Sam Kasan gives his three impressions from the press box of the Pens’ 4-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 4. 1. Fleury Time
Marc-Andre Fleury saw his first game action in nearly two months. Fleury entered the game in the third period and looked solid in his relief effort. Fleury, who hadn’t played since March 31, turned aside seven shots and held the Bolts off of the scoreboard. Fleury relieved Matt Murray to start the third period after the Pens’ rookie surrendered four goals on 30 shots. Though it would be hard to fault Murray for any of the goals against, a switch was good for Murray as a mental break, and for Fleury to knock off some rust.
“I was a little nervous. It’s been a while since I played,” Fleury said. “I was excited too. I love the game. I love to play. They’re big games and fun to be a part of.
“There was a little getting used to at the beginning. The more it went on, the better I felt.”
Head coach Mike Sullivan didn't not commit to which netminder would be his starter in Game 5 on Sunday night. "I haven't really given it any thought at this point."2. Loss of Daley
The Pens’ defense suffered a huge loss in the second period when Trevor Daley went down with a lower-body injury. Daley collided with Tampa’s Ryan Callahan against the wall and fell immediately to the ice. He crawled to the crease as play continued, but couldn’t put weight on his leg. His absence not only shortened the Pens’ bench on defense for half of the game, but also limited the Pens’ breakout ability. Daley is an integral part of their breakout, speed and transition game. His loss was evident in Pittsburgh’s play.
“I don’t have any updates. We’ll have more updates tomorrow,” Sullivan said. “He’s an important player on our team. He’s a hard guy to replace. He plays a lot of minutes, in key situations.”3. Lack of Urgency
The Lightning played the way they needed to in Game 4: with desperation. Tampa Bay took it to the Pens from the opening drop of the puck and carried a 4-0 lead into the second intermission. Over those opening two periods the Bolts simply played with more urgency and intensity. Tampa outshot Pittsburgh, 30-22, over that 40 minutes, won every puck battle, were cleaner on their puck management and were aggressive in their attack. The Pens mounted a comeback in the third period and showed some gutsy clawing back into the game. However, it was too little, too late.
“It’s hard to chase a four-goal deficit,” Sullivan said. “We were not the more determined team for the first half of the game. They were the more determined team.
“We responded in the third period. There was just not enough time.”