PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — The Penguins finally found a multiple-goal lead they liked, thrashing the Philadelphia Flyers, 10-3, Wednesday night in Game 4.
Jordan Staal scored a hat trick and Evgeni Malkin added two more, producing just half of Pittsburgh’s monstrous offensive output.
“I just wanted to keep it going. I didn’t want to lose,” Staal said. “Just tried to play my best and shoot the puck, and I was fortunate enough to get a few tonight.
“I wasn’t out there thinking hat trick, but just trying to play as good as I can for the team and shooting pucks. I was fortunate enough to bury a couple.”
Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Kris Letang, Matt Niskanen and Steve Sullivan also scored goals.
Pittsburgh held multiple-goal leads in Games 1 and 2 and scored the opening goal of Game 3 but allowed the Flyers to come back and win each time. Once the Penguins grabbed a multiple goal lead in this one, they continued to pour it on.
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 22 of 25 shots. All three Philadelphia goals came on the power play in the first period.
For the first time all series, the Flyers scored the game’s first goal. Claude Giroux netted a power play goal just 1:14 in.
Evgeni Malkin responded just over two minutes later with his first goal of the playoffs, and Matt Niskanen scored from the point on the power play at 8:05 of the first period to give Pittsburgh a 2-1 advantage.
That lead held until under five minutes left, when both teams unleashed on the opposition’s goaltender.
After Pittsburgh took back-to-back-to-back minor penalties, Kimmo Timonen and Jakub Voracek both scored with the man advantage for a 3-2 Philadelphia lead with four minutes remaining.
The Penguins quickly responded, as Crosby scored his third of the playoffs 27 seconds later, followed by Staal’s first of the game and third of the playoffs with 2:31 until intermission for a 4-3 advantage.
“Jordan was exceptional, again,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma. “Stepping up and got big goals for us. He gets the game-winner there at the end of the first period with a great shift and a great offensive zone (presence) with (Eric) Tangradi at the side of the net. (Staal) picks up the rebound and gets what turns out to be the game-winner.”
Pittsburgh took that lead into the break, and it was all Pens from then on.
Letang, Sullivan, Dupuis and Staal (twice) each scored in the second period, forcing Philadelphia coach Peter Laviolette to pull starting goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov midway through. The move didn’t pay off, as backup Sergei Bobrovsky allowed five goals in relief.
The Flyers took nine penalties in the second period, paving the way for three power play goals for the Penguins.
Malkin scored his second of the game and 10th for Pittsburgh 4:04 into the third period.
“It’s only one win,” Staal said. “It’s a race to four. It doesn’t matter how you get there. We’re going to have to try to win four games and we’ll take it one game at a time.”
The win is the first for the Penguins in this series and forces a Game 5 back in Pittsburgh Friday night at Consol Energy Center.