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Aftermath: Penguins 3, Lightning 2

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
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Bylsma | Fleury | Talbot | Orpik
Pens' Game 3 Win: Backstage Pass


The Penguins got exactly the type of start they were looking for in their first road game of the 2011 postseason, regaining the series lead with a pivotal 3-2 Game 3 win spearheaded by their strong opening.

Maxime Talbot opened the scoring just 5:46 into the game, and if that wasn’t enough to silence the crowd of 20,545, Arron Asham’s goal just 45 seconds later certainly did. Although the game opened up as it progressed, with the Lightning winning the special teams battle by notching a pair of power-play goals to even the score at 2-2, the Penguins never panicked.

They kept playing their brand of aggressive, shutdown defense that saw all five skaters contributing. The forwards backchecked hard and lifted sticks, while the defensemen blocked shots, thwarted odd-man rushes and poked pucks out of danger. The Penguins also did a much better job of diverting rebound opportunities and clearing the front of the net for goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who withstood a late Lightning barrage to conserve his team’s 3-2 lead.

The Penguins stayed composed and focused, proving their resiliency and ability to respond when Tyler Kennedy scored the game-winning goal – just 31 seconds after Martin St. Louis tied it up at the beginning of the third. Pittsburgh now holds a 2-1 edge in the series, with Game 4 taking place on Wednesday.


Star of the Game
Kris Letang did it all in Game 3, putting forth a Herculean effort that helped spur the Penguins to a hard-fought 3-2 victory.

Letang is usually pitted against the other teams’ top players – in this case, 21-year-old phenom Steven Stamkos. It’s a testament to Letang’s abilities that not only did he help hold Stamkos from finding the back of the net for a third-straight game, but the Penguins blueliner notched two assists of his own.

Letang utilized his fluid skating ability to join the rush numerous times, which proved crucial in penetrating the Lightning’s 1-3-1 trap system. By jumping up in the play, Letang became a much-needed passing option for his teammates that allowed them to get past the Bolts defense and into the offensive zone. Letang also barreled through on a number of set faceoff plays to become the center’s passing option and get the puck in deep.

As if that wasn’t enough, Letang also threw a game-high five hits (a personal best) through 24:32 of ice time.


Turning Point
Although Tyler Kennedy scored early in the third period to give the Penguins a 3-2 lead, Mike Rupp was whistled for roughing with 14:12 left to play in regulation, meaning the Lightning’s power play – which had scored both of their tallies – was about to go to work with the game tied.

But the Penguins’ PKers came through with a phenomenal kill when their team needed it most. Pittsburgh effectively shut down Tampa Bay’s potent power play that had been dynamite for most of the game, not allowing them to get set up in their zone and coming up with huge blocks and clears that forced the Lightning to continually have to regroup and reenter.

The kill gave the Penguins the momentum they needed to hold onto their 3-2 lead for the remainder of the game. 


AP Recap
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Tyler Kennedy put Pittsburgh ahead early in the third period and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 25 shots Monday night, helping the Penguins hold off the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2.

Maxime Talbot and Arron Asham also scored for the Penguins, who took a 2-1 lead in their first-round Eastern Conference best-of-seven playoff series and regained home-ice advantage. Game 4 is Wednesday night in Tampa.

The Penguins have won six consecutive Game 3s and are 10-1 in the third game of playoff series dating to the 2008 postseason. Over the same stretch, Fleury is 12-4 following a playoff loss


- Ben Lovejoy took one for the team when Lightning forward Steve Downie left his feet to drill the Penguins defenseman behind Pittsburgh’s net. Despite being steamrolled by Downie, Lovejoy drew the charging penalty – and managed to keep the puck moving up the boards to Maxime Talbot, who proceeded to beat Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson with a wicked shot from the high slot on the delayed call. Lovejoy finished the game with a team-high four blocked shots.

- Not only did Maxime Talbot score the Penguins’ opening goal just over five minutes into the game, but he also put forth a great effort in the faceoff dot. Talbot went 10-for-18 on the draw for a 56-percent success rate, several of those being crucial defensive zone and penalty kill wins.

- With his goal that gave the Penguins a 2-0 lead just 6:31 into the first period, Arron Asham now has six points (4G-2A) over his previous 10 postseason games dating back to last spring with Philadelphia.

- Zbynek Michalek was a huge factor for the Penguins on both the power play and penalty kill. He finished with a team-leading 4:02 shorthanded minutes while seeing 3:14 minutes with the man-advantage. Not only did Michalek fire five pucks to the net and block three, but he also skated for a game-high 27:27 minutes.

- Tyler Kennedy's game-winner was his first goal of the playoffs. Not only did Kennedy notch the go-ahead tally, but he also tied for the team lead with five shots on net and threw four hits.

- Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury continued his track record of coming up strong following postseason losses. With Monday's win, he is now 12-5 all-time following a defeat. He also continued his Game 3 success, as he is now 10-2 all-time the third game of a series, including a 7-1 mark on the road.

- The Penguins have now won five-straight Game 3s and are 10-1 dating back to the 2008 postseason.


#1. Kris Letang
  Defenseman - 58

2 assists
5 hits
5 shots


#2. Martin St. Louis
  Right Wing - 26

  2 goals
  3 shots
24:16 TOI


#3. Marc-Andre Fleury
  Goaltender - 29

25 saves
40th playoff win

Download the Mike Lange Goal Call of the Night from Game 3!

Author: Michelle Crechiolo
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