Tyler Kennedy’s goal at 2:43 of the third period turned out to be the game-winner as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal. The Penguins now lead the series two games to one.
Kennedy’s goal came after he had helped the Penguins win a faceoff in the Lightning zone. He pushed the puck back to defenseman Kris Letang, who fed the other defenseman, Brooks Orpik, for a one-timer from the top of the slot. Dwayne Roloson made the save, but the puck slid out just past the top of the crease as a pile of players formed in front of him. Dominic Moore lost sight of the puck in the scrum, and Roloson was unable to challenge Kennedy as he collected the rebound and scored.
Only 31 seconds earlier, the Lightning had tied the game on the power play. After Eric Brewer had barely held the puck in the offensive zone, his wrist shot was deflected by Vincent Lecavalier and bounced off Marc-Andre Fleury’s pads right to an open Martin St. Louis. His rebound shot cleared Fleury’s outstretched glove and found the net to tie the game.
After Pittsburgh took the lead, they focused entirely on maintaining the 3-2 advantage, bottling up passing lanes, pressuring the puck-handlers, and swinging sticks all over the ice to deflect pucks and disrupt any chances to tie the game. The Lightning pulled Roloson with a little over a minute to go as they tried to send the game to overtime, but they were unable to get a clean shot. Their best chance was deflected over the net with 10 seconds left after another pile of bodies formed around Fleury’s crease.
Fleury made 25 saves for the Penguins, while Roloson stopped 27 shots in a losing effort. St. Louis scored both Lightning goals on the power play. Arron Asham and Maxime Talbot scored first-period goals for Pittsburgh.
Trailing two games to one, the Lightning likely have to win Game 4, which would tie the series and give them a fighting chance as they return to Pittsburgh. Faceoff is a little after 7:00pm on Wednesday night.