Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Flower blooms again

By: MF,

We are back in Pittsburgh for Game Five of the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals. The Pittsburgh Penguins are looking to take the series lead against the Tampa Bay Lightning as the series is tied up 2-2.

For tonight’s game, we will be seeing some changes to the lineup for the Penguins. For starters, the big change is in the net for the Penguins as Marc-Andre Fleury will start. Fleury came in to relieve Matt Murray in the third period of Game Four in Tampa. He stopped all seven shots he faced. Fleury was out of action for nearly two months after suffering a concussion on March 31. Murray has been the breakout star for the Penguins in these playoffs and has done a great job. However, it is nice to see Fleury back in net. The only concern is that he hasn’t really been challenged yet, but that will change tonight as the Lightning will look to exploit that.

That will not be the only change in the lineup. Sadly, Trevor Daley will be out for the rest of the postseason with a broken ankle, he suffered during Game Four. With Daley out, it looks like Olli Maatta will be stepping in to fill his spot. He has been struggling this postseason after battling some injuries. The big message Maatta received was from Head Coach Mike Sullivan (HCMS) to keep his game simple, have fun, play, and relax.

In addition, the offense will see some change as Beau Bennett will be returning to the lineup. Bennett has suffered some injuries as the regular season came to an end. This will be his 2016 postseason debut. Hopefully, he brings some new energy and is hungry to get one tonight. During practice, his did line rushes with Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist. That means that Connor Sheary will be out.

Now let’s take a look at the numbers going into Game Five. Up front, Phil Kessel has been leading the charge with eight goals, which is only one behind Nikita Kucherov (Lightning) and Joe Pavelski (San Jose Sharks) for the playoff lead. He is currently riding a three-game goal streak in these playoffs (three goals and one assist). Also, Chris Kunitz has goals in back-to-back playoff games. He has been stepping up his game lately. Since the start of Round Two things look like this:
·         Kessel – 11 points
·         Carl Hagelin – 10 points
·         Nick Bonino – 8 points
·         Kunitz – 6 points
That HBK line has been on fire and it’s great that the Penguins have such a dangerous third line.

Evgeni Malkin tallied his 46th career playoff goal, which ties him for fourth most in franchise history. Kunitz will also play his 98th career playoff game with Pittsburgh, which is ninth most in club history. Kris Letang will go ahead of Mario Lemieux tonight for the Penguins all-time playoff games played with 108. Currently, Letang is tied with the legend with 107. Ahead of them are Crosby and Malkin both with 115 games played. Jaromir Jagr holds the lead with 140.

For those still feeling nervous and uneasy going into tonight’s game, the Penguins are 4-0 this spring following a loss. They have also outshot the Lightning in all four games of the series.

Tonight, the Penguins will have to play smart and not slack on the defense front. With some changes to the lineup, it may take some adjustment. They need to take it to the Lightning early and often. They cannot let them have any room to breathe. Lets Go Pens! 

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Bennett - Crosby - Hornqvist
Kunitz - Malkin - Rust
Hagelin - Bonino - Kessel
Kuhnhackl - Cullen - Fehr

Dumoulin - Lovejoy
Maatta - Letang
Cole - Schultz

Fleury in the net! 

Play by Play
Pens 3 Lightning 4 OT

0:00 - Johnson scores. 53 seconds into the overtime, Garrison fires one that is redirect by the shoulder of Johnson past the glove of Fleury. 4-3 Lightning overtime win and they take a 3-2 series lead.

20:00 - Here we are with another overtime! The Pens need to use the same concept as Game Two and get this done! Now or never! Lets Go Pens!

3rd Period
0:00 - We are headed to overtime.

1:01 - The Pens became lazy again and the Lightning made them pay.

3:16 - Kucherov scores. Fleury makes the first save on Johnson, but Kucherov takes the puck and wraps it around. 3-3 tie game.

3:50 - It looks like Callahan ties things up, but it goes off the post and travels across the goal month out the other side behind Fleury. That was way too close!

5:21 - Fleury with a huge save on a shot by Hedman.

7:23 - Hornqvist's backhander is denied by Vasilevskiy. The puck was on edge and Hornqvist couldn't get much on that shot.

9:48 - Vasilevskiy with a big save on a wrister by Kessel.

