Stanley Cup Playoffs: Eastern Conference Final Game Five

The Eastern Conference Final continued. It’s a good game, but not without some silliness.

There is plenty of stupid going on before the puck is ever dropped.
Pittsburgh defenceman Trevor Daley, who left last game early after taking a hit awkwardly, is out with a broken ankle. His postseason is over. Olli Maatta is back in. Lots of sources say winger Beau Bennett will be in, but Conor Sheary is on the published game roster. It would be Bennett who actually appears n the ice.

Marc-Andre Fleury is the starting goaltender for the Penguins. I’m not sure if that is foolish or not – eh, worth a try.

Also stupid:
WWE wrestler Shawn Michaels is in the Pittsburgh crowd, spawning “HBK watching HBK” memes
(“Heart Break Kid” was a WWE nickname for the wrestler, Hagelin-Bonino-Kessel is a forward line for the Penguins)

More stupid:

Andrei Vasilevskiy remains in goal for the Bolts with Kristers Gudlevskis holding the door on the bench.
Here is the (flawed) game roster.

First Period

Evgeni Malkin & Matt Carle are not playing nice. A Carle slash & Malkin embellishment result in both going to the box for unsportsmanike conduct. 4-on-4. Then, Sidney Crosby draws a hook from Tyler Johnson. This results in 0:35 of 4-on-3, then 1:25 of 5-on-4. Fortunately for them, the Lightning have a strong kill, not giving Pens many good looks.

Worth noting: who has the best glove-hand in the rink? Fleury? Vasilevskiy? Nope. Tom Kuhnhackl.

The period has been fairly slow, with TB being a little stronger, but with nearly no time left, Bryan Rust takes the puck 150 feet down the ice, manages to beat Victor Hedman to take a shot. Vasilevskiy makes a nice leg save, but Brian Dumoulin is following behind and picks up the rebound for a score. 1-0, Penguins.

SOG: 4-8
Shot Blocking 2-12
Faceoffs 38% 62%
Takeaways 4-2
Giveaways 0-4
Hits 10-16

Second Period

Things don’t go so well for the Bolts starting up the 2nd period.
They fail to block any passing lanes in the defensive zone, and they get Crosby to Olli Maatta to Carl Hagelin to Patric Hornqvist to net.

2-0, Pens.

Fleury has not been looking particulary special, but in 28 minutes, the Lightning have only gotten 5 shots on goal. (Thanks in part to active sticks by Penguins in defense). A Kris Letang slash would give then Lightning a power play, and they do get another shot through, and Fleury makes a nice toe stop.

The Lightning are next to go to the box, but they kill the penalty. Then Alex Killorn scores on Fleury’s short side, right after the kill. The score is now 2-1

70 seconds later, Lightning strikes twice! Vladislav Namestikov to Nikita Kucherov. And it’s 2-2 in Pittsburgh.

There would be more than 5 minutes of hockey left in the period.
In the last minute of the period, the Lightning are doing a lot of NOT HOCKEY on their shift. Note the holding by Anton Stralman, the rebound by Vasilevskiy and the following unprotected 5-hole Penguins take advantage. Chris Kunitz scores. 3-2, Penguins.

SOG: 9-13
Shot Blocking 1-5
Faceoffs TBL
Takeaways 1-2
Giveaways 0-3
Hits 20-16

Third Period

The Lightning seem to dominate zone time, but Penguins keep them to the outside. When the puck is in Tampa’s zone, the Penguins get good pressure and Vasilevskiy sometimes seems flustered. Late in the period, a Ryan Callahan zone entry leads to him hitting the post and puck bounces on goal line and out of crease. The goal light goes on, but it is waved off, and review proves this to be the correct call. It’s still 3-2.

Then Nikita Kucherov ties it up on a wraparound. Pierre claims “there was nothing he could do”, but Fleury was too slow to react. Tuukka stops that 8 times out of 10.

It’s a tie game with 3:10 remaining in the period.
Both teams would last the period with no additional scoring. Tampa Bay 3, Pittsburgh 3.

SOG: 11-12
Shot Blocking 5-5
Faceoffs even
Takeaways 0-2
Giveaways 1-2
Hits 7-10


After 53 seconds, Jason Garrison scores! Lightning win 4-3 in OT. It bounces off Tyler Johnson’s arm, so he will probably be credited with the goal.

The series is now Tampa Bay Lightning 3 Pittsburgh Penguins 2.

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