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Instant analysis: Penguins at Lightning, Game 3

Hagelin-Bonino-Kessel line dominates again for Pittsburgh, which leads series 2-1

by Tom Gulitti @tomgulittinhl / Staff Writer

TAMPA -- The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final on Wednesday at Amalie Arena. The Penguins lead the best-of-7 series 2-1.

Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel each had a goal and an assist to lead the way for the Penguins offensively. Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz also scored for Pittsburgh.

Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat scored for the Lightning. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy kept Tampa Bay close for as long as he could by making 44 saves.

What we learned: The line of Hagelin, Nick Bonino and Kessel continues to be the Penguins' best, using its speed to create chances off turnovers. The Penguins have been the superior team during the past two games. After weathering the Lightning's initial push in the first seven minutes, they dominated play again.

If not for Vasilevskiy, the score would have been more lopsided; the Penguins controlled play for long stretches, particularly in the second period. The Lightning haven't been able to consistently get through the neutral zone cleanly, which resulted in counterattack chances for the Penguins.

Facing a higher volume of shots than in the first two games, Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (26 saves) gave up some rebounds in front again, but the Lightning were unable to convert on them.

Video: PIT@TBL, Gm3: Murray preserves the Penguins' lead

What this means for the Penguins : After winning the past two games, they have a chance to take complete control of the series by winning Game 4 on Friday.

What this means for the Lightning: Other than Vasilevskiy, they have had few answers for the Penguins during the past two games. If they don't find some soon, this series could get away from them quickly.

Key moment: Despite thoroughly outplaying the Lightning in the second period, it appeared the Penguins would have to settle for a 0-0 tie after 40 minutes until Hagelin's rebound goal with 10 seconds left in the period. It started with an offensive-zone turnover by Tampa Bay's Jonathan Drouin, who tried to pass back to defenseman Victor Hedman but gave the puck away to Kessel to start a 2-on-1 rush in the other direction.

Vasilevskiy made a right pad save on Kessel's shot from the right circle, but left a rebound in front that Hagelin put into the net for his fifth goal of the playoffs. The goal came on the Penguins' 31st shot on goal of the game and 21st of the period.

Unsung player of the game: Evgeni Malkin ended his point drought at six games by earning an assist on Crosby's power-play goal midway through the third period and was a force playing alongside Crosby for some even-strength shifts.

What's next: Game 4 is at Amalie Arena on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

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