0:00: That's the game. The Bolts hold off a furious rally from the Pens to win this game, 2-1. Tampa Bay clinches a playoff berth with the victory. The Pens wound up with a 37-24 lead in shots.
Lovejoy saved an empty-net goal, and then Neal nearly sent a shot home.
Fleury is out of the net!
The Pens kill the penalty!
The Penguins will go on the PK, as Kovalev heads to the sin bin for cross-checking.
More visual evidence of Crosby's morning skate.
WHAT A SAVE! Nate Thompson took a pass right in the slot and and had a clear shot at the net, but Fleury got his right leg over just in time!
The Penguins are knocking on the door right now. They are carrying the play throughout this period, as they currently lead in shots, 12-4, throughout the third.
Michalek just had a great block on a Bergenheim slapper from the right side, as Z stuck his leg out just in time.
That's a HUGE penalty kill for the Penguins, as Rupp is out of the box.
After the Penguins nearly had a shorthanded chance, the puck bounced into the neutral zone. Gagne would have had a clear breakaway, but he was ruled offsides.
Ryan Malone just had a breakaway. Rupp dove in and tripped him up as Fleury made the save. Rupp will head to the box.
St. Loius nearly gave the Bolts another two-goal lead with a shot from the left circle, but Fleury flashed the glove and made the save!
Staal nearly tied the game up - twice. First, he had an open lane from the slot, but it went just wide. Then, he tried to poke one home from the side of the net, but Roloson managed to keep it out.
Mike Rupp gets the Pens on the board!! Rupp found the puck on the boards and sent a wrister toward the net that beat Roloson top shelf! Lightning 2, Penguins 1
Neal is just all over the ice right now! After a Michalek blast from the point, Neal found a juicy rebound, but Roloson challenged the shot and made the save. Paul Martin
found the puck at the point and sent another blistering slapper toward the net, but Roloson snagged it out of the air.
Both teams are back to full strength.
The Pens will have a brief power play here.
Letang skated down the left side toward Roloson's short side. He lifted the puck toward the netminder, who had a little trouble batting it away, but there were no Penguins in the crease to poke it home.
We'll be four-on-four for 1:25 to start the third.
During the break, have a listen to what Sid had to say after his skate this morning.
SECOND PERIOD NOTES
- Neal leads the Pens with four shots and five hits.
- Craig Adams
is a perfect 4-0 in the faceoff circle.
- Ben Lovejoy
has blocked two shots.
With 0.1 seconds left, Fleury went to the bench in favor of an extra attacker. Letestu sent a shot off the faceoff that Roloson had to stop with his elbow. That's the end of the second period. The Pens lead in shots, 20-14, while they still trail, 2-0.
At the end of the period, Stamkos tried to crash the net, but Fleury moved out to challenge. Stamkos collided with him pretty hard, and he'll head to the box with less than one second remaining.
Stamkos ripped a wrister off the faceoff, but Fleury kicked it to the corner.
Neal takes a holding penalty to even things out.
After a delayed penalty on the Lightning, a scrum broke out. Tyler Kennedy
tried to challenge Victor Hedman to fisticuffs, but the referee stepped in. It looks like both players will head to the box for roughing. Those penalties are offsetting, while Downie is also in the box. Power play for the Pens.
Sean Bergenheim skated from the corner to the slot and tried to bury a puck past Fleury, but Flower stood his ground.
After an exciting four-on-four session, we're back to full strength.
Neal is coming sooo
close! He crashed the net on Roloson and got about three chances to smack home a rebound, but Roloson kept each shot out. Then, Neal led a rush up ice, squeezed between two defenders, and got another great look at the net. Roloson is standing tall, here.
After Downie dished out hits on Staal and Orpik, both Orpik and Downie will head to the box for cross-checking and slashing, respectively.
The Penguins have outshot the Lightning 9-0 so far in the second period.
10:51: James Neal
just got about three chances in the crease right there! Roloson made the save each time, and neither Neal nor Letestu could corral the puck to poke it in the net.
Letang found the puck at the center point. He got his defender to go down and ripped a shot toward the net. Roloson was in great position, though, and stopped the flying puck.
