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Posted On Wednesday, 04.27.2011 / 1:42 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Gagne, Boucher discuss this year's Game 7s

Even NHL players and coaches can turn into fans during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Lightning forward Simon Gagne and coach Guy Boucher had some free time in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, so they both watched the Sabres and Flyers and Canucks and Blackhawks battle it out in decisive Game 7s.

They talked about the excitement of watching those games and how these four Games 7s in the opening round are a sign that there isn't much difference between playoff teams in terms of who is better and who is worse.

"I think what we're seeing is what everyone's been talking about -- we've got parity in the League right now," Boucher said. "Anybody can beat you. If you finish first or eighth, it doesn't really make a difference. We can see now that teams can win in the other team's rink. It comes down to overtime. Every team you meet will beat you if you're a little off. You've got one more power play, that makes a difference. You have one injury, they don't. It's such a fine line, and that's what you see in the playoffs.

"I just think that with the parity now and team's battling since January like it's playoffs, you come to the playoffs and everybody's ready."

Gagne said he went to bed before Alex Burrows won it for the Canucks in overtime, but soaked in enough of the early game that saw his former team vanquish the Sabres in Philadelphia.

"It's great. It's fun to watch," Gagne said. "You're more of a fan than a player. But at the same time, you know you have to play a Game 7 the next day. It shows that hockey is getting better and better every year. There's better balance around the League. You never what can happen in those games."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Monday, 04.25.2011 / 1:53 PM

By Dave Lozo -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Boucher, Stamkos don't believe in momentum

TAMPA, Fla. -- Momentum is something players and coaches in all sports discuss at length, especially in the playoffs.

We need to grab the momentum. They took the momentum away from us. After that play, the momentum really carried us.

Lightning coach Guy Boucher, however, feels the same way about momentum that he does about the Easter Bunny.

"I don't believe in momentum," Boucher said Monday morning. "The next game is new. You have to plan again, players have to get psyched up again and you have to get ready for different circumstances. It's a different game."

Considering the Lightning are coming off a dominating 8-2 victory against the Penguins in Game 5, you'd think Boucher would be all aboard the momentum train.

"You can win 8-2 and the next game is 0-0 for five periods," Boucher said.

Steven Stamkos, who scored his first two goals of the series in Game 5, doesn't expect there to be a carryover effect either. He's expecting Marc-Andre Fleury, who was pulled after allowing four goals in 25 minutes, and the rest of the Penguins to be at their best in Game 6.

"If you ask any guy on their team, they'll probably said they didn't play a good game last game," Stamkos said. "They're all going to bring their best. That's to be expected. Everyone's a professional. You want to bounce back. We're going to expect nothing less than the best from them tonight."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo
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Posted On Thursday, 04.21.2011 / 7:00 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Dan Bylsma: 'Jordan Staal was spectacular'

James Neal's overtime heroics wasn't the only top storyline of Game 4 at St. Pete Times Forum.

The Penguins penalty-killers did a superb job in support of Marc-Andre Fleury, not only denying the Lightning on four power-play chances but limiting them to only three shots, including a single shot during an advantage late in the first OT. Tampa Bay had scored four power-play goals in the first three games.
 
Penguins center Jordan Staal was at the center of those penalty kills. Staal, who logged 28:33 of ice time, blocked two shots, doled out three hits and won 54 percent of his face-offs, was "spectacular" in the eyes of coach Dan Bylsma.
 
"We asked him to do a lot for our team and he's a huge guy down the middle for us at both ends of the rink," Bylsma said. "To log those types of minutes and play those situations, he's a big backbone and he was a horse again on the penalty-kill and in overtime, blocking shots, winning battles and keeping that puck in the zone to give Neal a chance on the game-winner."

