FINAL SCORE: LIGHTNING 8, PENGUINS 20:00:
That's game. Pens fall 8-2 to the Lightning. The series shifts back to Tampa Bay for Game 6 on Monday.0:46:
Moore's in the box for hooking. Pens will end the game on the PP.1:33:
We're all back to full strength. 3:34:
And a scrum ensues after the Penguins stifle a Lightning scoring opportunity. Brent Johnson
is a little shaken up on the play, but he appears to be alright.
Bergenheim passed the puck through the slot to Dominic Moore, who smacked it into the open net for the power-play goal. Lightning 8, Penguins 26:12:
Lovejoy is out. Max has 1:58 remaining on his penalty.6:14:
With two seconds left on Lovie's penalty, Max is getting a pair for boarding.8:12:
Lovejoy's going to the box for slashing. Pens on the PK.9:40:
Martin hits the post! 10:38:
Asham is hauled down by a pair of Lightning defenders as he embarks on a near breakaway, but no penalty is called.10:54:
Kovy notched an assist on Rupp's goal to give him his 100th-career playoff point! He is the 78th player in NHL history to reach that milestone.11:15:
Downie takes a puck to the face as the Pens try to gain the zone.11:38:
Conner dances around a bevy of Bolts defenders in front of the net, but the puck slides off his stick! But no worries, Max finds it and sends it right back to Conner, who puts the puck over the goal line! Lightning 7, Penguins 213:24:
Rupp breaks the goose egg by stuffing home his own rebound past Roloson! Lightning 7, Penguins 114:15:
Kubina gets his second of the night by one-touching a puck on the back-door. Lightning 7, Penguins 0 16:01:
Johnson just got two minutes for roughing after getting tangled with Bergenheim making his way back to his goal. TK will serve it.17:06:
Kubina beats Johnny with a blistering slapshot from the circle. Lightning 6, Penguins 018:31:
Pens are heading to the PK early as Kovy gets a pair for hi-sticking.20:00:
Puck drops. Game on!THIRD PERIOD
Great news Pens fans...Evgeni Malkin
has started skating again since undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL/MCL in mid-February! There is no timetable for his return, but it's a positive step for Geno. Click here
for details. SECOND PERIOD NOTES
- Stamkos has two goals and an assist
- Gagne has two goals, Lecavalier has a goal and an assist and St. Louis has two helpers
- Pens are outhitting the Bolts by a 21-15 margin
- TK has six of the Pens' 20 shots
- Letestu has won 5-of-8 faceoffs for a 63-percent success rate0:00:
That'll do it. The Bolts hold a 5-0 edge over the Pens. The Pens have 20 shots to the Bolts' 18. 1:14:
Then it's Letestu's turn to get a crack on the back-door, but he can't elevate it high enough over a prone Roloson, who makes the save.1:50:
Niskanen creeps down to the front of the net and nearly gets a chance on the back-door, but can't handle the hot puck.2:58:
The Pens are getting their fifth PP opportunity of the afternoon as Hedman gets a pair for interference.3:36:
From the corner, Duper sends a nice pass to Conner planted in front of the net, but it's just out of Conner's reach! 5:15:
Niskanen makes a nice sliding block before jumping to his feet and making the breakout pass.5:51:
The Lightning are fighting to the death to protect their lead. They're getting sticks in passing lanes, blocking shots and putting up a brick wall around the slot.8:20:
Pens back to full strength.8:40:
Bolts have a 19-second power play, as Lecavalier is out of the box. 10:21:
We're going to 4-on-4 hockey for 1:41 minutes, as Tanger gets a pair for cross-checking.10:40:
Lecavalier is heading to the box for the second time today, as he's getting a pair for hooking. Pens on the PP! 11:23:
The Bolts are whistled for icing, forcing Guy Boucher to use his timeout as the Pens had them corraled in their end for an extended period of time.11:41:
Orpik sends a puck right to Kunie's wheelhouse, but his blast deflects off a body in front and skitters into the corner.13:00:
It takes Stamkos eight seconds to capitalize when he crashes the net and sends a rebound past Johnny. Lightning 5, Penguins 013:08:
Rupp's getting a pair for boarding. Bolts head to their PP of the night. 14:29:
Gagne finds a loose puck in the slot, does a slight toe drag and bangs it home. Brent Johnson
has taken over between the pipes for the Penguins. Penguins 4, Lightning 014:45:
And the Bolts are back to full strength.16:45:
