James Neal, who had never scored a home playoff goal, recorded a hat trick and added an assist on Friday night as the Pittsburgh Penguins skated past the Ottawa Senators 6-2 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, and won their NHL Eastern Conference semifinal series 4-games-to-one.
The Penguins will move on to take on the winner of the series between the Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers for the conference championship and a berth in the Stanley Cup finals. The Bruins led the Rangers 3-games-to-one, pending the teams’ contest in Boston on Saturday evening.
Kris Letang tallied a goal and two assists on Friday night, while Brenden Morrow and Evgeni Malkin also found the net for the Pens. Tomas Vokoun, now 6-1 this postseason, made 29 saves as the winning goaltender.
Milan Michalek and Kyle Turris scored for Ottawa. Craig Anderson stopped only 27 of 33 Pittsburgh shots.