His most important play might have come just 18 seconds before Neal's game-clincher in the second OT, when he won an offensive-zone draw from Adam Hall at the 3:20. It was his 19th face-off win of the evening. The only player remotely close to Staal in faceoff wins Wednesday night was Tampa Vincent Lecavalier with 15.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.20.2011 / 10:37 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh tied, 2-2, through first OT

The Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins have now completed four periods here at St. Pete Times Forum and remain in a 2-2 deadlock.

The Penguins, who outshot the Lightning in the first overtime, 11-8, hold a 51-30 advantage for the game. Sean Bergenheim's first goal of the playoffs off a mad scramble in the slot at 16:43 had pulled Tampa Bay into a 2-2 tie. Defenseman Pavel Kubina made the play happen when his shot from the right point triggered a flurry of activity in the crease. Martin St. Louis took a few pokes, but it was Bergenheim knocking home his first career playoff goal.

Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson has 49 saves and Penguins keeper Marc-Andre Fleury turned back 28 shots.

Roloson made a splendid stop on Arron Asham with 8:18 left in the first OT off a tip in the slot to keep the game knotted at 2-all.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.20.2011 / 8:51 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

St. Louis provides some life - Pens hold 2-1 lead after two periods

Martin St. Louis never ceases to amaze.

Just when his team needed some life, something to feel confident about heading into the second intermission, 'Louie' was there -- again.

St. Louis scored his fourth goal of the playoffs after collecting a no-look bank pass off the side boards in the neutral zone from Vincent Lecavalier. After collecting the puck in stride at the Penguins blue line near the players' bench, St. Louis curled into the right circle and muscled away from defenseman Ben Lovejoy before snapping a shot over the waffle of Marc-Andre Fleury to pull Tampa Bay within 2-1 at 17:14 of the second.

The goal set St. Pete Times Forum into a state of delirium and gave the fans and their players hope entering the final 20 minutes of regulation time in Game 4. The Penguins hold a 30-14 advantage in shots through 40 minutes of action.

The Penguins would be rewarded for their hard work to open the second when Arron Asham's harmless-looking wrist shot from the right circle deflected off the skate blade of a passing Nate Thompson and past Roloson at the 2:39 mark. The goal meant that, for the second straight game, the Lightning would be forced to rally from a two-goal deficit.

The Penguins opened a 1-0 lead at the first intermission on Tyler Kennedy's second goal in two games.

After denying a Lightning power-play in the opening four minutes of the first period, the Penguins received their 16th opportunity with the man advantage at the 7:19 mark when Vincent Lecavalier was whistled for holding.

With 1:05 remaining on the advantage, Penguins center Mark Letestu won an offensive-zone draw away from Nate Thompson and back to point man Zbynek Michalek. Michalek dished to Tyler Kennedy in the left circle. Kennedy skated in before unleashing a wrist shot that beat Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson to the short side at 8:14. It was Pittsburgh's second shot on the power-play.

The visitors almost got burned on their second power-play attempt of the period with Sean Bergenheim off the ice high sticking at 16:49. Just as Bergenheim had finished serving his penalty, he sprung out of the box and collected an outlet from Dana Tyrell in stride. With Pittsburgh defenseman Matt Niskanen tugging from behind, Bergenheim still managed to get a fine backhand attempt on Marc-Andre Fleury, who closed the pads to make the save. The rebound bounced to a rushing Lecavalier, whose backhand chance was also snuffed by Fleury at 18:57.

The Penguins, as they did in the early stages of their Game 3 victory on Monday, dictated much of the play, outshooting the Lightning, 12-6.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.20.2011 / 7:50 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Pens score power-play goal; grab 1-0 lead

Let the pigeons loose! The power-play drought for the Pittsburgh Penguins in these Stanley Cup Playoffs is history. As a result, the Penguins have taken a 1-0 lead at the first intermission.

After killing a Tampa Bay power-play in the early stages of the opening 20 minutes, the Penguins received their 16th opportunity with the man advantage at the 7:19 mark when Vincent Lecavalier was whistled for holding.

