LIGHTNING at PENGUINS
(Pittsburgh leads best-of-seven series, 3-1)
TV: VERSUS, CBC (HD), SUN (HD), ROOT (HD)
The Penguins grabbed a commanding lead through four games following a scintillating 3-2 double overtime decision at St. Pete Times Forum on Wednesday. James Neal
, who had connected for just one goal in his first 23 games with the Penguins since coming over in a February trade with Dallas, scored the game winner 3:38 into the fifth period. Neal's blast from the right boards near the hash marks clipped Dwayne Roloson
's catching glove before entering the cage on the short side.
"As long as you keep shooting, one is going to find its way into the back of the net," Neal said. "I got a shot off the draw and just wanted to shoot. I didn't have the angle, but it managed to find its way in. I was lucky to get one, but the guys battled all night."
After serving one-game suspensions for illegal hits in Game 3, Pittsburgh's Chris Kunitz
and Tampa Bay's Steve Downie
will each be reinserted back into the lineup for Game 5.
Despite the loss, coach Guy Boucher commended Martin St. Louis
and Sean Bergenheim for the exceptional efforts during his Game 4 postgame press conference. With his team trailing 2-0 and being outplayed, St. Louis got the Lightning and the sellout crowd at the St. Pete Times Forum back into the game at 17:14 of the second when he his team-leading fourth goal of the series. Bergenheim's first career playoff goal came off a mad scramble in the slot with 3:17 left in regulation and pulled Tampa Bay into a 2-2 tie. In addition to their goals, St. Louis finished with 4 takeaways and 2 blocked shots and Bergenheim had 3 hits and 3 steals.
The Penguins' penalty-killers did a superb job in Game 4 in support of goalie 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 faceoffs, was "spectacular" in the eyes of coach Dan Bylsma.
Penguins fourth-line grinders Craig Adams
, Mike Rupp and Arron Asham
have been nothing short of remarkable in four games against the Lightning. The trio has accounted for four of the team's 10 goals in the series, scoring at least once in each contest so far. Asham leads the team with 3 goals and his line has accrued 6 points and a plus-12 rating through four contests.
Defensemen Randy Jones (ankle), Marc-Andre Bergeron
(upper body) and Matt Smaby (lower body) have been skating with the Lightning but remain day-to-day. … Penguins captain Sidney Crosby
skated with the team on Wednesday but remains out.
Pittsburgh's victory in Game 4 marked the first time in this series that the team holding the advantage in hits for the game came out on the winning end. The Pens finished with a 36-35 edge in body checks on Wednesday -- led by rookie Eric Tangradi
(5). Tampa Bay outhit the Penguins in Game 1 (44-35) and Game 3 (36-32), while the Penguins held the advantage in Game 2 (36-27).
"I'm one of those guys who believes it's possible until there is absolutely no time left," Boucher said. "I've seen it before, done it before and if it's one game at a time, then this one we lose, next one we win, and we're back in our rink again. The series are never about momentum. They're about desperation."