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2011 NHL Playoffs: Lightning, Penguins Face Off In Do-Or-Die Game 7

There's no tomorrow for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Win Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal against the Pittsburgh Penguins and they earn a trip to either Washington or Philadelphia to start the second round this weekend. Lose, and they earn a trip to the golf course. The puck drops a little after 8:00pm Eastern time from the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. Sun Sports will have TV coverage from the opening faceoff, and Versus will join the game in progress after the Bruins-Canadiens game ends.

Part of battling back from a 3-1 series deficit is treating every game like it's your last. So with the Lightning facing their third straight elimination game, coach Guy Boucher is comfortable with the pressure of a Game 7 because his team has already been through it twice and they continue to learn from the experience.

"What's the difference between us being eliminated in the fifth game, being eliminated in the sixth game? We've been playing Game 7 hockey the last two games. ... Players are managing circumstances better than they were before. There's a lot more calm when a penalty is called against us. There's a lot more calm when the other team scores, a lot more calm when the other team starts to get a bit of momentum."

With the Lightning squashing the Pittsburgh power play (1-for-30 in the series) and having their way in front of Marc-Andre Fleury's net, coach Dan Bylsma is considering lineup changes for Game 7 that may include the return of Eric Tangradi and Derek Engelland. Tangradi was parked in front of the net on Pittsburgh's only power-play goal of the series, and Engelland's toughness may help clear Lightning players out from their perches next to Fleury.

Last year the Penguins blew a 3-2 series lead to the Montreal Canadiens in the second round, losing Game 7 badly on home ice. Meanwhile, the Lightning have won both of their Game 7's in franchise history, but this is their first road Game 7. Can they complete the comeback and move on to the second round?


Chew off your fingernails waiting for tonight's game with the fans at Raw Charge, SB Nation's Lightning blog.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.