With 1:05 remaining on the advantage, Penguins' center Mark Letestu won an offensive-zone draw away from Nate Thompson back to point man Zbynek Michalek. Michalek dished to Tyler Kennedy in the left circle. Kennedy skated in before unleashing a wrist shot that beat Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson short side at 8:14. It was Pittsburgh's second shot on the power-play.

The visitors almost got burned on their second power-play attempt of the period with Sean Bergenheim off the ice high sticking at 16:49. Just as Bergenheim had finished serving his penalty, he sprung out of the box and collected an outlet from Dana Tyrell in stride. With Pittsburgh defenseman Matt Niskanen tugging from behind, Bergenheim still managed to get an attempt on Marc-Andre Fleury, who did the splits. The rebound was gobbled up by Lecavalier, but the Lightning captain couldn't generate a quality chance.

The Penguins, as they did in the early stages of their Game 3 victory on Monday, dictated much of the play, outshooting the Lightning, 12-6.

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.20.2011 / 6:58 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Penguins-Lightning pregame report

So the teams just finished up pregame warmups here at St. Pete Times Forum and we're closing in on Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal between the Lightning and Penguins.

Fans are ready with their Lightning logoed thundersticks (I forgot my Advil again).

So it looks like rookie Eric Tangradi will earn his first career playoff start. He'll be in the lineup for Chris Kunitz, who is serving an NHL-levied one-game suspension following an illegal hit on Tampa's Simon Gagne in Game 3 on Monday.

For the Lightning, looks like Mattias Ritola will get the nod in the absence of Steve Downie, who was given a one-game suspension for an illegal hit on Pens defenseman Ben Lovejoy in Game 3.

Here were the lineups in warmups:

Lightning

St. Louis-Lecavalier-Thompson
Tyrell-Ritola-Hall
Purcell-Bergenheim-Moore
Gagne-Stamkos-Malone

Penguins

Neal-Staal-Kennedy
Tangradi-Letestu-Kovalev
Conner-Dupuis-Talbot
Rupp-Asham-Adams

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.20.2011 / 3:57 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Penguins' Neal continues to push forward

Tampa Bay center Steven Stamkos isn't the only player struggling to regain his scoring groove for his team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Pittsburgh Penguins left wing James Neal is also looking to regain his touch around the cage.

Neal, who finished the regular season with 22 goals and 45 points and was acquired in a trade with the Dallas Stars on Feb. 21, has one assist in three playoff games.

"I don't think his health is a factor," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. "The last game, with him on the doorstep, where he has the one that hits the post and he has another one that is denied on the power play with (Dwayne) Roloson's pad -- those are opportunities where he has been getting those chances and hasn't been able to bury them.

"The history says he's a streaky goal scorer, and he's put himself in position to have those chances. He's had good chances, but he hasn't scored those goals. I was betting he was going to score last game, so I think he's a guy who is on the verge of putting in goals for us."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.20.2011 / 3:40 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Sports psychology 101 by Guy Boucher

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher was dipping into his sports psychology notebook on Wednesday afternoon during the media press conference prior to Game 4 puck drop at St. Pete Times Forum.

Boucher, who has educational studies in four different fields, including sports psychology, was asked how he would replace a player like Steve Downie in the lineup.

Downie, of course, was suspended one game by the NHL on Tuesday following his illegal hit on Pittsburgh defenseman Ben Lovejoy in the opening period of Game 3.

"I don't want to replace him," Boucher said. "That's the mistake you make as a coach -- you want to replace the guy who's gone, but you can't. He's himself and he has some assets so if you're asking Sean Bergenheim to replace Downie, you're asking someone to do things he's not used to doing. I don't want Downie in the lineup tonight, I want Bergenheim to do his thing, (Dana) Tyrell to do his thing and (Nate) Thompson to do his thing."

