The Penguins were having trouble pulling away from the Ottawa Senators.

They missed on a couple of good scoring chances.

They lost defenseman Matt Niskanen late in the first period to an unspecified injury.

And, as the second period unfolded, they began to have some of the same lapses that led to two losses in a row before this game Sunday at Scotiabank Place.

But the Penguins weren't going to play the part of fish in a barrel for the Senators. They got strong play from goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and the five remaining healthy defensemen, then got goals from their three big-name forwards in the shootout for a 2-1 win.

That kept them from falling under .500, moving to 3-2 in a lockout-shortened season where making up ground is tough to do.

"I thought our team did a pretty good job of realizing we were in that position and had to play on the defensive side a little bit more and play in the offensive zone to minimize the impact on our [defensemen]," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.

Ottawa was missing a key component, too. It played without captain Daniel Alfredsson, who was a late scratch because of illness.

Fleury stopped 31 shots and another in the shootout and played "as solid and square as we've seen him," Bylsma said of his goalie, who previously in regular-season starts in Ottawa was 2-4 with two no-decisions and was pulled in four of the eight games.

James Neal, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin beat Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson in the shootout, while Fleury stopped Milan Michalek before letting in goals by Jason Spezza and Kyle Turris.

"I think we needed a good 60-minute game," Fleury said. "We got a good 65-minute game.

"Guys were careful defensively. We didn't give up too many back-door [plays] or odd-man rushes."

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