PITTSBURGH, APRIL 25 -- Dino Ciccarelli didn't need to say anything tonight. Ciccarelli, his mouth muffled by the officials after a Pittsburgh protest, scored a club-record four goals for his fourth career playoff hat trick as the Washington Capitals, by 7-2, put the Stanley Cup champion Penguins one game from elimination.

"Dino's pumped up, he's excited," said Coach Terry Murray. "It's playoff time and that's Dino Ciccarelli's time of year. He's come through with a lot of big playoff games for us and one of them was tonight."

Besides his four goals, Ciccarelli as usual was in the middle of the physical stuff that has characterized this series. He boarded Joe Mullen less than two minutes into Game 4, drawing a penalty that the Capitals killed with surprising ease.

Late in the first period, Ciccarelli took a butt end on the left cheek from Ulf Samuelsson, for which the Swede was ejected. Not long after, he was cross-checked by Kjell Samuelsson and the Capitals used the two-man advantage to build their lead to 3-0.

"It's always sweeter when you get four goals," Ciccarelli said, blood trickling from the gash on his face. "But the main thing is to keep winning, to keep going for the Cup. We still have a lot of work ahead of us in this series. They're not going to lay down. We have a tough game ahead of us."

Ciccarelli tabbed the Capitals' early lead as a big reason for his ability to score four times.

"We got up and they had to open up, get away from their game plan," Ciccarelli said. "I thought that five-on-three goal that made it 3-0 was the big goal. They had to take a lot of chances. My last two goals came late, when they were trying anything to come back."

Of his running feud with Pittsburgh Coach Scotty Bowman, which resulted in orders from the officials for both to shut up, Ciccarelli said: "You guys make more out of it than what it actually is. There's talking out there all the time because there's so much contact. It's just that it's usually between the players and the coaches don't get involved.

"This is an intense time of year. The level is much higher, the intensity's higher and everybody's fuse is shorter. My game is to be intense, be feisty and forecheck hard. I don't want to take bad penalties and I don't think the one I got early was a good call, because I just put one hand on him. But he {referee Rob Shick} was probably trying to make a point."

Ciccarelli and Ulf Samuelsson have been jabbing each other throughout the series, so it was no surprise that one of them was ejected for a flagrant foul.

"I went to hit him on the boards and he saw me out of the corner of his eye and brought his stick up," Ciccarelli said. "Probably it was a butt-ender. Whatever, there's no question it deserved five minutes."

Ciccarelli was more anxious to praise his teammates than to take about his goals.

"The breaks were going my way tonight," Ciccarelli said. "It feels good, but you don't want to get too excited. This will all be behind me come next game. But as long as the team plays like this, we'll be okay. The penalty killers were great and {goalie} Donnie Beaupre was great."

The Penguins, trailing 2-0, enjoyed a five-minute power play midway through the first period, as Dale Hunter was assessed a major for elbowing Ulf Samuelsson. Beaupre made some big saves in that stretch, the biggest when he slid across the crease after blocking a Mario Lemieux shot and got a piece of Kevin Stevens's point-blank rebound.

"That five-minute kill was really big, especially against their power play," said winger Kelly Miller. "Our penalty killing and Donnie Beaupre's goaltending were keys to this win and hopefully it will carry over."