When asked if his team needed to change anything in order to even this best-of-7 series at 2-apiece, Boucher shrugged.

"We don't want to be another team, we don't want to be something we weren't all year long," he said. "That's the key right now. When you face stress, you go back to your habits. So if you got bad habits, you're going to have bad habits in those games. We've faced a lot of adversity this year and we've acted extremely well. We've needed adaptation periods; it was never instinct because we don't have enough experience to get that but we've always adapted and bounced back.

"I think the players are very confident on getting on the ice and putting that game we need on the ice this time."

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.19.2011 / 6:40 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Lightning winning special teams' battle; losing series

Despite the fact the Tampa Bay Lighting are winning the special teams battle and receiving better-than-average goaltending from veteran Dwayne Roloson, they find themselves down a game to the Pittsburgh Penguins in this best-of-7 Eastern Conference quarterfinal round.

Lightning coach Guy Boucher knows now is the time for his players to start producing 5-on-5.

"It's funny, I listen to the other coaches in the League talk about how it has to be special teams in the playoffs, but not in this series," Boucher said. "We're losing the series right now and are clearly winning the special teams battle in both penalty-killing (15-for-15) and power-play (4-of-11). But reality is they have guys like (Arron) Asham and those other fourth-line guys scoring goals every game while 5 on 5 and that makes a difference."

The Penguins have actually scored seven 5-on-5 goals from six different players in this series. The Lightning have gotten just two goals while 5-aside -- by Nate Thompson and Eric Brewer.

"Our guys haven't scored 5 on 5 every game, so right now (Pittsburgh) is a little sharper around our net 5-on-5 than we are around their net. Having said that, we're aware we're not going to score six goals while 5-on-5 either. If we do score one or two on the power-play, it has to be enough at home to win the game."

SERIES NOTE: The Eastern Conference quarterfinal-round Game 5 between the Lightning and Penguins at Consol Energy Center on Saturday has been scheduled for noon ES.

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Posted On Monday, 04.18.2011 / 9:26 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Pens maintain 2-1 lead on Tampa after two periods

After combining for three goals in the opening period, the teams went scoreless in the second. It appeared as though each team wasn't willing to risk making a mistake and give its opponent an offensive opportunity. Both goalies were sharp throughout, though, with Roloson making his best save off a shot from the point by Michalek Zbynek with Chris Connor on the doorstep at 5:13.

The Penguins fourth line of Craig Adams centering Mike Rupp and Arron Asham has been Pittsburgh's best line in this series. In three games, the trio has accrued 3 goals, 5 points and a plus-9 rating. The play did get a little chippy in the final five minutes of the second when Steve Downie was whistled for delay of the game at 16:43, giving Pittsburgh its second power-play of the game.

The Lightning did deny the Penguins for the 15th straight time with the man advantage but not without some bit of assistance from veteran goalie Dwayne Roloson. He stopped a tip by Jordan Staal with his left pad following the ensuing face-off, before later turning back a big shot from the point by Kris Letang and Alex Kovalev's rebound attempt at the right post.  

Pittsburgh held a 9-6 advantage in shots in the second and maintain a 21-17 shot edge through two periods. Pittsburgh's Kris Letang has 5 of the team's 23 hits for the game and Lightning defensemen Mattias Ohlund and Pavel Kubina each have 4 of the team's 30 body checks.

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Posted On Monday, 04.18.2011 / 8:32 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Pittsburgh opens 2-1 lead in opening period of Gm 3

The Pittsburgh Penguins stole a page out of the book of the Tampa Bay Lightning in opening period of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal round matchup at St. Pete Times Forum on Monday night.

For once, they came out with the quick start en route to grabbing a 2-1 lead through 20 minutes in the process.

The Lightning pared the deficit to 2-1 on a power-play goal by Martin St. Louis at 15:19 of the opening period. Simon Gagne skated with the puck to the side of Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury before throwing a pass in front. St. Louis took one stab at the disk before backhanding a shot between the goalie and the post.

