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Penguins won't change approach heading into Game 3

Pittsburgh scored twice early in first period, outshot Tampa Bay 41-21 in Game 2 win

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

CRANBERRY, Pa -- The Pittsburgh Penguins are confident but not satisfied entering Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Although they failed to win in regulation Tuesday, the Penguins had one of their more impressive Stanley Cup Playoffs performances in Game 2 against the Lightning on Monday. Pittsburgh outshot Tampa Bay 41-21 and Sidney Crosby scored 40 seconds into overtime to help the Penguins win 3-2 and tie the best-of-7 series 1-1.

The Lightning said goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was the primary reason Tampa Bay got the game into overtime. The Penguins hemmed the Lightning into their own zone, forcing Vasilevskiy to make several big saves throughout the final two periods.

"You definitely want to build off of that," Crosby said. "You know that we want to have a big start, especially."

Pittsburgh has hesitated to alter its approach throughout the playoffs, but made an exception Monday. The undersized Penguins, who are usually most comfortable using speed to quicken the pace, outhit the bigger Lightning, 47-36.

That speed hasn't been abandoned, however.

"I think you're looking at two teams that like to play with pace," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "I think that's the nature of this series. I think both teams play a similar style and it's maybe taken on a little bit more of a physical element, but it doesn't surprise me, given how deep we are in the playoffs at this point and how high the stakes are.

"I think both teams are pretty good hockey teams that have threats throughout their lineup and so if you're not diligent when you're on the ice, then those threats can hurt you."

Sullivan has mostly been pleased with the first two games, including a 3-1 loss in Game 1. The Penguins cleaned up that effort, which included too many odd-man rushes, on Monday but Pittsburgh is left wanting more.

Video: TBL@PIT, Gm2: Vasilevskiy makes stop with spare stick

Rookie goalie Matt Murray called his Game 2 performance "pretty average" a day after allowing two goals on 21 shots. He was particularly disappointed in his inability to make a save on Tampa Bay's second goal, scored by Jonathan Drouin under Murray's blocker with 49.2 seconds remaining in the first period.

"I guess I made the saves I needed to to win the game, and that's what matters," Murray said. "But I definitely have a lot better in me than that."

Murray did not participate in Pittsburgh's optional practice, which goalies Marc-Andre Fleury and Jeff Zatkoff attended, at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex on Tuesday.

"Right now, I think rest is a weapon," Murray said. "I watched a little video and did a little game review. So, I didn't really get much of a sweat today, but today is more of a day to regroup and to rest and prepare for going forward."

Penguins forward Conor Sheary also struggled Monday and was taken off Crosby's line in the third period. Sheary played 11:53 on 15 shifts.

Sullivan significantly tweaked the lines entering the third, reuniting left wing Chris Kunitz with right wing Patric Hornqvist and Crosby, and allowing forwards Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin to take turns alongside Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust.

Hagelin and Kessel double-shifted and remained in their usual positions with center Nick Bonino. The shortening of Pittsburgh's bench left Sheary without a shift in the third period.

"I thought it was a bit of a struggle for Conor last game, for whatever reason," Sullivan said. "Players go through that at times. Conor has brought a lot to our team throughout the course of these playoffs. He's been a big spark in a lot of the games for us.

"I just felt, and our coaching staff felt, it was one of those nights where it was a struggle. We don't think less of Conor because of that. He's a big part of this team. We know it. He knows that we believe in him."

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