The Pittsburgh Penguins made sure there was no doubt in anyone’s mind as to why they are the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference this year. After a first-round win over the New York Islanders in six games, it only took five games for them to dismantle the Ottawa Senators.
While the No. 1 team in the Western Conference, the Chicago Blackhawks, are on the verge of elimination, the Penguins made a statement in this series.
In the five games, the Penguins outscored Ottawa 22-11. Only two games, Game 2 and 3, were decided by one goal. The other three games were decided by at least thee goals. Game 3 was the only game in which the Senators defeated Pittsburgh, and they needed overtime to do it.
James Neal, who scored his first goal of the season in Game 4, had a hat trick in Game 5. This is a good sign for Pittsburgh. Neal was second this season behind Chris Kunitz in goals scored with 21.
Of course, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that the Penguins had the offensive output they did this series. Pittsburgh led all the NHL with 3.38 goals-per-game. Chicago was second with 3.10 goals-per-game. Pittsburgh also averaged almost one goal more a game than their opponent. The only team better was Chicago.
The Penguins now wait for the winner of the Boston Bruins and New York Rangers series. Boston currently has a 3-1 series lead. The way the Penguins are playing, though, I can’t imagine it matters to them who they play.
Whoever it is, they better be prepared. Pittsburgh looks like they are on a mission to bring Lord Stanley’s Cup back to the steel city. Only time will tell if they are successful or not, but so far the ride getting there has been fun to watch.