Stanley Cup playoffs: Penguins pour it on in 7-0 rout, push Senators to brink

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Reigning NHL Stanley Cup champions the Pittsburgh Penguins demolished the Ottawa Senators 7-0 to move on the cusp of another finals berth.

Pittsburgh - who have outscored their opponents 16-5 in the Eastern Conference finals - brought the house in game five on Sunday and with it saw the return of a balanced scoring attack with 11 different players entering the scoresheet.

The Penguins lead the series 3-2 and are one win away from another trip to the Stanley Cup finals.

Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel added to their mounting playoff goal totals (seven apiece) and so did Scott Wilson and Matt Cullen, who entered with four goals between them.

Carter Rowney matched Evgeni Malkin's three-assist performance, the former notching the first playoff points of his NHL career. 

Between seven separate goal scorers, the Penguins chased Senators starter Craig Anderson before the first intermission.

Anderson allowed four goals on the first 14 shots he faced and failed to finish a start for the first time this postseason.

The Senators played the third period without top defensemen Erik Karlsson and Cody Ceci and forward Derick Brassard, who head coach Guy Boucher said were resting and could have played if the game were closer.

Pittsburgh's power play went three-for-three, while Ottawa is mired in an 0-for-29 drought with the man advantage that extends over their last 10 games.

The series shifts to Ottawa for game six on Tuesday.

 

Three stars

Carter Rowney, Penguins - At this time of year, Penguins tend to come out of the woodwork. Rowney tallied three assists in game five. The 28-year-old forward was skating in his 12th game this postseason and had yet to record a point. 

Evgeni Malkin, Penguins - Malkin extended his NHL-leading points tally to 23 with his three assists. Crosby, who had a goal and an assist, is directly behind him in the number two slot with 19 points.

Matt Murray, Penguins - Murray might not get enough credit for his play in such a lopsided affair, but the 22-year-old has stopped 68 of 71 shots since taking over for Marc-Andre Fleury in game four. 

 

Highlight

Crosby assisted on Phil Kessel's power-play goal 50 seconds into the third period with a slick behind-the-back pass. It was the 100th helper of the captain's playoff career, making him the 22nd player in NHL history to reach the mark.

 

Monday's game to watch

Western Conference finals: Ducks at Predators - In Nashville's latest biggest hockey game ever, the Predators are on the precipice of their first Stanley Cup Final trip in franchise history. Both teams are riddled by injury, but John Gibson's status looms largest. The Anaheim Ducks will need their number one goalie healthy and in form to force a game seven on Monday.