10:44 - Kuhnhackl enters the offensive zone, stops, and turns to put it right on the stick of Fehr driving down center. Vasilevskiy with the save and gives up no rebound.

11:59 - Kunitz lays a punishing hit on Coburn!

12:45 - Kessel has speed up the wing and a step on the defense. He rifles one just wide of the far post!

13:17 - Johnson is set free.

13:24 - Now the Pens get a seven second power play.

15:17 - For the next 1:53, we will see some 4 on 4 hockey as Johnson sits for interference.

16:11 - Fleury with a nice save on Boyle's redirection.

17:24 - Huge penalty kill for the Pens right now as Maatta sits for high sticking and drew blood. That means a four minute power play for the Lightning.

20:00 - Time for the third period! The Pens have to come out with some fire and keep their foot on the pedal! They can't let the Lightning have any chances! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00 - Second period ends and the Pens have the 3-2 lead!

0:49 - KUNITZ SCORES! Malkin finds Maatta driving center and passes it off to him! Maatta goes behind the net and puts in back to the slot, where Malkin picks it up! He throws it on net and Kunitz puts in the rebound! 3-2 Pens

4:51 - The Pens defensive zone was a mess on that last goal. They need to push back and keep up the pressure. Giving the Lightning chances will cost you...and it already did...they need to take control of this one again.

5:35 - Kucherov scores. Namestnikov skates into the slot area with the puck and puts the puck right on the stick of Kucherov, who is wide open. He puts it in the open net. 2-2 tie game

6:45 - Killorn scores. Killorn snipes a shot short-side on Fleury. 2-1 Pens

6:58 - Power play time ends for the Pens.

8:58 - Time for the Pens to head onto the power play as Kucherov will take a seat for holding.

10:18 - A successful penalty kill for the Pens. Fleury was unreal.

11:25 - Fleury with an amazing stretch pad save to deny Johnson. He just went off his skate. Quick reaction time.

12:18 - Now the Lightning will have a chance on the power play as Letang sits for slashing.

12:38 - Fleury with a huge save on Drouin and Letang comes in to get the rebound out of harms way.

14:45 - Much better period for the Pens as they are utilizing the neutral zone to break out.

18:30 - HORNQVIST SCORES! Crosby fights to gain the zone and turns to pass the puck to Maatta! He quickly releases a shot that is redirect by Hagelin in front! Hornqvist picks up the loose puck in the blue paint to put it past Vasilevskiy! 2-0 Pens

19:19 - Bennett with solid shot off the face-off that is gloved up by Vasilevskiy.

20:00 - We are back for the second period! The Pens need to take that late goal and keep it going! Take it to the Lightning! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00 - First period ends and the Pens have the 1-0 lead!

0:07 - DUMOULIN SCORES! As the clock counts down, Rust gets around Hedman to get a 1-on-1 chance against Vasilevskiy! Rust is denied, but Dumoulin comes in to put in the rebound! 1-0 Pens

1:05 - Fleury with two big saves. He gloves up the puck for a whistle and the crowd erupts into a "Fleury" chant.

3:44 - Even with the shots being low, Fleury has faced some great scoring chances and been up to the challenge.

5:32 - The Lightning have a 3 on 2 play developing, but Rust gets back to break-up the play. Great defense work by Rust.

7:24 - Power play times ends for the Pens. Shots are 3-2 in favor of the Pens. Not many shots getting through.

8:49 - Regular power play for the Pens for another 1:25.

9:24 - First power play of the game will go to the Pens as Johnson is called for hooking. 4 on 3 power play for 35 seconds and then a regular power play for the rest of the time.

10:49 - Now we will get some 4 on 4 hockey as Malkin and Carle both get unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.

11:01 - Fehr lays a hard hit on Drouin. Wow, solid hit.

13:24 - The last few minutes has been a surge from the Lightning. Pens need to weather the storm and push forward.

14:40 - Both teams have had some chances on net. Fleury and Vasilevskiy have come up with some big saves.

16:30 - Callahan gets behind the Pens get a little one-on-one chance, but Fleury with the big stop.

17:47 - The Pens come out with some energy and speed to start, but whistle break up some of their momentum.

20:00 - The puck has dropped in Pittsburgh! The Pens need to come out and put the pressure on the Lightning early! Keep it coming early and often Pens! Lets Go Pens! 

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