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game preview

Lightning can eliminate Penguins in Game 6

Tampa Bay would advance to second straight Stanley Cup Final with win

by Corey Long / Correspondent


Eastern Conference Final

Tampa Bay leads best-of-7 series 3-2

TV: 8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports

TAMPA -- Rookie goalie Matt Murray will start for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Tuesday.

Marc-Andre Fleury started Game 5 and made 21 saves in a 4-3 overtime loss Sunday.

"Matt Murray's our starting goaltender," Sullivan said Tuesday. "And the reason, just like the reason we make all our lineup decisions, we try to put players on the ice that give us the best chance to win."

Murray started the first four games of the series but was pulled prior to the third period in Game 4 after giving up four goals on 30 shots. Murray has a .923 save percentage in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, but an .889 save percentage during the Eastern Conference Final.

Forward Patric Hornqvist said the Penguins are ready to fight to stay alive in the Stanley Cup Playoffs regardless of who's in goal. The last time the Penguins rallied from a 3-2 series deficit was the 2009 Stanley Cup Final against the Detroit Red Wings.

"We have three good goaltenders," Hornqvist said. "If we play good enough in front of them we'll win the game. We want to win this game and we have to and that's the situation we're in."

Hornqvist said the key to helping the goaltenders is to keep the Lightning from getting too much room to operate on offense.

"We just have to limit their rushes," Hornqvist said. "They are really good on the rush. We have to backcheck a little harder and don't give them time and space. That's how they score their goals."

Pittsburgh has had a significant advantage in puck possession and has outshot the Lightning 196-131 in the series. Tampa Bay forward Cedric Paquette said none of that matters if his team can win Tuesday and advance to the Cup Final for the second consecutive season.

"All we want to do is win the game," Paquette said. "You can look at other things later. But we know we need to win [Tuesday] and it's going to be the toughest game to win. They are going to play hard and we have to match that."

Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy will make his fifth consecutive start. 

Here are the projected lineups:


Conor Sheary - Sidney Crosby - Patric Hornqvist

Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust

Carl Hagelin - Nick Bonino - Phil Kessel

Tom Kuhnhackl - Matt Cullen - Eric Fehr

Brian Dumoulin - Kris Letang

Ian Cole - Ben Lovejoy

Olli Maatta - Justin Schultz

Matt Murray

Marc-Andre Fleury

Injured: Trevor Daley (broken ankle); Scott Wilson (foot surgery)

Scratched: Beau Bennett, Derrick Pouliot, Oskar Sundqvist


Ondrej Palat - Valtteri Filppula - Jonathan Drouin

Alex Killorn - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov

Cedric Paquette - Brian Boyle - Ryan Callahan

Vladislav Namestnikov - J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison - Andrej Sustr

Matthew Carle - Braydon Coburn

Slater Koekkoek

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Kristers Gudlevskis

Injured: Steven Stamkos (blood clot), Ben Bishop (lower body)

Scratched: Jonathan Marchessault, Nikita Nesterov, Erik Condra

Status report: Bishop participated in the morning skate but Vasilevskiy and Gudlevskis took most of the shots. … Stamkos also practiced but said he will not play Tuesday. … Maatta had an assist and a plus-2 rating in 17:21 of ice time in Game 5 after being a healthy scratch for three games. … Carle skated four shifts for a total of 56 seconds in the third period of Game 5 and had less ice time (9:01) than Koekkoek (10:17).

Who's hot: Kucherov has seven points (two goals, five assists) in the past three games. … Kunitz has three goals in the past three games.

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