The Penguins opened a 2-0 lead on goals by Maxime Talbot at 5:46 and Arron Asham just 45 seconds later. Talbot's goal came off a transition following a tremendous body check by Tampa Bay's Steve Downie on Ben Lovejoy behind the Penguins cage. Instead of rallying the Lightning, however, the hit fired up the Penguins as Talbot eventually grabbed the loose puck and skated hard down his right wing before unleashing a wrist shot from the right circle that beat Roloson to the short side.

Asham's 8th career playoff goal came off a 2-on-1 breakout with Michael Rupp. After banking a pass to himself along the right wing half boards, Rupp spotted Asham streaking down the opposite wing and feathered a pass underneath a Tampa Bay defenseman. Asham easily snapped his attempt past Roloson for the two-goal lead.

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Posted On Monday, 04.18.2011 / 7:50 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Lightning - Penguins pregame Gm 3 lineups

The teams just completed pregame warmups here at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa Bay and the fans in attendance are already clamoring their Lightning-logoed rally drums.

Lightning coach Guy Boucher had center Steven Stamkos on multiple lines in Game 2 -- as high on the top line, in addition to some checking-line duties.

In warmups on Monday, Boucher had the following lines established to open Game 3. I wouldn't count of them remaining this way though.
Nate Thompson-Sean Bergenheim-Dominic Moore
Vinny Lecavalier-Martin St. Louis-Simon Gagne
Steve Downie-Dana Tyrell-Adam Hall
Teddy Purcell-Steve Stamkos-Ryan Malone

Earlier in the day, Stamkos spoke about his recent scoring struggles (5 goals in last 25 games).

"It's something that has been prolonged for my liking, but at the same time I've picked up other aspects of my game that are going to need to be there to be successful in the playoffs so I'm happy where those parts of my game are at," Stamkos said. "Now I'm just trying to find a healthy combination of the both to move forward and help this team win."

Penguins pregame warmup line combinations included:
Jordan Staal-Tyler Kennedy-Chris Kunitz
Alex Kovalev-James Neal-Mark Letestu
Chris Conner-Pascal Dupuis-Max Talbot
Michael Rupp-Arron Asham-Craig Adams

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Posted On Monday, 04.18.2011 / 4:25 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Fleury prepared for Lightning strike

Pittsburgh goalie Marc Andre Fleury is sure of one thing: The Tampa Bay Lightning are going to come out flying in Game 3 of this series that shifts to St. Pete Times Forum in the Sunshine State on Monday.

"They played a pretty similar style in both games in Pittsburgh, coming out hard, playing fast and getting off a good start," Fleury said. "They come in a lot to the net, going for tips, rebounds and screens. That's something we expect once again.

"Their forwards are fast; they come back quick and we have to be aware of that," Fleury added. "Now being home, we expect that same thing."

Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis knows the team must match that intensity or else it could mean a long night.

"It's playoffs so you have to match intensity because if you don't, you won't win," Dupuis said. "They have come hard at us the first two games at home and I don't see why they wouldn't try to do the same thing here in front of their fans so we do have match that intensity. We do have to manage the puck better in the first … I don't like to say whether the storm, but they will come out hard and we know that."

Defenseman Paul Martin feels the Pens just need to maintain their aggressiveness on the puck.

"In Game 2, we weren't able to establish much of a forecheck and that hurt," Martin said. "It's a desire and mindset and commit to doing the little things. Get the pucks in the right areas to help our forwards get in there and establish that forecheck and get pucks to the net."

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Posted On Monday, 04.18.2011 / 3:57 PM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Mary, Marty everywhere

In addition to logging a ton of ice time and becoming a reliable force along the Tampa Bay blue line since coming over in a trade with the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 18, coach Guy Boucher has discovered that Eric Brewer has also been a huge benefit to Martin St. Louis.

How?

