Ottawa, ON – James Neal and Jarome Iginla each had two goals to help lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 7-3 Game 4 win over the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place.
Kris Letang registered four assists for the Penguins, who scored six straight goals at one point Wednesday night to grab a commanding 3-1 lead in this Eastern Conference semifinal series. They will look to vanquish the Senators on Friday at home.
Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis each registered a goal and one helper for Pittsburgh, which got 30 saves from Tomas Vokoun.
Daniel Alfredsson, Milan Michalek and Kyle Turris scored for Ottawa. Senators goaltender Craig Anderson was pulled after allowing six goals on 38 shots.
"See ya in Pittsburgh. We're going to Pittsburgh and we're coming to play," Ottawa head coach Paul MacLean said in a terse statement to the media.
Ottawa entered the third period down 3-2 and, considering its success this postseason in the final frame, had to like its chances of tying the game.
The Penguins put the notion of a comeback to rest by scoring four times in the first 9:53 of the period.
Neal began the barrage with a power-play tally at 1:59. Crosby's one-timer was off the mark, but the puck caromed off the end boards and came out the left side to Neal, who didn't miss.
Pittsburgh's special teams was at it again, this time scoring shorthanded. Matt Cooke held the puck as he circled the Ottawa net from right to left, before sending a backhand pass through the slot that Dupuis tapped in despite mild body contact from Sens defenseman Sergei Gonchar at 8:08.
Crosby lit the lamp 31 seconds later on an individual rush through the slot, and Iginla made it 7-2 on a power play with a one-timer from the slot to cap the burst.
Alfredsson supplied a late power-play goal for Ottawa, which had outscored its opponents by a 14-1 margin in the third period.
"I don't think you ever expect a (blowout). We did a good job sticking with it. We kept coming and we stuck with things. It would have been easy to get frustrated after the first (period) with how that went and the chances we created," Crosby said.
The Penguins got an early power-play opportunity, but they wound up falling behind by surrendering yet another short-handed goal.
Michalek took a feed from Alfredsson, sped down the middle of the ice past Pittsburgh's slow-footed tandem of Letang and Evgeni Malkin and beat Vokoun on a breakaway at the 2:29 mark of the first period.
It was an eerie replay of when the Penguins lost track of Alfredsson during a man advantage on the game-tying goal with 29 seconds remaining in Sunday's Game 3 double-overtime loss.
Despite the early hole, Pittsburgh continued to pepper Anderson, who was up to the task, denying Crosby twice on a 2-on-1 break. Crosby had an earlier chance with Anderson out of position, but Ottawa defenseman Chris Phillips made a skate save to thwart the Pittsburgh captain's bid from down low.
Neal was finally able to solve Anderson at 14:56 of the opening frame, hitting the target high on the short side with marksman-like accuracy after a faceoff in the right circle.
The game didn't remain tied for long, with Turris sweeping a rebound into an open net just 1:19 later.
Pittsburgh, however, grabbed a 3-2 lead with goals 40 seconds apart in the early moments of the second period. Chris Kunitz slipped a shot through the five-hole of Anderson on a breakaway, then Iginla buried the rebound of Letang's soft shot on the rush at 1:48.
Ottawa came close to pulling even late in the middle stanza, but Jason Spezza hit the left post on a power play during the final minute.
The Penguins upped their record to 8-2 in their last 10 Game 4s, and improved to 6-2 in their last eight Game 4s that have been played on the road. They also improved to 3-0 against the Senators in Game 4s played in Ottawa ... Alfredsson's goal gave him 100 career playoff points ... The Senators tied a franchise record for most goals surrendered in one postseason contest, after a 7-6 OT loss to Buffalo in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on May 5, 2006 and a 7-4 defeat to Pittsburgh in Game 4 of an Eastern quarterfinal on April 20, 2010.