Sidney Crosby warned that no one should be surprised if the least-likely players made the biggest plays in what was expected to be a high-scoring Ottawa-Pittsburgh playoff series.
Anton Volchenkov proved that in what may turn out to be a pivotal game.
Volchenkov scored on a slap shot from the slot midway through the third period and the Ottawa Senators moved within one victory of eliminating the Penguins with a 2-1 win last night at Pittsburgh.
Ottawa takes a 3-1 lead into Game 5 tomorrow night, where the teams split the first two games in the Eastern Conference first-round series.
"Going back home, we want to bury them," Ottawa's Jason Spezza said. "We don't want to come back here and give them life."
The go-ahead goal by Volchenkov came when Mike Comrie took the puck out from behind the net toward the left corner and threw a hard pass to the slot. Volchenkov one-timed a 30-foot shot over goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's left shoulder.
"I don't score much but I scored a very big goal," said Volchenkov. "I might be a little bit lucky."
Rangers 7, Thrashers 0 -- Jaromir Jagr and Michael Nylander made Kari Lehtonen long for his safe spot on the bench. And New York's top line needed less than a period to do it.
Lehtonen got the start over Johan Hedberg and then got a thorough beating as host New York scored three times in the first period and routed Atlanta for a 3-0 advantage in their Eastern Conference series.
Nylander had his first playoff hat trick, and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 21 shots in his first playoff shutout.
Wild 4, Ducks 1 -- Marian Gaborik scored a rare power-play goal and Niklas Backstrom made 28 saves to help host Minnesota win Game 4 and avoid a sweep of their Western Conference series.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Brian Rolston, and Mark Parrish also scored for the Wild.
Canucks 2, Stars 1 -- Trevor Linden shoveled a rebound past Marty Turco with 5:31 left in the third period and defenseman Willie Mitchell prevented a tie by sweeping a trickling puck off the goal line, helping Vancouver past host Dallas.
Vancouver leads the Western Conference series, 3-1.
Flames 3, Red Wings 2 -- Jarome Iginla scored the go-ahead goal at 9:21 of the third to lead host Calgary.
Matthew Lombardi and defenseman Mark Giordano scored power-play goals for the Flames, who avoided falling behind, 3-0, in the Western quarterfinal series.
Kris Draper scored twice for Detroit.