Lightning even series to force a Game 7
TAMPA, Fla. Steve Downie scored to snap a third-period tie and Dwayne Roloson stopped 27 shots Monday night, helping the Tampa Bay Lightning beat Marc-Andre Fleury and the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-2, to force a Game 7 in their first-round playoff series.
The deciding game is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, where Tampa Bay has already won twice this postseason, including an 8-2 Game 5 blowout that began its comeback from a 3-1 deficit in the Eastern Conference series.
Downie put the Lightning ahead for good, scoring just over a minute after Pittsburgh’s Jordan Staal gave the Penguins life with a goal that made it 2-2 early in the third. Teddy Purcell, Sean Bergenheim and Ryan Malone also scored against Fleury.
Pulled after yielding four goals on 14 shots in Game 5, Fleury couldn’t protect an early lead and struggled again when Pittsburgh looked like it had regained momentum.
Downie’s go-ahead goal came moments after Roloson rejected point-blank shots by Maxime Talbot and Pascal Dupuis. The Tampa Bay goalie also was at his best in the second period, when the Lightning killed four penalties and Pittsburgh’s Chris Conner failed to score on a penalty shot that would have tied the score.
Malone beat Fleury, who had 17 saves, on a breakaway to make it 4-2 midway through the third.
Steven Stamkos, Simon Gagne and Pavel Kubina each scored two goals in the Lightning’s Game 5 win, when Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher encouraged his players to shoot the puck more in hopes of increasing opportunities for rebounds. The result was a barrage of goals that chased Fleury less than 15 minutes into the rout.
The Lightning started slowly this time, going nearly 11 minutes without getting a shot and falling behind when Talbot took advantage of Roloson’s bad pass behind the net to feed DuPuis for his first goal of the series. That changed when Purcell scored on a rebound 8 seconds after the Penguins killed off a penalty.
Bergenheim’s goal, coming off a nifty pass from Dominic Moore, gave Tampa Bay a lead at home for the first time in the series. The Penguins squandered 2-0 leads in Games 3 and 4 at the St. Pete Times Forum, however they recovered to win both to take a 3-1 series lead back to Pittsburgh.