The host Pittsburgh Penguins roared to a 6-2 victory over Ottawa in Game 5 of the NHL Eastern Conference semifinals to take the best-of-seven playoff series 4-1.
PITTSBURGH — Swarming the Ottawa Senators from the opening faceoff, the Pittsburgh Penguins roared to a 6-2 victory Friday in Game 5 of the NHL Eastern Conference semifinals to take the best-of-seven playoff series 4-1.
James Neal picked up his first postseason hat trick as the Penguins capped a five-game onslaught against one of the league’s best defensive teams to reach the conference finals. Pittsburgh scored 22 goals in the series and ended Ottawa’s season for the third time in five years.
“We gave them the respect they deserved and we came out and I think we surprised ourselves,” Neal said.
“We played with a lot of speed and got it behind them and got to the net.”
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Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin and Brenden Morrow also scored, and Tomas Vokoun made 29 saves to help give top-seeded Pittsburgh a few days of rest before facing Boston or the New York Rangers in the East finals.
“I hope (the Penguins) don’t bill us for the clinic,” Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said.
• Ty Rattie scored in the third period and Mac Carruth made 34 saves to help the Portland Winterhawks beat the London Knights of Ontario 2-1 in a Memorial Cup semifinal in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Portland will face the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Halifax Mooseheads on Sunday in the Canadian Hockey League title game in Saskatoon.