Sidney Crosby put up his second career playoff hat trick as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-3 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Friday night at Consol Energy Center. The Pens now lead the best-of-seven series 2-0.
Crosby beat Ottawa netminder Craig Anderson three times in the game’s first 22 minutes of action, thus sending the goalie to the bench after stopping 18 of 21 shots. The last time Crosby scored three goals in a playoff game was against the Capitals back in 2009.
Tomas Vokoun did enough in net to pick up his fourth staight victory in relief of Marc-Andre Fleury. He stopped 19 shots on the night.
For his first goal, Crosby collected a pass from defenseman Paul Martin at the Pittsburgh blue line and then flew up ice on the left side. He split two Ottawa defensemen and then proceeded to fire a shot under Anderson’s pad to get the Penguins on the scoreboard 3:13 into the game.
Center Klye Turris tied the game up for Ottawa with a power play goal at 13:15 of the first period. Turris collected the puck near the left post and shot if off Vokoun and into the net.
Then it was time for Crosby to put the Penguins back in the lead at 16:07 of the first period, when he kept the puck on a 3-on-2 rush and got a wrist shot past Anderson when he ran out of passing options near the goal line. That goal allowed Crosby to past Ron Francis for fourth place on the team’s all-time postseason scoring list.
At 1:15 of the second period, Sidney Crosby completed the hat trick with a slap shot on the power play past Anderson. That was when Senators coach Paul MacLean decided to pull Anderson in favor of 21-year-old Robin Lehner.
But just 40 seconds later, Ottawa left wing Colin Greening beat defensman Deryk Engelland and Tomas Vokoun to make the score 3-2.
Left wing Brenden Morrow put the Penguins back up by two when he deflected a Paul Martin shot past Lehner at 8:04 of the second period. It was Morrow’s first postseason goal since May 14, 2008, while he was playing for the Dallas Stars.
Ottawa center Jean-Gabriel Pageau got his team within one on the scoreboard when he found a loose puck behind Vokoun during a goalmouth scramble at 2:01 of the third period.
However, the Senators couldn’t complete the comeback as the Penguins managed the puck well and held it in Ottawa’s zone for long stretches of time as the clock ticked down. The Sens got just five shots on Vokoun after Pageau’s goal.
Ottawa’s only advantage was in penalties as they had seven penalties for a total of 14 minutes while Pittsburgh had just three penalties called on them for a total of six minutes. Lehner was strong, stopping 20 of 21 shots in relief, including some big stops in the third period to keep the Sens within a goal.
Game 3 of the series is set for 7:30 p.m. on Sunday at Ottawa’s Scotiabank Place. The contest will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network.
From The Clipboard: Pittsburgh chose to scratch defensemen Simon Despres, Mark Eaton, and Robert Bortuzzo along with left wings Tanner Glass and Dustin Jeffrey, right wing Beau Bennett and center Jussi Jokinen…Crosby reached the 100-point plateau in his 75th playoff game. He is the fifth-fastest player to reach the mark in NHL history….Defenseman Paul Martin extended his points streak to four games with an assist in the first period. It is the longest of his playoff career…. Friday night marked the first time for the Penguins to win the first two games of a playoff series in Pittsburgh at Consol Energy Center.