pick, from the San Jose Sharks for sniper Dany Heatley and a fifth-rounder.
Guerin tied it with 3:22 left in the first period, potting his own rebound off the end boards.
"It was just a strange game where the bounces added up against us," Clouston said.
Kennedy was credited with making it 2-1 Penguins, as Senators forward Chris Kelly inadvertently knocked the puck off the left skate of teammate Erik Karlsson and into the net 6:16 into the second period.
"A goal is a goal and I'm just excited to get them," Kennedy said.
Kennedy scored in transition with 1:59 left in the period, fooling Leclaire with a slapshot from beyond the circle for his second goal of the game and fourth this season.
"It was of a bad goal I gave up at kind of a bad time," Leclaire said. "We were fighting pretty hard to get back in the game and I kind of missed it."
Ottawa later had a glorious chance to climb back into the game, but failed to solve Fleury on a lengthy two-man advantage.
"We had a ton of chances and you would like to think that, if you keep getting chances, things will start going in," Spezza said. "We have got to practise it [power play].
"We have got a lot of new faces, and we have to establish what our objective is. It is no time to panic, but it is time to sharpen it up and simplify it."