Neal scores hat-trick as Penguins advance

James Neal scored a hat-trick and delivered an assist as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Ottawa Senators 6-2 to advance in the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Penguins on Friday wrapped up a 4-1 victory in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference second-round series, booking a berth in the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2009.

That year the Pens went all the way, claiming the third Stanley Cup crown in club history.

The Penguins await the winner of the second Eastern Conference second-round series between the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins.

The Rangers fended off elimination in that series on Thursday with a 4-3 overtime victory, but the Bruins still hold a commanding 3-1 lead.

Tomas Vokoun, who has been the starting goalie for the Penguins since taking over for Marc-Andre Fleury prior to game five of the first-round series against the New York Islanders, stopped 29 shots to improve to 6-1 in this post-season.

Kris Letang had a goal and two assists and Evgeni Malkin notched a goal and an assist for Pittsburgh.

Kyle Turris and Milan Michalek each scored for the Senators, who had eliminated Montreal in the first round.

James Neal of the Pittsburgh Penguins (No. 18) scores in the second period against the Ottawa Senators, in Game Five of the Eastern Conference semi-finals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on May 24, 2013. Neal scored a hat-trick and delivered an assist as the Pens won 6-2, wrapping up the series, 4-1.

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