Penguins lead series, 3-1
Sidney Crosby had two goals and two assists, and the Pittsburgh Penguins scored five second period goals en route to a 7-4 win over the Ottawa Senators in game 4 on Tuesday night to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.
The opportunistic Penguins jumped out to a 4-0 lead and countered the Senators at nearly every opportunity.
Evgeni Malkin opened the scoring with a power-play goal 11:50 into the game and in the second period, the quick strike Penguins proved to be too much for the Senators.
Sidney Crosby led a five goal period for Pittsburgh, scoring twice, including 3:47 into the second and Matt Cooke scored 12 seconds after Crosby’s first goal to give Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead.
Crosby and the Penguins weren’t done as Crosby struck again beating Brian Elliott with a wrist shot from just inside the right circle to give Pittsburgh a 4-0 lead and chasing Elliott from the net.
Trailing 4-0, Ottawa began to show some life as Chris Neil got Ottawa on the board and Daniel Alfredsson cut the Penguins lead in half with his first goal of the playoffs at 10:59 of the period.
Momentum was suddenly moving in Ottawa’s direction and a Jordan Staal hooking penalty at 11:45 of the period put the Senators on the power play and in position to get within one goal.
Max Talbot put an end to the Senators hopes of climbing back from a 4-0 deficit, scoring a short-handed goal at 12:38 to make it 5-2.
Talbot who saves his best for the playoffs, deflected home a Craig Adams pass in what was a deflating goal for the Senators.
Matt Cullen and Chris Kunitz also added in goals in the period as the eight goal period fell one short of the NHL playoff record.
Kunitz finished the night with a goal and two assists.
A Jason Spezza power play goal at 7:37 of the third period, got the Senators within two goals again but the Penguins responded just minutes later when Jordan Staal scored a power play at the 12:27 mark to push Pittsburgh’s lead to 7-4.
The goal was Staal’s first goal of the playoffs and his first in 12 games.
The Penguins showed for the third consecutive game that they are the superior team in the series.
Pittsburgh outshot Ottawa 42-30 and costly mistakes such as bench minors continue to plague the Senators. The Senators lead the playoffs with three bench minors and led the league in the regular with 13.
While Pittsburgh is getting production from all areas of their lineup, Sidney Crosby has been the Penguins catalyst in the series.
Crosby leads all playoff scorers with 11 points (4 goals and 7 assists) and is playing dominant two-way hockey.
Crosby is a plus-7 in the series and is 57.7% (45-33) on face-offs, making his mark as the leagues most complete player.
The Senators have been unable to contain Pittsburgh’s one-two punch of Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The Penguins dynamic duo has combined for 8 goals in the series through four games.
Marc Andre Fleury made 26 saves in the win to record his 34th career playoff victory. Brian Elliott made 15 saves on 19 shots before being pulled in the second period.
Pascal LeClaire made 20 saves and became the goalie of record.
Pittsburgh was 2-for-7 on the power play but struggled once again on the penalty kill, giving up 2 power play goals.
Game 5 is Thursday night
Playoff Notes: *The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the New Jersey Devils 4-1 Tuesday night to take a 3-1 series lead. Since the NHL lockout, the Devils have been prone to 1st round defeats.
*The Detroit Red Wings who are looking to reach the Stanley Cup Final for a third straight season, tied up their first round series, defeating the Phoenix Coyotes 3-0 Tuesday night. The series is tied 2-2.
*Pittsburgh recalled defenseman Deryk Engelland Tuesday morning. The team has nine defensemen on their playoff roster.
Defenseman Jordan Leopold is sidelined in Pittsburgh due to a concussion.
*Goaltender Brent Johnson served as the Penguins backup for the first time in two games.