OTTAWA (AP) -The Pittsburgh Penguins are enjoying their chance to pay back Ottawa for last season's playoff pounding.
Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal and Marian Hossa scored in the third period to lift Pittsburgh to a 4-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Monday night, and leave the Penguins a victory away from a first-round playoff sweep.
Maxime Talbot scored in the second period and Hossa also had two assists to push his former team to the brink of elimination one year after the Senators beat Pittsburgh in five games on their way to the Stanley Cup finals.
"It was nice to finally get that first goal and have a good game, especially in this building where I basically started my career," said Hossa, who was acquired from Atlanta at the trading deadline. "But the most important thing is we're up 3-0. That's what counts."
Game 4 is Wednesday night at Scotiabank Place.
The Penguins will have an opportunity to claim their first playoff series win since 2001, when they beat Buffalo in a seven-game conference semi-final before losing the East final to New Jersey.
"It would be awesome, no question about it," Staal said. "It would be a little payback for last year. The fourth game is always the toughest to win and we're going to have to come out with an even better effort than we did tonight."
Crosby got the tiebreaking goal 12 seconds into the third, stunning the Senators' crowd with his first goal of the playoffs after busting in on a 2-on-1 break and snapping a shot that beat Martin Gerber stick side.
"I had a good chance to shoot and found my spot, but chances are few and far between, especially in the playoffs, so it was nice to convert one there," said Crosby, who had four assists in Friday's 5-3 win.
Staal made it 3-1 just 1:18 later, crashing the net and redirecting Kristopher Letang's pass behind a helpless Gerber. Hossa capped the comeback with a power-play goal at 8:55.
"We really tried to remind ourselves of what happened last game," Crosby said. "We let a three-goal lead slip away and, especially here on the road, we wanted to make sure that we managed it well and kept playing the same way."
Ottawa couldn't capitalize on the return of injured captain Daniel Alfredsson, a surprise addition to the Senators' lineup.
"A few quick goals like that, it's tough," said Alfredsson, who hadn't played since he was injured on April 3.
The 35-year-old Swede was given a standing ovation when he took his first shift 42 seconds into the first period.
Alfredsson hadn't even practiced with his teammates before deciding to take the warmup and suit up for the game. He didn't look anywhere close to 100 percent, gingerly making his way around the ice and trying his best to avoid the high traffic areas.
"He obviously wasn't at full speed, you could see that, but he had hands, he had a couple of scoring chances," Senators coach Bryan Murray said. "If anybody questions Daniel Alfredsson's character again, I think I'll approach them in an unkind way and set them straight."
Nick Foligno scored 1:11 into the second to give Ottawa its first lead of the series after beating Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury down in the five-hole.
Talbot tied it nearly 4 1/2 minutes later, taking a nifty pass from Hossa at the Senators' blue line and breaking in with a backhand that beat Gerber.
Notes: The 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and 1975 New York Islanders are the only NHL teams to have erased 3-0 series deficits. ... While the Senators got Alfredsson back, the Penguins were without veteran winger Gary Roberts (groin), who missed three months with a broken fibula before playing the last game of the regular season and the first two playoff games, scoring twice in the opener.