Pens rout Sens in Game 5, roll into East finals

Updated: May 24, 2013


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.

The Penguins took the lead 6:25 into the game on Brenden Morrow’s second of
the playoffs. Matt Cooke made a move to get clear of the defender along the
right boards and fired the puck over to the left side for Mark Eaton, who sent
it to the front where the puck went off the stick and right skate of Morrow
for a 1-0 lead.

Ottawa got a chance to tie the game later in the first when Sidney Crosby was
called for hooking at 13:41, but the team was unable to get through and Vokoun
finished the frame with 10 saves.

An interference call on Jean-Gabriel Pageau after he cross-checked Craig Adams
gave the Pens a power play at 5:54 of the second period.

Letang was able to get the puck on net from the left side as he tried to bank
it in off of Anderson. The disc then sat out front and Neal was able to jam it
in with several bodies in front at 7:38 for a 2-0 advantage.

Just over five minutes later, the Pens made it a 3-0 game during 4-on-4 action
as Tyler Kennedy gained the zone through the middle and dished it over to the
left for Letang, who cut to the front before lasering a wrister past the glove
of Anderson for his third of the playoffs.

Ottawa was handed a power play at 14:17 of the second when Doug Murray was
called for delay of game after flipping the puck over the glass. Jason Spezza
had the puck behind the net and flung a backhand pass to the front where
Michalek switched to the backhand and stuffed it in to cut the score to 3-1
with 3:42 left in the frame.

Pittsburgh, though, got the goal back as Malkin was sprung on a breakaway by
Neal and he buried the puck in the left side for his fourth of the postseason
with 29.2 seconds left for a 4-1 lead going into the third.

Neal scored his second of the game with 8:53 to play when he picked off a
Sergei Gonchar pass down low and quickly stuffed it in for a 5-1 advantage.

Turris’ goal off a snap-shot from the right side came with 6:28 to go, but
Neal capped the hat trick when he skated in down the left side and dragged the
puck back before firing it home for his sixth of the playoffs with 2:39 left.

Game Notes

Pittsburgh has won three of the four playoff series against Ottawa … Malkin
and Letang each have 16 points in the playoffs, one point back of Boston’s
David Krejci for the lead … Ottawa hasn’t made it past the semifinals since
reaching the Stanley Cup finals in 2007 … Neal’s hat trick was his first
ever in the playoffs, and the 13th in Pittsburgh’s postseason history …
Pittsburgh went 1-for-4 on the power play while Ottawa was 0-for-5.