Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby was careful not to get too far ahead of himself after helping the Penguins beat the Ottawa Senators 7-3 on Wednesday to take a 3-1 lead in their NHL Eastern Conference semi-final series.
“I’m not talking about anything ahead of Game 5,” the Pittsburgh captain said when asked about a potential Eastern Conference final against the Boston Bruins.
However, after the result and the manner of victory on Wednesday, it is hard to imagine Crosby and his teammates are not starting to think about facing the Bruins — up 3-0 in their series against the New York Rangers.
Jarome Iginla and James Neal each scored twice for the Penguins, while Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis added goals. Tomas Vokoun made 30 saves.
Down 2-1 after the first period, the visitors scored twice in a 40-second span early in the second and added four goals in the first 10 minutes in the third.
Milan Michalek, Kyle Turris and Daniel Alfredsson scored for Ottawa. Senators goalie Craig Anderson was benched after Pittsburgh’s sixth goal and Robin Lehner finished the game.
Game 5 is today in Pittsburgh.
The Senators opened the scoring on Michalek’s goal at 2 minutes, 29 seconds of the first period. Alfredsson fed the puck up the middle to a streaking Michalek, who broke through the defense and beat Vokoun low on the glove side.
It was the Senators’ first lead of the series and it would not last.
Neal tied it with 5:04 left in the period, picking up the loose puck in the slot and putting it in the back of the net. Turris put Ottawa back in front off a rebound with 3:45 left in the first.
Pittsburgh tied it early in the second when Kunitz got behind the defense and went in alone to beat Anderson. Less than a minute later, Anderson gave up a rebound on Kris Letang’s shot that landed on the tape of Iginla’s stick to make it 3-2.
Neal started the third-period flurry with a power-play goal at 1:59. Dupuis added a short-handed goal at 8:07, Crosby followed at 8:39 and Iginla scored on a power play at 9:53.
Alfredsson finished the scoring with a late power-play goal for his 100th career playoff point.