James Neal scored three goals and the Pittsburgh Penguins advanced to the National Hockey League’s Eastern Conference finals with a 6-2 win against the Ottawa Senators, wrapping up their playoff series in five games.
The Penguins, who won the best-of-seven series by four games to one, will face either the Boston Bruins or the New York Rangers for a spot in the Stanley Cup finals. The Bruins lead that series 3-1 with Game 5 today in Boston.
“We gave them the respect they deserved and we came out and I think we surprised ourselves,” Neal said. “We played with a lot of speed and got it behind them and got to the net.”
Brenden Morrow, Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin also scored last night for the Penguins at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Milan Michalek and Kyle Turris had the goals for Ottawa.
“I hope they don’t bill us for the clinic,” said Ottawa coach Paul MacLean. “But they really showed the step you have to take to continue to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs.”
In the other game tonight, the Detroit Red Wings will try to eliminate the host Chicago Blackhawks with a victory in Game 5 of their Western Conference series.