Skip to main content

Penguins to face Lightning in Eastern Final

Tampa Bay swept three games from Pittsburgh during regular season @NHLdotcom

The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to advance to their second straight Stanley Cup Final when they play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Final of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Pittsburgh, which finished second in the Metropolitan Division with 104 points (48-26-8), will have the home-ice advantage against Tampa Bay, the second-place team in the Atlantic Division with 97 points (46-31-5)

Game 1 will be at Consol Energy Center.

The Penguins advanced to their first conference final since 2013 with a 4-3 overtime win against the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of the second round on Tuesday. Pittsburgh eliminated the New York Rangers in a five-game first-round series.

The Lightning defeated the New York Islanders in five games in the second round, finishing with a 4-0 victory Sunday. Tampa Bay won its first-round series against the Detroit Red Wings in five games.

Video: Bolts take on Pens in the Eastern Conference Final

Forward Phil Kessel leads the Penguins with five goals and 12 points in 11 playoff games. Captain Sidney Crosby has three goals and 10 points.

Rookie goalie Matt Murray is 7-2 with a 2.05 goals-against average, .935 save percentage and a shutout in nine games since taking over for Jeff Zatkoff in the first round. Zatkoff is 1-1 with a 3.07 GAA and .908 save percentage in two starts.

Center Tyler Johnson leads the Lightning with 13 points (four goals). Linemate Nikita Kucherov leads the NHL with nine goals.

Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop is 8-2 with a 1.89 goals-against average, a .938 save percentage and two shutouts. He has allowed two goals or fewer in eight of 10 games.

Defenseman Victor Hedman led Tampa Bay with eight points (four goals, four assists) against the Islanders.

Video: NYI@TBL, Gm5: Hedman scores a pair in Game 5

Last season, the Lightning defeated the Rangers in seven games in the conference final before losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Cup Final in six games. Tampa Bay will try to make the Final for the third time; it won the Stanley Cup in 2004.

Pittsburgh last reached the Final in 2009, when it defeated the Red Wings to win its third Stanley Cup (1991, 1992).

The Lightning and Penguins have met once in the playoffs; Tampa Bay defeated Pittsburgh in seven games in the first round in 2011. The Penguins led the series 3-1 but lost the last three games, two in Pittsburgh.

The Lightning won all three games against the Penguins during the regular season. Forward Vladislav Namestnikov got his first NHL hat trick when he scored in overtime of a 5-4 win at Amalie Arena on Jan. 15. Johnson had a goal and two assists, and Ondrej Palat scored two goals in a 6-3 victory at Amalie Arena on Feb. 5. Defenseman Matthew Carle had a goal and an assist in a 4-2 win at Consol Energy Center on Feb. 20.

Tampa Bay defenseman Anton Stralman, who has yet to play in this year's playoffs because of a broken left fibula, had a goal in each game and four in the three games. Bishop was 2-0-0, allowing five goals on 69 shots.

Forward Patric Hornqvist had two goals and three assists to lead the Penguins, and defenseman Kris Letang had a goal and two assists. Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each had two points.

Murray didn't play against Tampa Bay during the regular season. Marc-Andre Fleury was 0-1-1, allowing nine goals on 39 shots, and Zatkoff was 0-1-0, allowing five goals in two games.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.