OTTAWA -- It was just 2:29 into the first period Wednesday night when Ottawa's Milan Michalek broke free on a breakaway and scored short-handed against the Penguins.
It was the second short-handed goal by the aggressive Senators in three Penguins power plays, dating to Daniel Alfredsson's tying goal Sunday night with 28.6 seconds to play in regulation of Game 3.
Not a good trend.
The power play recovered in the third period, when the Penguins' four-goal outburst included two power play goals, one from Jarome Iginla and another from James Neal as well as a short-handed one by Pascal Dupuis.
"I thought our attitude tonight was really good and focused and just about competing. No matter what," said Iginla. "Tough break on the first goal. Great speed by Michalek, you know, but our power play responded later. [That was] a big goal by Neal there in the third."
The Penguins generated tons of chances and had 42 shots on net by the end of the game.
It was just a matter of time, said Sidney Crosby, who added that the team just had to believe they were due.
"We did a good job of sticking with things. It would've been easy to get frustrated after the first, the way that went and the chances we created," said Crosby. "I don't think we changed much. It was a matter of executing. It's not always perfect, but I think if you consistently generate good chances the puck is going to go in."
Neal first scored to tie it, 1-1, at 14:56 of the first period with a wrister off the faceoff.
It came after a blistering shot that looked as if it bounced into the net and back out, but hit the crossbar.
His second was into an open net from the backdoor at 1:59 of the third, was the eventual winning goal, and it created palpable relief on the ice for the Penguins.
He hadn't scored in five previous playoff games.
"It felt good to get a few tonight and help the team win," said Neal. "Yeah, definitely a little relief. I was looking in the sky after the first shot there hit the post on a bad angle and came right back out."
Iginla's power-play goal came at 9:53 to make it 7-2.
Coach Dan Bylsma said the mood on the bench was to just keep at it.
"It was looking like it was going to be tough to get it by [goalie Craig Anderson]. There was a sense like, OK, this might take 50, might take as many shots as we can muster to break this guy," said Bylsma.
"The first one we got was a pretty special shot by James. I don't think very many guys could pull that off.
"I think it was real big for him to find that puck and get that goal for us and even on the power play was able to find space where he can be a factor for us, and was and scored what eventually was the game-winning goal.
"He's a guy who just needs one. He came through for us and is a big factor, his line, and the power play in getting those goals."
Jenn Menendez: email@example.com and Twitter @JennMenendez. First Published May 23, 2013 4:00 AM