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Game 3, Penguins vs. Lightning Recap: PHIL PHIL PHIL! Pens win 4-2

Phil Kessel beasts up and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. See all the highlights and chime in with your thoughts here!

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Eastern Conference Finals Game 3, Pittsburgh Penguins @ Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lineups

The Pens use the same lineup from Game 1.

Tampa switches up a little, the dastardly Ryan Callahan returns from the flu that kept him out of Game 2, and defenseman Slater Koekkoek sits. The Lightning go with the standard 12 forward / 6 defensemen alignment for the first time in the series.

The Highlights

First Period

Intense first period, but not a lot going on. The best chance for either team came when Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel combined for a great sequence that Kessel somehow gets through 2 defenders into a shot on net, but Andrei Vasilevskiy stands tall with a great save.

Shots were 12-10 Tampa in the period.

Second Period

Kris Letang ruins Ondrej Palat's day

Kessel gets a breakaway on a great pass from Bonino (aided by a bad Tampa change) but Vasilevskiy is on top of the paint and there's nothing to shoot at.

Ian Cole breaks his stick and Patric Hornqvist passes his back to Cole (even though they're wrong handed). Cole actually plays the puck somewhat decently but the puck goes back to the point and Hornqvist goes all heart to slide and make sure he blocks Victor Hedman's effort to be able to clear the zone.

The game looks like it's going 0-0 into the second intermission but then a terrible turnover by Jonathan Drouin gets exploited by terrific hustle and burst by Kessel up the right-wing wall. Kessel shoots for a rebound and Carl Hagelin is there to put it in the net before Braydon Coburn can find it to score the first goal with 10 seconds left in the period.

Shots were an amazing 21-6 Penguins this period, they dominated possession as they typical have so far in this early series, but the game is still close at this point.

Third Period

Phil does it again, giving the Pens a 2-0 lead with a great shot from a Bonino pass.

Tampa doesn't sit back though, Nikita Kucherov drops a puck for Tyler Johnson to race in alone and fire it by Matt Murray to get the Bolts on the board just 14 seconds later to make it just a 2-1 Pens lead.

A little later, the Flyers in Braydon Coburn came out when he needlessly elbows Hagelin in the head during a 4v4.

The Pens take advantage on their 4v3 power play, loading up ALL offense with Crosby-Kessel-Malkin- Justin Schultz . Malkin defers to Crosby for a one-timer and he blasts it in for a 3-1 lead.

Pittsburgh strikes again soon after, Chris Kunitz collects a puck after more Pens pressure and fires it into the net before Vasilevskiy (scrambling all over the place to try and keep up) can make it back over. Nicely done to make it 4-1.

Palat scores in garbage time with a head-hunter so get ready for another 2 days of OMG Murray's glove WTF

Some Thoughts

  • Towards the end of the 1st period a pretty weak penalty call on Patric Hornqvist for slashing, the Pens PK did a great job of standing tall with the forwards in Hagelin, Nick Bonino, Matt Cullen and Eric Fehr all having standout moments to keep the puck out of the defensive zone for an extended time.
  • Crosby only played 5:01 in the first. Evgeni Malkin was at a healthier 6:27. The Pens are very balanced, but they could probably stand to get the big dogs out there just a little more.
  • Vasilevskiy lost his stick 3 times in the first 24 minutes of the game. He's got a little Marc-Andre Fleury in him to be very aggressive with that stick and risk losing it to go for a poke-check or get that stick dangerously away from his body to break up a pass.
  • No real doubt at this point that Kessel is the most dangerous Penguin on the ice right now (1g, 1a, 8 shots on goal tonight). Hagelin isn't far behind but seemingly any time these two are out there, they're making plays, controlling the puck and getting rubber to the net in a big way.
  • Hornqvist left the bench to the locker-room in a hurry late in the 3rd after taking a shot to the hand. Could be a major storyline and a big negative in the wake of a win if there's a major injury to his hand/wrist there. Stay tuned. :/
  • Likewise, Trevor Daley would leave with 18 seconds left for the room. Remains to be seen the damage.

But, all is well that end well. The Penguins were dominant tonight and take one more step to get closer to the Stanley Cup Finals.

10 wins down, 6 more to go, you guys.