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Just The Beginning

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
Bodies flew. Blood dripped. Slapshots absorbed.

The Penguins reached a whole new battle level that can only be described as the epitome of playoff hockey in their Game 4 dogfight with Tampa Bay on Wednesday at St. Pete Times Forum, resulting in a 3-2 double overtime victory for Pittsburgh.

“There was some crimson on some of our uniforms after the game,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “There was some hard hits, there was some blocked shots. That was a playoff battle for well into the night, and you saw it in a lot of different ways.”

“There was some stitches in that game, there was some blood, there was a little bit of everything. And our guys kept going and kept battling and found a way at the end.”

RELATED: Coach Bylsma Media Transcript: 4/21/11 >>

But while Pittsburgh’s warriors were able to weather the storm on Thursday, don’t think for a second the Penguins aren’t expecting more of the same from the Lightning on Saturday.

Tampa Bay rallied from a 2-0 deficit and forced the game into overtime with the tying goal coming with just three minutes left in regulation. Bolts goalie Dwayne Roloson made an incredible 50 saves on the night, keeping his team in the game until James Neal finally solved him 3:38 into the second overtime period to give the Penguins the win.

“There is not a person in our room that thinks that this is over or going to be easy,” Bylsma said. “I think we have a good understanding of how dangerous that team is over there. To watch their goalie make 50 saves, it’s tough to think it’s going to be easy at any point in time. We’re well aware of that and we will do everything we can to make sure our focus is there for Game 5 like it has been and avoid some of the mistakes we made in Game 2.”

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The Penguins can clinch the series with a win on Saturday in Game 5, but they’re going to do their best to avoid slipping into a relaxed frame of mind being up two games on the Bolts – and Bylsma is counting on the experience in the Penguins’ dressing room to keep that from happening.

“We’ll deal with some of that (Friday) with our focus and in practice and what we do in meetings,” Bylsma said. “We certainly have some experience in our room in this situation, and we know how important it is with every opportunity to go out and play your very best.”
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