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Penguins vs. Lightning Recap: Heart break kids, Pens fall in OT

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning lock horns for a 5th time, and Tampa comes back to win in overtime.

Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports

Eastern Conference Finals Game 5, Tampa Bay Lightning @ Pittsburgh Penguins

The Lineups

Changes for the Pens - Olli Maatta has to come in for Trevor Daley (broken ankle). Beau Bennett makes his 2016 NHL playoffs debut, replacing Conor Sheary (healthy scratch). Oh and Marc-Andre Fleury gets his first start in net since March 31st, replacing Matt Murray .

Tampa sticks with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen. Once again Steven Stamkos and Ben Bishop are out.

The Highlights

First Period

Not a great start for the Pens, Tampa attempts 11 of the first 13 shots on goal, but they only get 2 on net (and Fleury stops them both). Nice for Pittsburgh to hang tough but ideally they would have had a cleaner start with better and more puck control.

Eric Fehr lays a big, heavy (clean!) hit on Jonathan Drouin . Exciting since that's not really Fehr's game to be so physical but just indicative how everyone has to step it up this time of year.

The Pens hit the scoreboard first, Bryan Rust does a great job in the dying seconds of the first period to drive around no less than Tampa's best defenseman in Victor Hedman to get a puck to the net. Andrei Vasilevskiy kicks out a rebound right to Brian Dumoulin who quickly fires a puck home just before the clock hits 0:00.

1.7 seconds left, woo baby.

The Pens probably didn't deserve to be up 1-0 at the end of 20 minutes, but after all the Tampa pressure they only got a total of 4 shots on goal in the first period. The Pens got 8, with Rust making the best play of the period and getting rewarded.

Second Period

The Pens come out strong in the first period, Sidney Crosby finds Maatta at the point. Maatta sends a puck in on net and Carl Hagelin makes a sublime little chip pass over to Patric Hornqvist who has an easy tap-in to make it 2-0.

Shawn Michaels, your thoughts?

Kris Letang gets called for a pretty weak slashing penalty, but Fleury comes up big with an athletic save on Tyler Johnson and the Pens end up killing the penalty.

The Pens then get a power play of their own and can't make the most of it, Tampa seems to build momentum and then Alex Killorn rifles a puck over the shoulder of Fleury to make it 2-1.

Tampa quickly ties, a really nice pass from Vladislav Namestnikov over to Nikita Kucherov who instantly fires a puck into the open net. 2-2 in the blink of an eye with 2 goals for them in 1:10.

Pittsburgh scores another goal in the last minute of the period, Maatta makes a nice rush to the net and the puck finds Evgeni Malkin . Malkin spins and shoots, Chris Kunitz finds the rebound and swats it past Vasilevskiy to send the Pens up a goal for the second intermission.

Third Period

Late in the 3rd period Ryan Callahan rings one of the post so hard, but it doesn't go in. And, somehow it doesn't hit Fleury's right leg and go in either.

However Kucherov would tie the game on the next shift, after Fleury fails to handle an incoming shot and the rebound kicks out to Kucherov for his 11th goal of the playoffs.


As overtimes go, they end quickly or then after a long time. Tampa would make it quick tonight. Jason Garrison gets the puck with plenty of open room and he walks into open space and fires a shot that deflects off Johnson's back and into the net.

Tough one to take, Pens are up against elimination for the first time Tuesday night in Tampa.

Some Thoughts

  • Tampa gets the first good scoring chance of the game, Andrej Sustr makes a long stretch pass to Ryan Callahan who is in all alone on Fleury. MAF makes the save after a rolling puck also hinders Callahan.
  • Dumoulin's goal is only his 2nd in his 114th career NHL game (playoffs + regular season). Weirdly enough, both have come against the Lightning. This is his first since December 15th, 2014 and what a time for it!
  • A lot of good stick-on-puck work by the Pens in the first period to keep multiple Tampa shot attempts from being shots on goal. Made a goalie's job a lot easier.
  • Weak goal for Fleury to give up to make it 2-1. He was off his angle and as the NBC broadcast team was pointing out, it wasn't the first time he left space to shoot at high and to the blocker side. Hopefully the coaches get him cleaned up and he naturally sharpens with more playing time.
  • Goals in now 3 straight games for Kunitz. We gave him a tough time for his lack of production, so it's only fair to heap praise now that he's filling the net again. Also it's no coincidence that guys like Kunitz and Hornqvist are scoring this time of year and from right in front of the net. Just got to get to the front of the net to score goals in the NHL.
  • A very nice (and perhaps unexpected) bounce-back by Maatta through 40 minutes. His point-shot was the catalyst of the Pens goal of the game, his drive with the puck to the net started the sequence for the 3rd goal. Six days after his last game action, he started off to have arguably one of his best games in a while. With Daley knocked out of the playoffs, it couldn't have come at a better time. Maatta did take a 4-minute penalty
  • Shot blocks through 2 periods: Pittsburgh 17, Tampa 3. Not encouraging to have to deflect away so many attempts towards net, but at least the Pens defense was playing detailed-game.
  • The ice in Pittsburgh looked about as bad as it was in Tampa last game. Pucks bouncing all over the place. To a certain extent, that's the cost of doing business playing hockey into late May, no matter where you are.
  • Very interesting the Pens are confident enough in Ian Cole and Justin Schultz to start them (along with the Malkin line) for the beginning of the 3rd period. Granted, Tampa "only" played their checking line of Callahan-Filppula-Brown and not their more dangerous scorers, but still, shows some faith for the Pens to play their 3rd pair and Letang automatically. And Filppula is the best TB faceoff center, so as a coach, you put that 3rd pairing out knowing there's a decent chance they're going to have to do some defending.
  • Fleury definitely played like a goalie who hasn't started a game in 7 weeks. Off his angles, poor rebound control and feel of the puck all night. Not the type of night the team was hoping for, to be sure, and now the door is wide open for what the best course of action is next game.
  • Pens lose for the first time all season when leading after 2 periods. They were 46-0-0 before this point. That streak had been a little shaky with giving up 3rd period goals (and winning in OT) but still, really tough time to lose that first one.

Now we'll see what happens with adversity in the way. The Penguins face their first "must win" game of the season on Tuesday night and on the road. Put up or shutup time.