Well, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Brewer has been the point-man on what has a become a pretty potent power-play of late for the Lightning. And that assists St. Louis, who has traditionally been a big focus with his team on the man advantage, in a big way.

"Well, I didn't want to play (Brewer) on the power play to be honest," Boucher told the media following team meetings on Monday morning at St. Pete Times Forum.

"And the reason being he was getting so much ice time everywhere else and playing against the top lines," Boucher said. "But having him there has given him more ice and it hasn't seemed to hurt him at all. He's reliable on the power-play. We had four different setups we used during the year -- Marty at the point, Marty along the board, Marty down low and Marty in the middle -- depending on the team and depending on the period of the game.

"Marty was everywhere, but he relieves Marty from the pressure of playing the point and having to manage that and with his size. Not being a defenseman, it was tough for Marty, but having Eric back there is a huge help."

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Posted On Sunday, 04.17.2011 / 9:18 AM

By Mike G. Morreale -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Playoff hockey returns to Tampa Bay

The excitement is beginning to build on the west central coast of the Sunshine State as fans of the Tampa Bay Lightning prepare to host their first Stanley Cup Playoff game in four years.

The Lightning scored a 5-1 victory in Game 2 on Friday to even their best-of-7 series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma knows keeping emotions in check whether home or away is critical to success.

"Playoff series are a ride of emotions and they came back and answered in Game 2 to tie the series," Bylsma told reporters following Saturday's practice." They are now going home for two home games, home-ice advantage and we have to re-gather ourselves and go in there, and understand how important it is to play our very best game and get a win in Tampa Bay. Change of venues and those emotions are important to manage."

Despite Friday's lopsided loss on home ice, the Penguins aren't in panic mode. In fact, the club feels comfortable playing on the road -- the team led the League in road wins during the regular season with a franchise-record 24 away from Consol Energy Center. That was one road victory short of the Eastern Conference leaders -- the Philadelphia Flyers.

"They have to do the same thing and get ready for Game 3," Bylsma said. "We now know we're going to have to win a game in Tampa Bay to make home-ice matter here in the series. Game 3 and Game 4 will be pivotal games. We have that focus and understanding."

The Lightning will look to grab hold of the series before their sun-drenched fans on Monday in Game 3 at 7:30 p.m. Game 4 is slated right back at St. Pete Times Forum on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

I'll be in Tampa for Games 3 and 4 this week, so keep checking back often for game updates and a look at how Tampa is preparing for playoff hockey once again.
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Posted On Wednesday, 04.13.2011 / 1:57 PM

NHL.com - 2011 ECQF: Pittsburgh-Tampa Bay Live Blog

Penguins prepare for Game 1 without Crosby

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will miss a Stanley Cup Playoffs game because of injury for the first time in his career.

Crosby, who helped lead the Penguins to the Stanley Cup two years ago, took part in the Penguins' pregame skate in advance of Wednesday night’s game against Tampa Bay. But he has not yet been cleared for contact work in practice, a step he must take before he can play.

Coach Dan Bylsma said there was no change in Crosby’s condition.

"No update on Sid," Bylsma said. "Nothing has changed. He has not moved on in his progression."

Crosby hasn't played since Jan. 5 against Tampa Bay, when he was driven into the boards by a hit from defenseman Victor Hedman. The game before, he absorbed a hard hit from Washington’s David Steckel.

Crosby has 30 goals and 52 assists for 82 points in 62 career playoff games. The Penguins reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2008 and 2009 with Crosby on their top line, beating Detroit in seven games in the 2009 Final.
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Quote of the Day

Obviously a lot happened in a short period of time. At the end of the day, considering everything I went through, I really felt close to my teammates and I really feel like what we accomplished, I know we didn't win it all. ... I'm really proud of how we got there and what we did once we got there.

— Rangers forward Martin St. Louis to Jim Cerny of BlueshirtsUnited.com