Penguins strike early, rout Senators in Game 5


On Tuesday night, the Penguins will get the next test of their ability to start an opponent's summer when they face the Ottawa Senators in Game 6 of the Easter Conference finals. Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson (41) sits on the bench after being pulled from the game during the first period of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final in the NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoffs in Pittsburgh, Sunday, May.

OK, however, its hard to argue with the fact the Penguins have made adjustments and they shredded the Senators to pieces defensively Sunday, plus goaltender Matt Murray has allowed only two goals in the almost nine periods he has played since taking over for Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 4. The Penguins are on the verge of a return trip to the Cup Final, and will need their top playmaker firing on all cylinders.

Senators coach Guy Boucher said after the game - a 7-0 Pittsburgh victory - that he decided not to play Karlsson in the third period with the Senators trailing 5-0.

Sidney Crosby, Bryan Rust and Phil Kessel each had a goal and an assist, and Carter Rowney and Evgeni Malkin each added three assists for Pittsburgh, which became the first team to win two straight games in the series. In the second, Mike Condon returned and finished the game after Anderson had allowed four goals on 14 shots.

Penguins goalie Matt Murray started for the second consecutive game. Game 6 is Tuesday night in Ottawa. For the start of the second-period, Condon played.

Ottawa's Anderson stopped 10 of 14 shots faced in the first period.

They managed just six goals in those games, including a single goal in three games, and yet they managed to enter Game 5 in a 2-2 series tie with the Ottawa Senators. "We've got to get up and go".

The momentum Pittsburgh generated did more than carry over.

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On that possession, per the Tribune-Review's tally, the Penguins completed 17 passes, attempted eight shots, tracked down eight loose pucks, and forced two Senators turnovers.

Dumoulin made it 3-0 less than four minutes later with a shot from the left point that caromed in off Ottawa defenseman Dion Phaneuf's skate.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan juggled his lines so all of them have a combination of finesse and grit.

Rust set up Maatta's opening goal by grabbing a loose puck in the Ottawa zone - a common occurrence during the Senators' nightmarish first period - then dropping it to Maaatta.

This could be the clubs final home game of the season unless the Senators can come back in the series and compete in the Stanley Cup final, which will open on May 29. It was a stark change for a power-play unit that had previously struggled in the series.

Before the game, Senators coach Guy Boucher said that defenseman Mark Borowiecki continues to be close but isn't quite ready to return to the lineup. "That was one of those ones where you try to collapse and really throughout that shift, they didn't have many shots but they were all over the puck cycling". When Cullen beat him 1:54 into the second to make it 5-0, the competitive portion of the afternoon over. Don't make your players watch the display that was so, so ugly - sorry, let's correct that to so, so UGLY - that Senators fans back home turned off their televisions in disgust.

Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson left in the second period Sunday. Pittsburgh dominated on special teams, too, going 3-for-3 on the power play and 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. It's unfortunate the National Hockey League didn't stay consistent in a similar play, but that's the National Hockey League for you. It also lifted Malkin past Jaromir Jagr into third place on Pittsburgh's all-time playoff points list with 148. RW Patric Hornqvist (upper-body injury), D Justin Schultz (upper-body injury) and RW Tom Kuhnhackl (lower-body injury) remained out for the Penguins, with D Mark Streit replacing D Chad Ruhwedel (concussion), who was hurt in Game 4. F Conor Sheary was a healthy scratch.