CROSBY SCORES (ANOTHER) WINNING GOAL AS PENGUINS FORCE GAME 7
The Penguins built a three-goal lead through two periods - powered by 1-1-2 from captain Sidney Crosby - and held off a Lightning rally in the final period to extend the Eastern Conference Final to a seventh and deciding game.
* Crosby scored his third game-winning goal of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, all of which have come in the Conference Final. His nine career playoff game-winning goals are tied for the third-most in franchise history, behind Jaromir Jagr (14) and Mario Lemieux (11).
* Elias notes that Crosby became the second Penguins player to score three game-winning goals in one playoff series, joining Kevin Stevens (3 GWG in 1991 DF vs. WSH: 4-1 W). Only one player in NHL history has scored four such goals in a single series: Mike Bossy of the Islanders in the 1983 Conference Finals vs. BOS (4-2 W).
* Crosby, who is tied for second on the Penguins with 6-9-15 this postseason (17 GP), scored his 49th career playoff goal to move into a tie for fifth place among active players (w/ Patrick Kane). He now has 4-8-12 in 14 career games with the team facing elimination.
* Phil Kessel scored his ninth goal of the postseason - the most in a single playoff year by a Penguins player since 2009, when Crosby (15) and Evgeni Malkin (14) helped Pittsburgh win the Stanley Cup.
Video: PIT@TBL, Gm6: Crosby splits D, beats Vasilevskiy
Home Team in Caps
Pittsburgh 5, TAMPA BAY 2 - series tied 3-3
GAME 7: DID YOU KNOW?
Thursday's game at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh (8:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) will be the fifth Game 7 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. This marks the second straight year that the Eastern Conference Final will require a seventh game - the Lightning defeated the Rangers 2-0 to reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2015.
* The Penguins and Lightning will play a Game 7 for the second time in as many playoff series. In the seventh game of the 2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Dwayne Roloson made 36 saves and Sean Bergenheim scored the lone goal in Tampa Bay's 1-0 victory at PIT.
* The Lightning are 5-1 in Game 7s, including two shutout victories in 2015 en route to the Stanley Cup Final. Tampa Bay has surrendered three goals in their six Game 7 appearances.
* The Penguins will skate in their sixth Game 7 in the past eight playoff seasons. They are 7-7 all-time (2-7 at home) with their last victory coming in the 2009 Stanley Cup Final at DET.
* Tampa Bay defenseman Anton Stralman is undefeated in Game 7s (7-0), as is forward Brian Boyle (6-0) and defenseman Matt Carle (5-0).
MURRAY JOINS ELITE COMPANY
Matt Murray made 28 saves, including 17 in the third period, to help the Penguins stave off elimination for the first time this postseason.
Video: PIT@TBL, Gm6: Murray denies Drouin, Palat
* Murray improved to 10-4 in 14 career playoff games, compared to a 9-2-0 mark in his regular-season career (13 GP). Via Elias, he is the third goaltender in the expansion era (since 1967-68) to reach double digits in postseason wins before hitting the mark in the regular-season, joining Montreal's Ken Dryden (1971) and Calgary's Mike Vernon (1986).
* Elias adds that Murray became the first rookie goaltender in franchise history to register a victory with the team facing elimination from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The last rookie goaltender to do so for any team was Montreal's Dustin Tokarski in Game 5 of the 2014 Conference Finals vs. NYR (7-4 W).
NHL ANNOUNCES DATES FOR STANLEY CUP FINAL
The NHL announced the schedule of dates for the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, which will begin on Monday, May 30. Additionally, Stanley Cup Media Day will be Sunday, May 29, in the host city for Game 1. All start times are 8 p.m. ET:
Game 1: Monday, May 30
Game 2: Wednesday, June 1
Game 3: Saturday, June 4
Game 4: Monday, June 6
*Game 5: Thursday, June 9
*Game 6: Sunday, June 12
*Game 7: Wednesday, June 15
The Penguins improved to 47-1 when leading after two periods this season (8-1 in playoffs), with their lone loss coming in Game 5 vs. TBL . . . Road teams have won each of the past four games and are 42-41 this postseason after winning 38 games during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs (38-51) . . . Pittsburgh's Kris Letang snapped a 12-game goal drought with his 17th career playoff score, extending his franchise record among defensemen . . . Forward Brian Boyle scored both Lightning goals to record his first career multi-goal playoff game (99 GP). His five goals this postseason are a career high . . . The Bruins signed defenseman Kevan Miller and forward Seth Griffith to contract extensions . . . NHL LiveWire: Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was mic'd up during his team's victory in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final.
SNEAK PEEK AT WEDNESDAY'S ACTION
All Times Eastern
St. Louis @ San Jose, 9:00 p.m., SJS leads 3-2, NBCSN, CBC, TVAS