(Sports Network) - The top-seeded Pittsburgh Penguins will try to finish off the Ottawa Senators on Friday when they host Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at CONSOL Energy Center.
The Penguins jumped out to a 2-0 lead in this series before the seventh-seeded Senators got on the board with a 2-1 overtime triumph in Game 3 at Scotiabank Place. However, Pittsburgh answered the call in Wednesday's Game 4 in Ottawa, slamming the Senators by a 7-3 score to take a commanding 3-1 lead in this best-of-seven set.
Wednesday's game began well for the Sens, who grabbed a 1-0 lead on Milan Michalek's shorthanded goal just 2:29 into the game. Ottawa would carry a 2-1 edge into the first intermission, but Pittsburgh would answer with the six unanswered goals to take a stranglehold on both the game and series.
James Neal and Jarome Iginla each had two goals to help the Penguins rout the Senators in Game 4. Kris Letang registered four assists, while Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis each registered a goal and one helper for Pittsburgh.
"I don't think you ever expect a (blowout)," said Crosby. "We did a good job sticking with it. We kept coming and we stuck with things. It would have been easy to get frustrated after the first (period) with how that went and the chances we created."
Tomas Vokoun also made 30 saves to improve to 5-1 in this postseason. The veteran goaltender has been Pittsburgh's starter since taking over for an ineffective Marc-Andre Fleury prior to Game 5 of the opening round against the New York Islanders.
In addition to Michalek's early goal, Daniel Alfredsson and Kyle Turris scored for Ottawa. Senators goaltender Craig Anderson was pulled after allowing six goals on 38 shots, but he will get the start again in Game 5.
The Senators tied a franchise record for most goals surrendered in one postseason contest, after a 7-6 OT loss to Buffalo in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals on May 5, 2006 and a 7-4 defeat to Pittsburgh in Game 4 of an East quarterfinal on April 20, 2010.
"See ya in Pittsburgh. We're going to Pittsburgh and we're coming to play," Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean said in a terse statement to the media.
Alfredsson, the Senators' longtime captain, did not seem as optimistic as his coach following Wednesday's lopsided loss.
"Probably not," Alfredsson said when asked if his team has a chance to come back and win this series. "I mean, with their depth and power play right now, it doesn't look too good for us."
The 40-year-old Alfredsson, who reached 100 career playoff points with his goal on Wednesday, is considering retirement and Friday's game could be the final contest of his standout NHL career.
The Sens are 2-3 on the road in the playoffs and were just 10-11-3 away from Scotiabank Place during the regular season. Pittsburgh was 18-6-0 in the Steel City during the season and is 4-1 at CONSOL Energy Center in the 2013 postseason.
If necessary, Game 6 will be played Sunday in Ottawa.
Pittsburgh Goal - Brenden Morrow (2), from Mark Eaton and Matt Cooke at 6:25.
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh (Hooking), 13:41.
Pittsburgh Power-Play Goal - James Neal (4), from Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby at 7:38. 3,
Pittsburgh Goal - Kris Letang (3), from Tyler Kennedy and Brooks Orpik at 12:48. 4,
Ottawa Goal - Milan Michalek (3), from Jason Spezza and Kyle Turris at 16:18. 5,
Pittsburgh Goal - Evgeni Malkin (4), from James Neal at 19:30.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Ottawa (Interference), 5:54; Chris Neil, Ottawa (Interference), 11:15; Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh (Holding), 12:15; Douglas Murray, Pittsburgh (Delaying Game-Puck over glass), 14:17; Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh (Slashing), 18:48; Kyle Turris, Ottawa (Holding), 18:48.
Pittsburgh Goal - James Neal (5), unassisted at 11:07. 7,
Ottawa Goal - Kyle Turris (6), from Jared Cowen and Colin Greening at 13:32. 8,
Pittsburgh Goal - James Neal (6), from Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang at 17:21.
Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa (Hooking), :40; Chris Neil, Ottawa (Slashing), 3:51; Kyle Turris, Ottawa (Slashing), 4:27; Paul Martin, Pittsburgh (Roughing), 4:27; Matt Cooke, Pittsburgh (Slashing), 7:49; Jussi Jokinen, Pittsburgh (Holding), 18:50.
Shots on Goal:
Ottawa 10 + 12 + 9 =
Pittsburgh 12 + 9 + 12 =
Power Play Conversion:
Ottawa, Craig Anderson 6-33-.818. Pittsburgh, Tomas Vokoun 2-31-.935.
Dan O'Rourke, Kevin Pollock
Lonnie Cameron, Jay Sharrers
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - James Neal notched a hat trick and an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins advanced past the Ottawa Senators with a 6-2 win in Game 5 of this Eastern Conference semifinal series.
The Penguins are now back in the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2009, when they swept the Carolina Hurricanes on the way to their third Stanley Cup title in franchise history.
Tomas Vokoun, who has been the starter for Pittsburgh since taking over for Marc-Andre Fleury prior to Game 5 of the opening round series against the Islanders, stopped 29 shots to improve to 6-1 in this postseason.
Kris Letang had a goal and two assists while Evgeni Malkin gave a goal and an assist for the Penguins, who will face the winner of the New York Rangers/Boston Bruins series in the conference finals.
Kyle Turris and Milan Michalek each scored for the Senators, who had dispatched the Montreal Canadiens in the opening round.
Craig Anderson, who was tagged for six goals on 38 shots in a 7-3 loss in Game 4, gave up all six goals on 33 shots in the defeat.