PENGUINS OUST SENATORS IN FIVE GAMES
Too much depth, too much star power and too much skill from the Pittsburgh Penguins overwhelmed the Ottawa Senators once again in Game 5 as the Penguins ousted the Senators in five games with a 6-2 win on Friday night at Consol Energy Center in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
The Penguins are off to the Eastern Conference Finals in a likely showdown with the Boston Bruins who lead the New York Rangers 3 games to 1 in their best of seven series.
Tonight’s 6-2 win over Ottawa was a complete win for the Penguins in all facets tonight. James Neal had 3 goals and an assist, leading the way for the high scoring Penguins who are scoring at a historic pace with 47 goals in 11 playoff games.
Brenden Morrow (2) played over Beau Bennett tonight and opened the scoring 6:25 into the game and Pittsburgh jumped out to a 3-0 lead after goals from James Neal (4, power play) and Kris Letang (3) in the second period. Milan Michalek (3) cut the Penguins lead to 3-1 at 16:18 of the second period and 3:12 later Evgeni Malkin (4) halted any chance of a Senators comeback beating Craig Anderson on a breakaway goal with 30 seconds left to push the Penguins lead to 4-1.
Neal (5) added his second goal of the game at 11:07 of the third period to make it 5-1 Penguins. Neal scored off a Sergei Gonchar turnover who had a brutal final two games in the series. Neal (6) would net his first career hat trick of the playoffs with 2:39 left, pulling a toe drag on Erik Karlsson and burying a shot past Anderson for a beautiful goal and the Penguins sixth goal of the game.
Neal who broke out in Game 4, has 5 goals in his last two games, and ended Round 2 with 8 points in series. Kris Letang leads all NHL players with 10 points in Round 2.
Letang had another big night offensively with a goal and 2 assists. Letang is tied with Evgeni Malkin for the team-lead with 16 points in the playoffs.
VOKOUN IMPROVES TO 6-1 IN POST-SEASON
Tomas Vokoun made 29 saves to improve to 6-1 in the post-season. Vokoun’s emergence since being named starter in Game 5 against the Islanders, has ended any goalie controversy talk that there might have been at the start of the series as he is the Penguins No. 1 goaltender for the rest of the post-season, barring injury to Vokoun.
PENGUINS LOCKDOWN IN NEUTRAL ZONE DEFENSIVELY
While the Penguins overwhelmed the Senators in just about every critical area tonight, what stood out from a defensive standpoint was how from the drop of the puck they played lockdown defense in not giving the Senators the neutral zone. That was a huge key to the Penguins just dominating the puck possession game tonight.