Penguins overwhelm Lightning to take 2-1 series lead

Crosby, Penguins Take Game 3
Crosby, Penguins Take Game 3

(The Sports Xchange) - The Pittsburgh Penguins pulled away to a 4-2 road win over the Lightning in Game 3 on Wednesday, regaining control of the Eastern Conference final with a 2-1 series lead.

Pittsburgh attacked Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy with 21 shots in the second period alone, scoring four goals in the final 20:10 of the game.

The Penguins pulled away with a 4-on-3 power play goal from Sidney Crosby, his fifth goal of the playoffs, making it 3-1 with 9:10 left in the third to give a cushion to goalie Matthew Murray, who made 22 saves.

The Penguins added a fourth goal with 6:48 remaining, as a loose puck went directly to Pittsburgh's Chris Kunitz, who scored his second goal of the post-season. Tampa Bay added a late goal by Ondrej Palat with 1:44 left in the game.

The 48 shots allowed by Tampa Bay is the team's most in a regulation playoff game -- the previous record was 40.

Just as Pittsburgh had scored for a 2-0 lead on a goal by Phil Kessel with 14:44 left in the third period, the Lightning answered just 14 seconds later, with Tampa Bay's Tyler Johnson scoring off a drop pass by Nikita Kucherov to make it a 2-1 game that brought the home crowd back to life.

Kessel, who had the assist on Pittsburgh's first goal, scored off a pass from behind the net from center Nick Bonino, who got his 10th assist of the playoffs on Kessel's seventh goal of the postseason.

Crosby's goal was set up by a rush of three penalties in 47 seconds -- Tampa Bay's Ondrej Palat and Pittsburgh's Kris Letang went to the penalty box for roughing and then Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn was called for elbowing, setting up the 4-on-3 power play.

It was just the third power play opportunity of the game, with each team missing on one earlier chance.

With 10 seconds left in the second period, Pittsburgh broke a scoreless tie, as Kessel intercepted a Jonathan Drouin pass with his skate, broke ahead down the right side, and left winger Carl Hagelin scored on a rebound off Kessel's shot.

The goal, Hagelin's fifth in the playoffs, gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead on their 31st shot of the game.

Originally published