Home Pittsburgh Sports College Football Penguins open floodgates, pummel Ottawa 7-0 in Game 5

Penguins open floodgates, pummel Ottawa 7-0 in Game 5

Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel each scored, while the Third Line was responsible for nine combined points as the Penguins stomped the Ottawa Senators, 7-0 in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals Sunday afternoon.

Forget about any momentum you thought Ottawa had.

That balloon popped faster than the ears of a passenger on a rapidly-descending airplane Sunday afternoon, as the Pittsburgh Penguins enforced their authority, strength and will, putting the Senators in a wire-to-wire tailspin, and stomping them by a touchdown’s score of 7-0 in Game five of the Eastern Conference Finals at PPG Paints Arena.

The Penguins need just one more win to close the series and advance to their second consecutive Stanley Cup Finals.

The seven-goals scored matches a postseason-high for the Pens, which has not been reached since a 7-3 win over Ottawa on May 22, 2013.  It also marked the Penguins’ largest postseason shutout victory since 2000.

Pittsburgh punched in four goals in the first 12 minutes of the game, pasting 14 shots in 20 minutes on goalie Craig Anderson, who was pulled for Mike Condon in the final two periods of the game.

Olli Maata opened the scoring, ripping a one-timer from near the blue line, off a Bryan Rust kick-back at the 8:14 mark of the first period.

Overall, the Pens sprayed 36 shots on goal, scoring three more goals on the backup Condon, including a surgical Sidney Crosby-to-Phil Kessel finish on the man-advantage 50 seconds into the third period.

“This was one of the more complete efforts, for sure. We’ve had a few of them. This is one of them,” said Coach Mike Sullivan.  “I thought our guys had a readiness about them tonight that we’re going to need moving forward if we’re going to get to where we want to go.  This is a real good opponent that defends extremely hard; so to have the effort that we had tonight, the readiness that we had tonight, that will to win that we’ve had conversations about here over the last few weeks, it’s so important to win at this time of year.”

Pittsburgh went a perfect 3-for-3 on the power play, with goals from Trevor Daley (1) and Crosby, who tickled the twine on a redirect off a Daley one-timer, that found the fortituous Crosby, then banged off Anderson’s blocker and in.

Crosby reached a franchise-best 100 career postseason assists on the Kessel goal.  Evgeni Malkin passed Mario Lemieux in the assist department, and is just three assists behind #87, after Geno was on the passing end of three goals on the night, marking his league-best 17th of the postseason on the final dish to the finishing Daley, which closed the scoring midway through the third period. 

“We played our game,” said Malkin.  “The last four games we didn’t score that many goals, but we saved it for this game.  Everything worked.  All four lines played unbelievable.  It’s very important to play as one team.”

Bryan Rust, who returned from his injury to join the Nick Bonino-Carter Rowney third line, also jumped in on the cavalcade of scoring, punching in the third goal of the game, marking his sixth of the postseason.

The third line combined for nine total points, including a +3 night from Bonino, who was on two assists in 15:26 of ice time.

“Getting Rusty back is always good for the lineup. The way he plays, getting it on the forecheck, is how we’ve wanted to play the last couple games,” said Bonino of how Rust completes the third line.  “I think our goals came from turnovers and good forechecks and good dumps. We turned one over to get to Olli for a goal, he goes to the net, and I hit it off him.”

On the flip side of the ice, Matt Murray kept the door completely sealed, securing his second career postseason shutout, stopping all 25 Ottawa shots.

The Pens’ netminder has allowed just three goals in the last three games he has played since taking over for Marc-Andre Fleury in game three.

“You just kind of get lost in the game, no matter if it is in your end or not,” said Murray, who had a quiet night in terms of facing shots, despite 30 scoring opportunities on the night for the Senators.  “You are looking for what’s open, what’s not.  Talk a little bit more.  When the puck is not around, you just kind of stay engaged.  At the end of the day you really can’t control whether or not you’re getting shots, so it’s something I’m not really worried about.”

With 15-career wins, Murray is now fourth in NHL History in most postseason wins before turning 23.

Despite the utter-domination from start-to-finish for the Penguins, Malkin made it quite clear that game six will be a brand-new game with a new slate for both teams.

“It looks easy when you score seven goals, but it is not an easy game,” Geno explained.  “The last four games we couldn’t find our game, but today everything worked, and everything looked easy.  I hope next game, we know it is different.  We know about Ottawa.  They’ll change their game.  They are a top team.  We need to forget this game and just play like it’s a new hockey game, for sure.”

That new hockey game, the first chance to win the Eastern Conference Finals, will come Tuesday night at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa.  Puck drops for game six at 8 PM.

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