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St. Louis provides some life - Pens hold 2-1 lead after two periods

by Mike G. Morreale
Martin St. Louis never ceases to amaze.

Just when his team needed some life, something to feel confident about heading into the second intermission, 'Louie' was there -- again.

St. Louis scored his fourth goal of the playoffs after collecting a no-look bank pass off the side boards in the neutral zone from Vincent Lecavalier. After collecting the puck in stride at the Penguins blue line near the players' bench, St. Louis curled into the right circle and muscled away from defenseman Ben Lovejoy before snapping a shot over the waffle of Marc-Andre Fleury to pull Tampa Bay within 2-1 at 17:14 of the second.

The goal set St. Pete Times Forum into a state of delirium and gave the fans and their players hope entering the final 20 minutes of regulation time in Game 4. The Penguins hold a 30-14 advantage in shots through 40 minutes of action.

The Penguins would be rewarded for their hard work to open the second when Arron Asham's harmless-looking wrist shot from the right circle deflected off the skate blade of a passing Nate Thompson and past Roloson at the 2:39 mark. The goal meant that, for the second straight game, the Lightning would be forced to rally from a two-goal deficit.

The Penguins opened a 1-0 lead at the first intermission on Tyler Kennedy's second goal in two games.

After denying a Lightning power-play in the opening four minutes of the first period, the Penguins received their 16th opportunity with the man advantage at the 7:19 mark when Vincent Lecavalier was whistled for holding.

With 1:05 remaining on the advantage, Penguins center Mark Letestu won an offensive-zone draw away from Nate Thompson and back to point man Zbynek Michalek. Michalek dished to Tyler Kennedy in the left circle. Kennedy skated in before unleashing a wrist shot that beat Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson to the short side at 8:14. It was Pittsburgh's second shot on the power-play.

The visitors almost got burned on their second power-play attempt of the period with Sean Bergenheim off the ice high sticking at 16:49. Just as Bergenheim had finished serving his penalty, he sprung out of the box and collected an outlet from Dana Tyrell in stride. With Pittsburgh defenseman Matt Niskanen tugging from behind, Bergenheim still managed to get a fine backhand attempt on Marc-Andre Fleury, who closed the pads to make the save. The rebound bounced to a rushing Lecavalier, whose backhand chance was also snuffed by Fleury at 18:57.

The Penguins, as they did in the early stages of their Game 3 victory on Monday, dictated much of the play, outshooting the Lightning, 12-6.

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