The Penguins weathered a Lightning storm there, and Neal and Letestu led a rush up the ice. Letestu then sent a sharp-angled shot off of Roloson's pads and into the netting.
It's the St. Pete Times Forum, so of course there are some epic front pages from St. Pete Times.
Downie sent a pass into the crease. Stamkos was in front of Fleury, but the shot bounced off a skate and sailed into the corner.
The Lightning killed the penalty.
Neal swooped around the net, grabbed the puck and skated toward the slot to shoot. Roloson froze the puck, though.
The Penguins will have another power play, as the Lightning take their third hooking penalty of the night.
Letang sent a wrister toward the slot, and James Neal
tipped it toward the net. But Roloson caught it.
FIRST PERIOD NOTES
- Tyler Kennedy
leads the Pens with two shots.
- Kris Letang
has a team-high 8:42 of ice time.
- Bot Neal and Talbot have dished out two hits.
That's the end of the first. The Penguins trail the Bolts, 2-0, and were outshot 8-6.
Downie took the puck to the left circle before he dealt it back up to the point. Brett Clark took the pass and one-timed it through traffic, but Flower made the save!
Chris Conner just sped through the offensive zone and got a nice chance from the doorstep, but Roloson batted the puck away.
Lecavalier is out of the box, back to five-on-five.
The Pens are headed back to the power play, as Lecavelier is in the box for hooking.
We're back to even strength.
6:51: Kris Letang
sent a rocket of a slapshot from the point, but Roloson made the save for the Bolts.
Pavel Kubina hooked Maxime Talbot at the blue line, and he'll head to the box for two. The Penguins will have a power play to try to cut the Lightning's lead.
After Lecavalier took out Kris Letang
on the forecheck, it cleared a path for Martin St. Louis to swoop in and take the puck. He went in undefended and ripped a shot top shelf past Fleury. Lightning 2, Penguins 0
The Penguins just got a great shift from the Kunitz-Staal-Kennedy line! All three players created some nice chances, and it ultimately ended in an icing call on the Lightning.
Photos from Crosby's morning skate in Tampa.
Malone found the puck behind the net, and tried a wrap-around shot. Fleury made the initial save, but Steve Downie poked the puck over the goal line. Lightning 1, Penguins 0
16:41: Chris Kunitz
led a two-on-one rush and dished the puck to Tyler Kennedy
, but Roloson made the save.
Penalty = killed.
Ryan Malone almost cashed in on his net-front presence, but Fleury made the save!
18:34: Pascal Dupuis
snagged the puck at the point and got a nice shorthanded opportunity, but Roloson stopped Dupuis' shot from the left side.
The Pens PK will get an early look at the Lightning's power play, as Paul Martin
is in the sin bin for interference.
Puck dropped, statements are ready to be made.
It's almost time for this "statement game," as Dan Bylsma referred to it.
Dwayne Roloson is in net for the Lightning.
Here are the Pens lines:
will man the crease, while Asham, Engelland and Godard will be scratched.
Good evening, folks! Welcome to my living room in freezing, snowy Pittsburgh. While Sam Kasan is experiencing some severe Florida weather, all of us are left wondering who angered Mother Nature (I bet it was Father Time).
Tonight, The Penguins take on the Tampa Bay Lightning
. Fourth-place Pittsburgh currently sits five points ahead of fifth-place Tampa Bay in the standings, meaning there is a strong possibility that tonight’s game will be a preview to the Penguins’ first-round playoff matchup. While the Penguins have already clinched a playoff spot, the Lightning are hoping to punch their ticket tonight with a win.
In the good news department for the Lightning, former Penguin and Pittsburgh native Ryan Malone is back in the Lightning lineup
after an injury sidelined him since Feb. 8.
On the Penguins side of the good news department, captain Sidney Crosby skated with the team this morning for his on-ice workout
. He will only be participating in morning skates, not practices. (See what Pens GM Ray Shero had to say about Crosby’s recovery on Wednesday
Here’s the video from Crosby skating with the team at the St. Pete Times Forum.