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playoffs

Instant analysis: Lightning at Penguins, Game 2

Crosby scores first playoff OT goal of career, spoiling 38-save performance by Vasilevskiy

by Tom Gulitti @tomgulittinhl / NHL.com Staff Writer

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in overtime in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final at Consol Energy Center on Monday. The best-of-7 series is tied 1-1.

Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal 40 seconds into OT, beating goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy to the blocker side on a 3-on-1 rush.

The Penguins jumped ahead 2-0 in the opening 9:37 with goals from Matt Cullen and Phil Kessel. The Lightning answered late in the first period, with goals 2:33 apart from Anton Stralman and Jonathan Drouin (49.2 seconds left) to pull even at 2-2 before the intermission.

In his second career start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Vasilevskiy made 38 saves.

What we learned: Vasilevskiy is up to the challenge of filling in for the injured Ben Bishop for as long as he's out. The 21-year-old goaltender held the fort for the Lightning to keep them within striking distance when the Penguins were flying in the first half of the first period and again in the third period to keep the game tied.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan lost patience with rookie Conor Sheary as Crosby's left wing as he tried to get some point production out of his captain. After using Evgeni Malkin on Crosby's left wing for a couple of shifts in the second period, Sullivan moved Chris Kunitz into that spot in the third period. Crosby had several good chances before scoring the winner in overtime to end his eight-game goal drought.

Video: TBL@PIT, Gm2: Crosby goes top-shelf to win it in OT

Penguins rookie goalie Matt Murray fought the puck in the first period to the point that it appeared Sullivan told Marc-Andre Fleury to be "ready to go" before the start of the second in case he was needed.

What this means for the Penguins : They played much better than Game 1 and evened the series despite Vasilevskiy's efforts, but Sullivan's faith in Murray appears to be wavering. The problem is that Fleury hasn't played since March 31 because of a concussion.

What this means for the Lightning: With Vasilevskiy playing up to the moment, the Lightning nearly stole both games in Pittsburgh. They still have to feel good about themselves heading home for Games 3 and 4.

Video: TBL@PIT, Gm2: Drouin ties the game with perfect shot

Key moment: Crosby had been frustrated despite having numerous good scoring chances in the first two games and finally was rewarded with the first playoff overtime goal of his career. Bryan Rust set it up with a feed from the left circle on a 3-on-1 rush to Crosby in the high slot. Crosby let go a quick shot from between the circles that beat Vasilevskiy to the blocker side.

Unsung player of the game: Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy was solid throughout and saved a goal by blocking a shot by Drouin that was headed into a half-empty net 8:04 into the game.

What's next: Game 3 is Wednesday at Amalie Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

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