Downie's going to the box to serve a Bolts bench penalty for too many men on the ice. Pens back on the PP.18:05:
From behind the net, Stamkos sends a perfect pass to Lecavalier, who's posted just outside the blue paint. He taps it in under Fleury's pad for the score. Lightning 3, Penguins 018:32:
Lecavalier is released. Bolts back to full strength.20:00:
They're off!SECOND PERIOD
If you need a little adrenaline boost after the Bolts' early 2-0 lead, here's the "We Are One" intro to get your blood flowing! FIRST PERIOD NOTES
- Staal leads with three hits
- TK has four of the Pens' 13 shots
- Michalek leads with 7:44 of ice time0:00:
That'll do it for the first. The Bolts hold a 2-0 lead while the Pens are holding the advantage in shots, 13-8.0:32:
And Lecavalier gets sent to the sin bin for roughing. Pens on the PP!0:43:
The Kunitz-Staal-Kennedy line is getting some great chances, but the Lightning are collapsing in front of their net and making it hard for the Penguins to handle the puck.2:17:
Stamkos gets his first-career NHL playoff goal. He first tries to re-direct a shot from the point, manages to collect the rebound and backhand it over Fleury. Lightning 2, Penguins 03:03:
The Lightning strike first. Lecavalier, Gagne and Purcell storm into the Pens zone making a plethora of tic-tac-toe passes. Finally Purcell gets it and rings a shot off the inside of the crossbar, which doesn't go in -- but the rebound goes right to a wide-open Gagne, who stuffs it home. Lightning 1, Penguins 03:50:
TK hustles down and shoots (he's been shooting everything) but Staal's stick is tied up so he can't get the rebound!4:10:
Orpik and Letang just converged to crush Dominic Moore into the boards and take the puck right off his stick. 5:49:
After making a nice breakout pass to Kovy, Lovejoy jumps up into the rush to be an outlet for Letestu. He breaks past the Bolts D and backhands a shot to the net that Roloson gloves.6:52:
Dupuis feeds Orpik on the blue line, who tees off a blast that rings off the inside of the far post!!! The crowd jumped up thinking it was a goal! I don't know how that didn't go in, Roloson had absolutely no clue where it was! Great work by Conner and Talbot to provide some screens.9:04:
Letestu picks the pocket of a Bolts defender at the blue line and nearly squeezes through for a breakaway, but the Lightning blueliner chooses to go for the body and forget the puck, pinning Letestu against the boards.
A mad scramble ensues in front of the Pens net, but somehow, someway, Fleury manages to find the puck and cover it!11:13:
Bolts back to full strength.12:44:
Michalek whips a blast from the point and a scrum ensues around the net. The Lightning manage to keep the puck out. 13:13:
Kubina gets called for a penalty. Pens' power play goes to work early. 16:50:
Yikes. The Bolts had a good chance there. They threw a bad-angle shot to the net with Thompson and Stamkos in the crease trying to stuff it home, but "Flower" covered up for the whistle.17:37:
Letestu's throwing his weight around! He just absolutely crunched Victor Hedman into the boards!18:37:
The Pens have gotten off to that strong start
they said was so crucial! TK sent a blast to the net that banked off the back boards to a waiting Chris Kunitz
. Kunie immediately teed it off and the rebound landed right in the blue paint! But no Pen could get there in time to capitalize on the open net!20:00:
Are you ready?! As Mike Lange just said over the loudspeaker, "It's a great day for hockey!" Puck drops. Game on!FIRST PERIOD
And the fans did not disappoint when Sgt. Bob Timney sang the national anthem
! They took over "At the rocket's red glare" lyric and carried the rest of the song!
The Pens scratch Eric Tangradi
, Eric Godard, Mike Comrie and Deryk Engelland
. Marc-Andre Fleury
gets the nod between the pipes. The atmosphere is already absolutely electric here at CONSOL Energy Center! Pens fans are wide awake and ready to go!
Since today's game has such an early start, I'm going to throw a couple of pick-me-ups in the blog to get everyone's engines revving and wake us all up.
Starting with...IT ONLY TAKES ONE.
For even more chills and goosebumps, let's go to the tunnel following the Pens' Game 4 double-OT victory at St. Pete Times Forum on Wednesday.
To cap it off, let's recap every goal, save and hit from that dogfight of a game.
It's about that time – Quote of the Day Time!
