Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) waits for play to resume
after allowing a goal to Pittsburgh Penguins' Evgeni Malkin
during the second period in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference
semifinals in their NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs series,
Friday, May 24, 2013, in Pittsburgh. The Penguins won 6-2 to
advance to the Eastern Conference finals.
Boston or the New York Rangers? To be honest, Ottawa's Daniel
Alfredsson doesn't think it matters who the Pittsburgh Penguins
face in the Eastern Conference finals.
At the moment,
Alfredsson believes the Penguins are a cut above.
they would be the favorite to play either of those two
teams," Alfredsson said. "They have skill, speed,
they're well-coached and a lot of experience as well. So they're
going to be a tough team to beat."
tough for the Senators.
recorded his first playoff hat trick and Pittsburgh reached the
conference finals for the first time since 2009 with a 6-2
dismantling of Ottawa on Friday night, winning the best-of-seven
series in five games.
improved to 8-3 in the postseason. Eight more wins and they'll
hoist the Cup for the fourth time in franchise history.
you go, the tougher it gets," Penguins defenseman Doug Murray
said. "Every player starts smelling the end result."
wafting through the Pittsburgh dressing room after the Penguins
dominated one of the NHL's best defensive teams, rolling up 22
goals in five games, including 12 in the last five periods.
"We got to
our game a lot," Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said.
"The depth we showed, different guys chipping in. The whole
way through we didn't have many lulls where we lost momentum at
Penguins' James Neal (18) celebrates his second goal of the
game with teammates Evgeni Malkin (71) and Jarome Iginla
(12) during the during the third period in Game 5 of the
Eastern Conference semifinals in their NHL hockey Stanley
Cup playoffs series against the Ottawa Senators, Friday, May
24, 2013, in Pittsburgh. Neal had a hat trick and lead the
Penguins to a 6-2 win. The Penguins advance to the Eastern
Evgeni Malkin and Brenden Morrow also scored, and Tomas Vokoun
made 29 saves as top-seeded Pittsburgh ended Ottawa's season for
the third time in five years.
and Kyle Turris scored for the Senators. Craig Anderson stopped 27
shots, but Ottawa simply couldn't keep up.
"I hope (the
Penguins) don't bill us for the clinic," Senators coach Paul
MacLean said. "But they really showed the step you have to
take to continue to play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs."
expected desperation from a team trying to extend its season for
at least another 48 hours. Instead, the Senators offered only
outshot and outworked from the opening faceoff, Ottawa put up
them too many freebie chances and you're not going to beat a team
like that when they get as many chances as they had,"
Senators forward Jason Spezza said.
The series win
was the seventh for the Penguins under coach Dan Bylsma but the
first deciding victory to come on home ice. Pittsburgh had gone
0-6 at home in potential series enders, something Bylsma's players
insisted was an anomaly.
sure a trip to Canada for Game 6 wouldn't be necessary, turning
Alfredsson into a prophet of sorts. The NHL's longest-tenured
captain said the Senators "probably" couldn't rally to
win the series after a 7-3 home loss in Game 4 on Wednesday night.
clarified his remarks Thursday, insisting his team still had a
chance, but it didn't take long Friday night for slim to turn into
able to slow them down," Alfredsson said.
Sluggish from the
opening faceoff, the Senators slogged through the game's first 10
minutes, long enough for Morrow to pay immediate dividends in his
return to the lineup.
forward was scratched from Game 4 in favor of rookie Beau Bennett
but appeared re-energized after the night off. He got his second
goal of the playoffs 6:25 into the first period, scoring the type
of goal the Penguins expected when they acquired the 34-year-old
from Dallas just before the trade deadline.
Cooke beat a Senator to a loose puck along the halfboards then
zipped a cross-ice pass to defenseman Mark Eaton. Morrow skated to
the net and lifted his stick up to draw Eaton's attention. Eaton
patiently waited for Morrow to get in front of the crease before
throwing a puck toward the net that deflected off Morrow's skate
and into the net.
The goal was held
up on review and the Senators found themselves in familiar
Ottawa came into
the game having led for just 17 minutes in regulation during the
entire series, all in Game 4 before Pittsburgh buried the Senators
with a four-goal outburst in the third period.
This time, the
deluge came a little earlier.
Neal scored for
the third time in two games when he poked in an idle rebound on
the power play to put Pittsburgh up 2-0 7:38 into the second
period. Letang followed with a wrist shot over Anderson's glove at
the end of a 3-on-2 break to make it 3-0.
made it competitive with a beautiful deke around Vokoun to pull
the Senators to 3-1 with 3:48 left in the second but Malkin scored
his fourth goal of the playoffs on a breakaway just before the
intermission to restore the three-goal lead.
overcome a deficit bigger than one goal in the postseason and Neal
ensured there would be no meltdown by the Penguins. A pair of
sizzling wrist shots in the third period gave him his first career
playoff hat trick and sent the Penguins roaring into hockey's
went 1 for 3 on the power play and improved to 6-0 when it
outscores an opponent on special teams in the postseason. ...
Ottawa is 0-6 in franchise history when it falls behind 3-1 in a