Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby tends to step it up a notch when playing in the postseason, especially against the Ottawa Senators.
Crosby posted his second career playoff hat trick Friday to lead the Penguins to a 4-3 victory over the Senators in Game 2 of this Eastern Conference semifinal series from CONSOL Energy Center.
The Nova Scotia-born center has owned Ottawa in recent years, picking up at least one point (10G, 15A) in nine of his past 11 postseason games against the Sens.
"It's not something you want to get too caught up in, but it's always nice to score and obviously to get a hat trick, I know it feels good," Crosby said. "And to get the win, it makes it a lot better when you win."
Brenden Morrow registered Pittsburgh's other goal, which ended up being the deciding tally for the Pens, who have a 2-0 lead in a series for the first time since sweeping the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2009 Eastern Conference finals en route to their last Stanley Cup title.
Tomas Vokoun stopped 19 shots in the victory, Pittsburgh's fourth in a row.
Kyle Turris, Colin Greening, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau each scored once for the Senators, who fell to 2-3 on the road in the 2013 playoffs.
Craig Anderson allowed three goals on 21 shots before being removed following Crosby's third goal early in the second. Robin Lehner, making his first career postseason appearance, stopped 20-of-21 shots in relief.
The Senators will look to get back on track Sunday when they host Game 3.
With the Pens on a power play early in the second, Crosby capped his hat trick and gave the hosts a 3-1 edge at the 1:15 mark with a laser from the left circle that sailed over the far-side shoulder of Anderson, who was promptly lifted in favor of Lehner.
Ottawa answered 40 seconds later when Greening beat Vokoun high to the short- side from the left wing, but Morrow's mid-air deflection off Paul Martin's point blast restored Pittsburgh's two-goal lead at 8:04.
The Senators sliced the lead in half 2:01 into the third when a shot from the slot squirted through a scrum in front and trickled toward the goal line before Pageau pounded it home to make it 4-3.
Pittsburgh clamped down defensively from there, allowing just five shots on Vokoun the rest of the way to hang on for the victory.
"We were not ready to match [their start]," Ottawa coach Paul MacLean admitted. "Catch-up hockey is losing hockey. We have to make sure we're ready for the next game at the start."
Crosby opened the scoring 3:16 into the contest with a gorgeous individual effort, as he danced around Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson at the Ottawa blue line before wristing a shot from the left circle through the five-hole of Anderson to make it 1-0.
Ottawa evened things on the power play at the 13:15 mark when Turris threw a shot on net from a tough angle on the low left side that snuck past Vokoun.
Crosby answered under three minutes later with an odd-angle shot of his own, as he worked his way to the Ottawa goal line before throwing a shot on net that caught Anderson leaning toward the middle. The puck hit off the netminder's right pad and went in for a 2-1 Pittsburgh lead at 16:07.
The marker moved Crosby past Ron Francis for sole possession of fourth place on the franchise's all-time postseason point list with 101.
With his first goal, Crosby reached 100 points in the postseason in just his 75th game, becoming the fifth fastest player to accomplish the feat ... Crosby's other postseason hat trick came against Washington, on May 4, 2009 in a 4-3 loss to the Capitals in Game 2 of that Eastern semifinal ... Ottawa defenseman Eric Gryba did not play after leaving Game 1 in the second period with an upper-body injury ... Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin registered his 11th assist of the postseason and has notched at least one point in every playoff game this season ... Martin and Kris Letang each finished with two helpers for the Pens ... Ottawa fell to 1-5 in its past six Game 2s.