NHL Playoffs Game 7 Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins

This series has been a real back-and-forth affair with three lead changes and now into a decisive Game 7. “I think we’re going to use all of that tonight, all those emotions after that game and all those feelings to make sure we have a much better effort tonight”.

C Sidney Crosby had the game-winning goal and an assist on Tuesday. Taking Phil Kessel to score game-winner.Kessel to score game-winner.

Except it’s not. Especially not in Game 7.

Should the Bolts beat the Penguins in Thursday’s game, they’ll move onto the Stanley Cup Finals for the second year in a row. That’s because the Lightning rallied for a 4-3 overtime win in Game 5 at Pittsburgh on Sunday after falling behind 2-0.

The Lightning understand they let an opportunity get away in Game 6.

The big difference between then and now, however, is the availability of Ben Bishop. Murray loomed large in the third period when the Lightning managed a belated response to the big Penguins push. Which brings us to this. If one goes in that he thinks he should have had, he just refocuses and he plays.

The Penguins will need to rely on Murray’s precocious maturity if it wants to buck a curious trend that started well before Murray was born. He posted a 2.17 goals-against average, a.935 save percentage and four shutouts.

Now, though, the National Hockey League has told them that they need to shut it down for game seven. It should be fascinating to watch these two.

Two words, small words, usually uttered by the losers.

Holding a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes, the Penguins survived the Lightning’s furious comeback attempt in the third period. But if Murray turns in another performance like he did in Game 6, then the Penguins will likely advance and Sullivan will deserve more credit than he’s receiving for his decisions.

His team has won six of them. “It’s the most exciting game of a lot of guys careers”, Stamkos said. He ranks fourth in points and second in goals scored this postseason. Stralman and Boyle seek their third straight trip to the Stanley Cup Final. It will also have no shortage of drama, as it will be 1 game victor take all. And it’s about enjoying it, enjoying the moment, playing loose, having some fun with it.

Bishop, out since getting hurt in Game 1, was one of the last Lightning players on the ice at today’s optional skate.

“They played better than us for two periods”, Cooper said.

The Lightning did try to be the comeback kids once more though. It speaks to their depth. “We’ll kind of be in that maybe you can play, maybe you can’t”. “I think our team actually got a boost from it because we knew we had dodged a bullet there”. The Penguins displayed discipline that had been lacking at various points in the playoffs as they allowed Tampa only one power-play opportunity in Game 6.

That’s not totally important, though.

Part of that is better protection, keeping the body between the puck and the defender.

He continues to show signs of progress over the past week. Evgeni Malkin had an assist.

Looking at the history of those contests, two of the opponent franchises are original-six organizations (Boston Bruins in 2011 and New York Rangers previous year in 2015). That’s quite a workload. They could have closed out Pittsburgh at home but fell behind by three goals and didn’t recover, fitting for a series that appears to be a coin flip as a whole but not so much night to night. He’s also seeing the bulk of his ice time against top opponents. The Penguins captain is now 6-9-15 through 17 playoff games. “It’s going to be a good one”.

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