NEWS

Senators' unlikely playoff run ends in Game 5 disappointment

05/25/2013 01:21 EDT | Updated 07/24/2013 05:12 EDT
If Game 5 was Daniel Alfredsson's NHL swan song, the tune was far from harmonious for the Ottawa Senators captain.

- Ottawa Senators playoff analysis and Sens player tweets

Less than 48 hours after Alfredsson's much talked about "probably not" comment regarding a possible comeback against the Pittsburgh Penguins, his team was outmatched from puck drop.

The Penguins won 6-2 to capture the Eastern Conference series in five games, becoming the first team to reach the conference finals during this NHL playoff season.

For the fourth time in five games, the Penguins jumped on the Senators early by scoring first.

A failed drop pass from Kyle Turris inside the Penguins' blue line quickly turned into a redirect goal from Brenden Morrow, who returned after missing Game 4 with injury.

Penguins break game open in 2nd period

The Penguins were also buoyed by a James Neal hat trick and goals from Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin on their road to victory Friday night.

Milan Michalek and Turris scored the Senators goals.

Game 5 marked the first time in seven tries the Penguins finished a series at home under head coach Dan Bylsma.

Senators head coach Paul MacLean promised changes before Game 5. That came in the addition of one rookie, Cory Conacher, in the place of another, the injured Mark Stone. MacLean also formed four brand new lines to start the game, but his team did not look sharp.

2 years of development in 1, Sens coach says

The Penguins will host either the Boston Bruins or New York Rangers in the conference finals. Boston leads that series 3-1 with Game 5 going Saturday night.

The Senators, meanwhile, wrap up an improbable season that saw them make the playoffs and win a round over the Montreal Canadiens despite many serious injuries to key players.

- Ottawa Senators react to Game 5, thank fans on Twitter

They were clearly outplayed in all five games of the Pittsburgh series by a veteran and talent-laden Penguins lineup.

But MacLean said he felt his team's growth was accelerated this year due to the adversity it overcame. He said the team had "two years of development in one."

Spezza to convince Alfredsson to return

There are many questions to be answered for the Senators leading into the offseason, including whether their 40-year-old captain will retire.

Alfredsson was questioned after the game but he said this year was hectic and he's had little time to reflect. He did say his family, which includes four children, would have the largest impact on his decision whether to retire.

Jason Spezza, a long-time teammate and linemate of Alfredsson, said he would "whisper in his ear" about holding off on retirement. Spezza also admitted he was "pushing" to come back from his back surgery to help his team, but it felt good through the three games he played.

Besides Alfredsson, Sergei Gonchar, Guillaume Latendresse, Mike Lundin, Peter Regin and Andre Benoit are also unrestricted free agents with few, if any, expected back. Mike Hoffman, Patrick Wiercioch and Erik Condra are also restricted free agents but they are likely to return.

For once, goaltending is not an area in doubt as both Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner are under contract for next year.

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