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Penguins eliminate Senators

PITTSBURGH — The Penguins expected desperation.

Instead, the listless Senators offered little more than resignation.

Swarming from the opening faceoff, Pittsburgh roared to a 6-2 victory Friday night in Game 5 of the Eastern conference semifinals to take the best-of-seven series 4-1.

James Neal picked up his first postseason hat trick as the Penguins capped a five-game onslaught against one of the NHL's best defensive teams. Pittsburgh had 22 goals in the series to end 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.

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 the Bruins or Rangers in the East final.

The Penguins will take the time off, but considering the way they're rolling at the moment they wouldn't mind if the next round started sooner rather than later.

"We got to our game a lot," Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby said. "The depth we showed, different guys chipping in. The whole way through we didn't have many lulls where we lost momentum at any point."

Certainly not against the overmatched Senators. Milan Michalek and Kyle Turris scored for Ottawa and Craig Anderson stopped 27 shots, but the Senators couldn't keep up.

"I hope (the Penguins) don't bill us for the clinic," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said. "But they really showed the step you have to take to continue to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs."

One and perhaps two rounds remain for the Penguins, ones that figure to pose a stiffer test than the one the Senators provided. Ottawa destroyed Montreal in the opening round but could never find its footing against Pittsburgh. The series lasted 327 minutes. The Senators led for all of 17.

"We gave them too many freebie chances and you're not going to beat a team like that when they get as many chances as they had," Ottawa forward Jason Spezza said.

Late Thursday: Kings take 3-2 series lead

LOS ANGELES — Jonathan Quick saved his best save for the final minute, sliding deftly across his crease and snagging Joe Pavelski's shot from point-blank range to the grateful gasps of a sellout crowd. Quick's imposing postseason presence only appears to be growing, and the Sharks are running out of time to figure him out. Quick had 24 saves in his seventh career playoff shutout, and the Kings moved to the brink of their second straight West final with a 3-0 victory late Thursday in Game 5, the 13th consecutive home victory for the defending Stanley Cup champions. The home team has won the first five games of the series.

Coyotes: The league, which runs the franchise, signed general manager Don Maloney to a long-term contract that will keep him with the franchise no matter where it ends up. Maloney has been Phoenix's GM for six seasons, the past four while operating under the restraints of being run by the NHL after former owner Jerry Moyes took the franchise into bankruptcy in 2009.

Penguins 1 3 2 6
Senators 0 1 1 2

First Period1, Pittsburgh, Morrow 2 (Eaton, Cooke), 6:25. PenaltiesCrosby, Pit (hooking), 13:41.

Second Period2, Pittsburgh, Neal 4 (Letang, Crosby), 7:38 (pp). 3, Pittsburgh, Letang 3 (Kennedy, Orpik), 12:48. 4, Ottawa, Michalek 3 (Spezza, Turris), 16:18. 5, Pittsburgh, Malkin 4 (Neal), 19:30. PenaltiesPageau, Ott (interference), 5:54; Neil, Ott (interference), 11:15; Malkin, Pit (holding), 12:15; Murray, Pit (delay of game), 14:17; Turris, Ott (holding), 18:48; Kunitz, Pit (slashing), 18:48.

Third Period6, Pittsburgh, Neal 5, 11:07. 7, Ottawa, Turris 6 (Cowen, Greening), 13:32. 8, Pittsburgh, Neal 6 (Malkin, Letang), 17:21. PenaltiesAlfredsson, Ott (hooking), :40; Neil, Ott (slashing), 3:51; Turris, Ott (slashing), 4:27; Martin, Pit (roughing), 4:27; Cooke, Pit (slashing), 7:49; Jokinen, Pit (holding), 18:50. Shots on GoalOttawa 10-12-9—31. Pittsburgh 12-9-12—33. Power-play opportunitiesOttawa 0 of 5; Pittsburgh 1 of 4. GoaliesOttawa, Anderson 5-4-0 (33 shots-27 saves). Pittsburgh, Vokoun 6-1-0 (31-29). A18,656 (18,387). T2:39. Referees—Dan O'Rourke, Kevin Pollock. LinesmenLonnie Cameron, Jay Sharrers.

Penguins eliminate Senators 05/24/13 [Last modified: Saturday, May 25, 2013 1:08am]

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