I used a quote from Pascal Dupuis
for Games 3 and 4, and coincidentally, we won both matches. So like I said in my Game 4 live blog
, if we keep winning with a Duper quote, I'm going to keep using him (even though Sam Kasan made fun of me for buying into such superstition). So here's Duper's words of gold for today's game:
Bylsma addressed the concerns heading into a noon start, what he's going to tell his team to be aware of today, his roster changes and thoughts on playing seven defensemen. Here's his full transcript:On his biggest concern for his players going into a noon start:
Well, it’s a change of routine. There’s different aspects of it that make it a different game, but one thing for our team in particular is that we have a fair amount of practice playing 12 o’clock, 12:30 p.m. games – especially in the second half of the season. I think that from that aspect, it’s something where we’ve had enough of it that the players know what their routine is and know how to prepare and know how they’re going to be ready to play this game, because they’ve done it 5-6 times this year already.On any changes to his lineup:Chris Kunitz
will be going in. Marc-Andre Fleury
’s going to start in net. We’ll see (who comes out for Chris) in the game.On how difficult it may be to take out Eric Tangradi after his play in Game 4:
He played very well. He was a factor, he was physical on the forecheck and in the offensive zone, and in front of the net on the power play for Tyler Kennedy
’s goal. So he played very well and he went in his first playoff game and did really well. So I don’t know if you could ask a heck of a lot more from him. He was confident when he made plays with the puck. His first play of the game was a great breakout pass coming out of the D zone. So he did a lot of good things and certainly proved he could be effective for us in the time he was out there, and he played a considerable amount – 15 minutes of ice time. So I’m not sure he could have done a lot more to say he could add to our team.On if Tampa Bay going with seven defensemen presents any problem to him:
The way he’s changed lines through the first four games is not going to be much different, considering he’s not going to have a full four-line complement. He basically rotated certain players in on double shifts and after timeouts, took advantage with the rest and put lines together. We’ve kind of seen that type of rotation that we’re going to see tonight from him, which is to say he scatters his lines and tries to get certain players out and double-shifting in certain situations. We’re going to see the same thing tonight. At home, he has the luxury of the last change to do that. On the road, he doesn't. So it’s going to be a lot like the rotation he had at home. Certainly you have to watch and you have to be ready for double shifts from guys and certain combinations after timeouts, but that's something we’ve seen from him so far this series. On if he was tempted to play seven defensemen:
You caught me in this one when I said years ago that it wasn’t what I preferred in the game and then proceeded to do it six times in the playoffs that year. Given certain scenarios and the situation like (Boucher) has, I fully understand going with seven and being able to get minutes to your top four forwards in your lineups. Then having a guy who qualifies as a specialist to be used in certain scenarios. I’ve done it before. It does allow your good players to get more ice time in games, which he has been doing already. On talking to the team about what’s happened in the postseason:
It’s common for us to discuss scenarios that our team is in, things we’re doing well and not doing well in the playoffs, to discuss change of venues, different types of games, road games, home games in our conversations. It’s not out of the question to talk about what happened in other playoff games with the purpose of seeing a lesson and applying it to ourselves and our situation. That’s something we do after ever game in terms of having those conversations. They may include the other team, our team and other games to try to gain from that experience and apply it to ours.On what he’ll tell the team to be aware of today:
I think the first one is gaining the urgency and desperation that every playoff game needs and we need to have. You need to have that from Game 1. You change a venue and have that built in urgency out the hop. Coming back for Game 5, that urgency and desperation in our game, getting to our game, setting the tone for the game is real important. There are things we have to be aware of, always aware of with Tampa. They’ve changed a few things and we have to be aware of that. For us, a lot of our game dictates on getting to our game and not sitting back to wait and see how this thing plays out. We have to go out and get to our game, be ready to play that game and impose that. We keep talking about a seven-game series. We need to keep that mentality and grind them down, wear them down and play our game to do it.
Welcome everybody! It’s a hockey – well, afternoon – in Pittsburgh, and the Pens have put themselves in a great position entering today's game, as they have a chance to clinch their first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning in front of their fans this afternoon at CONSOL Energy Center.
But the Pens have been through this before, and they know from experience it’s not going to be easy
. The Lightning’s backs are against the wall and their season is on the line, and they’re not going to go down without a fight. Simply put, it ain’t over till it’s over.Chris Kunitz
is back in the lineup tonight after serving a one-game suspension for his hit on Simon Gagne in Game 4, and head coach Dan Bylsma said Friday
that Kunitz will resume his normal spot on the left wing alongside center Jordan Staal
and right wing Tyler Kennedy
. Bylsma would not divulge which forward will be out of the lineup today. He is scheduled to address the media at 10 a.m.; we'll post his transcript and video when we have them and let you know what he has to say.
Anyway, let's start the blog with a song whose title fits the current mood in the Pens' locker room.