Friday, May 13, 2016

Let the 2016 NHL Eastern Conference Finals begin

By: MF,

It’s time to start the third round of the 2016 National Hockey League (NHL) Stanley Cup Playoffs! The Pittsburgh Penguins were able to beat out the President Trophy winning Washington Capitals in a 4-3 overtime win in Game Six. Now they will face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Penguins will make their fourth visit to the Conference Finals since 2008. This is going to be a fast pace game as both teams play the same style of hockey.

This series will start out at Consol Energy Center. Home ice advantage has been huge for the Penguins in their fun for the Stanley Cup. They have won 21 of their last 26 home games and Matt Murray is riding a seven-game home winning streak, which includes being 4-0 at home in the playoffs. The Penguins have won both series-clinching games at home in overtime.

On offense, the line to be watching is the third line made up of Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino, and Phil Kessel. Hagelin lead the Penguins with seven points (three goals and four assists) in Round Two. Bonino ended up scoring the overtime game-winning goal to move past the Capitals to face off against the Lightning. Also, Kessel leads the team with 12 points (five goals and seven assists) in these playoffs. At home, Kessel has nine points (five goals and four assists) in six home games that rank second in the NHL.

As for defense, this series will feature the face-off between two great defensemen in Kris Letang and Victor Hedman. Look for these guys to set up in plays and make things happen. For some other guys coming up big on the blue line, Trevor Daley has six points (one goal and five assists) in six home playoff games.

The Penguins have depth in their four lines producing every chance they get and not relying only on their star players. Look for Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin to start putting up some numbers as the ice will be open as both teams like to play a fast skating game. This game will see more ice open for the players and test each goaltender. The Penguins have to play smart, not get caught up ice, and keep the pressure on the Lightning. Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:



Murray in the net! 

Play by Play
Pens 1 Lightning 3

3rd Period
0:00 - The Lightning take the first game 3-1 over the Pens. Can't say that I am completely concerned with the Pens dropping the first game. They have done it before in this playoff run and came out on top in the end. It's a race not a sprint. Just need to move on to the next game and bring it.

2:06 - Murray is back on the bench. Empty net once again for the Pens.

2:31 - Pens ice the puck and Murray comes back out.

2:46 - Pens power play comes to an end. Hornqvist had the best chance as the puck was loose in the blue paint, but he was unable to get a stick on it.

2:54 - Pens have an empty net.

4:46 - Dumoulin is hit into the boards by Palat and goes down on the ice. He is help to off the ice by Letang and Bonino. He heads straight to the locker room. Two minute minor for boarding given to Palat.

5:12 - Not much to update on. The Pens get in the zone then the Lightning clear and the cycle starts again. Time if running out for Pens, but this is only Game One. They have lost the first one before and ended up winning the series. So don't freak out yet, Pittsburgh Nation.

8:09 - The Pens are getting some chances, but time is running out for them. Quite a few whistles for face-offs, which is breaking up their pace.

10:59 - Maatta does a good job of pinching to keep the puck in the offensive zone.

13:33 - Looks like the referees are letting both sides play things out. Pens are getting some quality chances on net.

16:25 - Crosby from behind the net puts the puck right into the blue paint. Hornqvist's shot is stopped as he is pushed down. Great offensive pressure by the Pens.

17:28 - Cole with a hard low shot from the point that is redirect. Vasilevskiy makes the pad save. Nice puck cycling.

20:00 - We are back for the third period! The Pens have to take power play goal from last period and use that momentum! Put on the pressure! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00 - Second period horn sounds and the Pens trail the Lightning 3-1.

0:54 - HORNQVIST SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY! Crosby wins the puck off the boards and makes a great pass right to Hornqvist! Hornqvist rifles one blocker side! 3-1 Lightning

1:11 - Another power play opportunity for the Pens. They need to capitalize here to gets going their way.

1:35 - Drouin scores. The Lightning get a three-on-two chance after a turnover by Dumoulin. Palat makes a saucer pass over to Drouin that puts it past the glove of Murray. 3-0 Lightning.

3:37 - Fourth line of the Pens gets two solid chances on net, but can't get it past Vasilevskiy.

5:42 - Malkin leads a three-on-two chance and makes a pass that goes through the blue paint, but misses a Penguin stick. Missed chance once again for the Pens.

7:09 - Successful penalty kill for the Pens.

9:09 - Lightning will get a power play chance as Cullen will sit for tripping. Huge penalty kill.

9:54 - Johnson is back on the bench for the Lightning.

10:10 - Power play for the Pens comes to an end. Lightning blocking machines on the penalty kill. Malkin was denied every time he shot with a block. Filppula gets a shorthanded chance at the end of the kill, but his shot hits the crossbar.

12:10 - The Pens start to get some offensive zone pressure going and draw a penalty. Nesterov heads to the box for hooking. Pens to the power play.

15:10 - Malkin gets some speed on the wing and puts a shot on net that is swallowed up by Vasilevskiy. The Pens need to get more time in the offensive zone to put pressure on the young goaltender.

17:27 - Palat scores on the power play. Filppula fires a hard shot from the side boards and Murray makes a pad save. He gives up a big rebound that Palat puts right into the open net. 2-0 Lightning

18:14 - Now the Lightning get a chance on the power play as Malkin sits for hooking.

19:17 - The puck is loose in the offensive zone and Rust comes up with it. He drives to the net, but the puck is poke off his stick by Vasilevskiy.

20:00 - Time for the first period! The Pens have to keep up the pressure and finish their plays! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00 - First period ends and the Lightning have the 1-0 lead over the Pens.

0:34 - Kunitz lays a pushing hit on Johnson into the boards. Johnson ended up turning to face the hit, which opened him right up. He is helped to the locker room. Sad to see that, but it was a clean hit.

1:14 - Killorn scores. Killorn beats Maatta at the blue line and is all alone. He crosses across the center to put it five-hole on Murray. 1-0 Lightning

3:42 - Both teams getting caught up in the neutral zone. Kucherov with speed gets a chance down the wing, but Murray swallows up the shot.

7:59 - Bishop is in a lot of pain. He ends up needed a stretcher to get off the ice and Vasilevskiy will replace him. Never wish for injury and hope is ok. Also, Letang is back!

8:00 - Bishop gets caught up trying to play the puck. He goes down after trying to get back in position. He stays down and the trainer comes onto the ice. Looks like he might of twisted something trying to get back. No one made contact with him.

8:07 - The Pens have been possessed since their power play expired. They have been pressuring the net like no other and taking it to the Lightning.

11:52 - The Pens get a flurry of chances at the net as the puck is bouncing around in front. Bishop is able to keep it out.

12:10 - Callahan is set free and the Lightning are made whole again. Pens still missing Letang.

13:53 - Daley with some unreal hand-eye coordination to keep the puck in the zone by batting it down out of the air. Good sequence by the Pens there.

17:10 - Callahan lays a vicious hit to Letang right into the boards. Letang had his numbers showing and looks like he was out when he hit the ice. Letang heads to the locker room and Callahan receives a five minute major penalty for boarding.

18:13 - Drouin makes a pass right through the slot area to Palat who is coming down the wing with speed all alone. Murray robs Palat with a wave of his glove!

19:34 - The Lightning get the first chance of the game. Hedman fires from the blue line and it's redirect. It bounces right off the goal post. Close one for the Pens.

20:00 - Let the Eastern Conference Finals begin! The Pens have to play smart, stay focused, and keep up the pressure! Lets Go Pens! 

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