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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 3:18 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Ready to "Rock the Red"

The Verizon Center is a sea of red as the Washington Capitals try to do what the Penguins couldn't -- put away an opponent in Game 5.

It's an uphill battle for the Rangers, who saw a 3-0 third-period lead turn into a 4-3 double-overtime loss in Game 4 -- meaning that instead of going back to D.C. all even, the Rangers need to win just to stay alive.

One area in which the Rangers need to improve is the power play. They are 1-for-18 and went 0-for-7 in Game 4. Another day like that and the Rangers could be toast.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 2:52 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

It’s over

Much to the relief of the Penguins, the final horn went off at the Consol Energy Center, ending an 8-2 nightmare. Two goals (and 3 points) for Steven Stamkos, two for Simon Gagne, two for Pavel Kubina. Four power-play goals. A perfect effort by the Lightning's penalty-killers. All in all, a near-perfect day for the Bolts -- and a nightmare for the Penguins, who had hoped to close out the series in front of their home fans.

So it's back to the St. Pete Times Forum for Game 6 on Monday for the Pens and Bolts -- and on to the Rangers and Caps for Act II of our 12 Hours of Hockey.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 2:51 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

One for the road

The Penguins finally killed off a full power play, but they paid the price again for Max Talbot's unnecessary boarding call when Dominic Moore put the puck into a wide-open net with 4:25 left for an 8-2 lead and a 4-for-6 showing with the extra man.

Kris Letang took a boarding call on the play after flattening Nate Thompson (who took the hit to make the play), giving the Bolts yet another advantage -- that's five in the third period.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 2:31 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Playing for pride

Give the Penguins credit for not rolling over. They added a second goal with 11:38 left when Chris Connor scored after Dwayne Roloson lost his stick during some sloppy play in Tampa Bay's zone. Bolts coach Guy Boucher looked about as unhappy as a coach can look with a five-goal lead.

The second goal and subsequent pressure by the Penguins has finally gotten the crowd back into the game, at least briefly. The Penguins look alive -- although it's far too late to affect the outcome of this game, this does give them something to build on for Game 6.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 2:21 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Power’s on again

The Lightning's power play made it two goals in three tries (the one they missed was just 19 seconds) when Pavel Kubina teed up a slapper from just above the right faceoff dot and blew it past Brent Johnson at 2:54 for a 6-0 lead.

It became 3-for-4 on the PP when Kubina set up in front of the crease and tapped home a pass by Purcell at 5:45 for a 7-0 lead.

At least the Penguins spoiled Dwayne Roloson's shutout bid. Mike Rupp chipped in a rebound at 6:36 to get the Pens on the board.

The Lightning have outscored the Penguins 12-2 in the last five-plus periods in Pittsburgh after a 3-0 loss in Game 1. It's an amazing turnabout -- Pittsburgh won both regular-season meetings at home and outscored the Lightning 13-2.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 1:51 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

More PP struggles for Penguins

Pittsburgh got its fifth power play when Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman was called for interference at 17:02.

This time, the Penguins generated some chances -- Mark Letestu had a golden opportunity on a rebound, but Dwayne Roloson was up to the task. It actually looked like Letestu might have scored -- the Pittsburgh announcers thought so -- but replay showed the black "thing" in the net was the tip of Chris Kunitz' stick.

The Lightning killed off the remainder of the penalty and headed for the second intermission enjoying a 5-0 lead. Pittsburgh had 20 shots on goal to 18 for the Lightning.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 1:35 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Five and counting

The Lightning got their first power play when Mike Rupp was called for boarding Ryan Malone at 6:52 -- and needed just eight seconds to make it 5-0 when Steven Stamkos fired home a shot from 10 feet for a 5-0 lead. Stamkos, who struggled in the final six weeks of the season and did nothing through the first four games, has 2 goals and looks like the player who had 21 goals in his first 22 games this season.

Pittsburgh got a fourth power play when Lecavalier was called for hooking at 9:20. But the advantage lasted just 19 seconds before Kris Letang was called for cross-checking.

With 8:02 left in the period and a five-goal deficit, Consol Energy Center was as quiet as a church.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 1:23 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Fleury gets the hook

The Bolts gave Pittsburgh another power-play chance when they were called for having too many men on the ice just 80 seconds after Vinny Lecavalier's goal. But the Penguins again generated almost nothing -- dropping them to 1-for-21 in the series. The boobirds are beginning to make themselves heard.

They got a little louder when the Lightning struck again 5:31 into the period. Steve Downie, who served the penalty, grabbed a loose puck at center ice and led a rush that ended up with Simon Gagne putting a rebound past Marc-Andre Fleury for a 4-0 lead. That was the end of the day for Fleury, who was replaced by Brent Johnson.

As we hit the first TV break in the second period, the Lightning led 4-0 -- and the 18,000-plus at the Consol Energy Center were silent. Barring a miracle, the series appears to be headed back to Tampa for a game on Monday night.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 1:16 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Another Lightning strike

The Penguins started the second period with a power play, but again couldn't find a way to solve the Lightning's penalty-killers. They're now 0-for-15 at home.

Stamkos then made the play that led to a third Lightning goal at 1:55. Coach Guy Boucher loaded up his big guns -- Stamkos, Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis -- after the penalty kill (he did the same thing after Pavel Kubina's first-period penalty expired) and it paid off. Stamkos dug the puck out of the corner and found Lecavalier coming down the slot for a putaway past Marc-Andre Fleury, as Tyler Kennedy was unable to get back in time.
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Posted On Saturday, 04.23.2011 / 12:54 PM

By John Kreiser -  NHL.com Columnist /NHL.com - 12 Hours of Hockey - Live Blog

Lightning strikes

The Penguins spent the first 16-plus minutes doing everything but score. The Penguins outshot (11-4), outhit, outplayed -- out-everythinged the Lightning ... but couldn't beat Dwayne Roloson.

They might pay for the inability to put the puck in the net, because the Lightning had no such trouble at 16:57. After a passing play worthy of the Harlem Globetrotters, Simon Gagne fired the carom of Vincent Lecavalier's shot off the post into a wide-open net for his first of the series.

Just 46 seconds later, Steven Stamkos found the net for the first time in the series. He went to the net for a deflection of Steve Downie's shot that Marc-Andre Fleury was able to stop, but swatted home the rebound. Talk about a stunned crowd!
 
The Penguins got their second power play when Vincent Lecavalier was called for roughing with 32.6 seconds left in the period and nearly had a goal just before the final horn. But the period ended with the Lightning ahead 2-0 despite being outshot 13-8 (24-12 in shot attempts).
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Quote of the Day

It's pretty crazy, but believe me when I say we didn't draft these players with the mindset we had to because they had good hockey-playing dads. It just turned out that way. But we're certainly glad they're a part of our organization.

— Arizona Coyotes director of amateur scouting Tim Bernhardt regarding the coincidence that six of the organization's top prospects are sons of former NHL players