It would seem the Pittsburgh Penguins are rolling.
Everything started with Sidney Crosby, who, under pressure, got the puck into the zone - and got it off to Olli Maatta. Maatta's shot reached Carl Hagelin right in front of the net, but with just one problem - Hagelin didn't really have a good angle on Andrei Vasilevskiy.
A whole side of the Lightning's net was left wide open, though. All Hagelin had to do was chip it out there - and all Patric Hornqvist had to do was fight his way in, and just like that, he picked up his seventh goal of the playoffs.
Oh, and he helped the Penguins get a multi-goal lead in a pivotal Game 5, too. Not a bad end to the first and start to the second periods for the Pens!
Now that's how you score your first-ever playoff goal.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are a fast team. As the clock was ticking down in the final moments of the first period, you had to keep that in mind. Especially with the puck in their own zone - until Bryan Rust picked it up and skated out, not even 10 seconds left in the period.
Got a shot on net. Not a great one, but when there's practically no time left, any shot is better than none at all.
And while Rust didn't score, Brian Dumoulin was following up behind him - and he was the benefactor of that last-second speed and effort, getting it right by Andrei Vasilevskiy, who was caught too far on one side of the net.
You gotta play to the last second. Especially when you're playing a team as fast as the Penguins.
It's now a well-known fact that Phil Kessel has bad breath, via a statement courtesy of the man himself. Thanks, Pierre McQuire!
Fortunately, Kessel's teammates are a kind, giving, and helpful bunch, presumably judgement-free.
The Penguins are playing some jokes on Phil Kessel now. There were several packs of gum and a big bottle of Listerine at his locker today.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) May 20, 2016
Cool mint! Winter fresh! That'll definitely help clear things up. Kessel is lucky to have such nice teammates willing to help him out and give him free stuff.
The Pittsburgh Penguins took a two-goal lead, but it was short-lived when the Lightning scored just 14 seconds later.
Enter: Sidney Crosby, the hero of Game 2 himself.
Playing 4-on-3, The Penguins were controlling the puck - and in the dying seconds, right before it would have returned to 5-on-4 play, Crosby showed no mercy. Not for the puck, not for the net, and not for the Lightning as he absolutely ripped it past Andrei Vasilevskiy to restore the multi-goal lead.
What was that about the Pittsburgh Penguins' speed being killer, again?
You can't take any time off against the Pens. Not even when there are just 10 seconds to go in the period. Because clearly, Phil Kessel will simply outskate you. And even if you cut him off? Well there's his speedy linemate, Carl Hagelin, to put it in.
The Penguins have outshot the Lightning 31-18 through two periods. They were beyond due. And finally, right at the end of the second period, thanks to killer speed, they've opened Game 3's scoring.
Okay, so the entire video isn't just the Penguins and Capitals - but the first couple of minutes feature them heavily. Once you see Sidney Crosby chat with the ref a little over 1:30 in, you're about done.
The Penguins generate some pretty awesome choice quotes from the officials, though.
In coming to Eric Fehr's defense: "Hey! He's not pointing his stick in you, you keep your stick outta him!"
"Matt how ya doin' bud?" We all know who Matt is by this point. Everyone loves him - including the refs!
And yelling at Carl Hagelin: "You got the powerplay, get outta here!" Wise words.
Matt Murray's won eight postseason games, which puts him among some interesting company.
Only four goalies with fewer than 10 regular-season wins (Murray has nine) have more victories in one playoff year. They are Ken Dryden (12 in 1971), Mike Vernon (12 in 1986), Steve Penney (nine in 1984) and Johan Hedberg (nine in 2001). Dryden led Montreal to a Stanley Cup, Vernon’s Calgary Flames lost in the Final.Elliotte Friedman, 30 Thoughts (#17)
That's extremely high company to be put in. Matt Murray's next playoff win would see him tie his regular season record; a win after that would see him break it - and hit double digits for the first time in the NHL. And while there are no guarantees it happens, it's certainly possible.
Who knows just how far this goes? But in the meantime, Murray is making history - for the Penguins organization, and potentially, league-wide.
You gotta get your rest in before you play in the playoffs. Especially when you're about to play 28 minutes, like Kris Letang did last night - by far the most out of everyone on the Penguins.
Fortunately, it looks like Letang has the perfect napping buddy on game day: his son, Alex, who is styling in his Frozen-themed pyjamas.
Adorable. And clearly effective, to boot.
Hockey and Punjabi go really well together, don't they?
Hockey Night in Canada provides a Punjabi broadcast alongside its English ones. Punjabi is widely spoken across Canada, so it only makes sense to provide a broadcast in many's native language, so the sport can be widely shared. (Think like how the Florida Panthers have a Spanish broadcast!)
So you want to watch Sidney Crosby's overtime winner over and over again - and it only makes sense, because that was seriously awesome - give it a watch in Punjabi, too.
Mike Rupp: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player more beloved in the NHL than Marc-Andre Fleury. I seriously have never heard a single bad word said about him. You ask any guy in the league and they’ll say, "Love him."
Murray is obviously extremely talented. His AHL numbers were unbelievable. He went 301 minutes without a goal scored on him in Wilkes-Barre. That’s the AHL record, and he did it as a rookie. That’s just stupid. It doesn’t even make sense. This is pro hockey. It’s not supposed to happen.
But all that talent aside, he’s 21 years old. He gets handed the reigns in the playoffs and he’s got to go against Henrik Lundqvist. Then he’s got to go against Braden Holtby, a guy who just tied Marty Brodeur’s regular-season wins record.
Look, you can have all the talent in the world. But if Flower was putting on a show of being unhappy? Forget about it.
Ryan Whitney: Yeah, Murray would have been a mess. You can’t handle the pressure of the playoffs if a guy of that stature is looking over your shoulder.
Mike Rupp: We’ve all seen that in the league. Goalies want the net. They just do. If Flower had been coming off the ice, slamming his helmet down at his locker, pouting, talking crap to the goalie coaches, it would’ve been a different story. But he didn’t. Does Flower want to be in net? Of course he does. Are you kidding me? But he’s supporting this kid genuinely.
That speaks speaks volumes about him as a human being. Flower is going to be in the Hall of Fame some day. I don’t think a lot of goalies in his position, with the swagger his name carries, would be as supportive.Mike Rupp and Ryan Whitney, for the Players' Tribune, on the relationship between Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray.
Fleury's had a great year for the Penguins, but a concussion sidelining him has unfortunately relegated him to the sidelines while Matt Murray - with the makings of a great career only just starting - has taken over.
And according to two guys who have played with Fleury, he couldn't be handling this any better - and this is just who he is. A really supportive, great guy who's taking up the perfect role as a cheerleader.
The rest of the piece is a breakdown of the playoff series, but this is definitely the best part. Pittsburgh doesn't have a goalie controversy, and it's thanks to two guys: Murray for doing so well throughout the playoffs, and Fleury for not just being a professional about things, but for going the extra mile in being supportive, as well.