Lightning finds lots of ways to score against Penguins
Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier celebrates his first period goal with teammates Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos during Friday's game at Consol Energy Center.
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Two nights earlier, Tampa Bay couldn't beat Marc-Andre Fleury.
In Game 2 of the first-round playoff series Friday night, the Lightning scored early, often and nearly every which way.
Except by penalty shot.
The Lightning scored two power-play goals, a five-on-five goal, a four-on-four goal and a short-handed empty-netter for a 5-1 win at Consol Energy Center to tie the series, 1-1, heading home to Tampa for Game 3 Monday.
"We just capitalized on our chances, something we didn't do in the first game," Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier said, referring to Fleury's 3-0 shutout Wednesday against the Lightning.
Lecavalier gave Tampa Bay two goals on its first five shots when he scored on a power play at 6:53 of the first period off of a backhand feed from Simon Gagne, one of Gagne's three assists.
On its first shot, the Lightning moved ahead, 1-0, as defenseman Eric Brewer finished a two-on-one 2:02 into regulation on a four-on-four play. Brewer also had two assists.
"Any playoff game that you're up, 2-0, right away is important -- especially the first game not being able to score. [Fleury] made some unbelievable saves that first game," Lecavalier said.
The third goal in the first period, the only five-on-five goal of the night, by Nate Thompson at 17:02, had the effect of leaving Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher a bit uncomfortable.
"Going into the dressing room with three goals, you like it, but, at the same time, we knew what was coming up in the second period," he said. "We were warning the players, and they were warning themselves, but I didn't like the ease part."
The Penguins dominated most of the second. They spoiled Dwayne Roloson's bid to answer Fleury with a shutout -- but Roloson had no one to blame but himself.
The goaltender moved to his left out of his net to play the puck along the extended goal line. But he bobbled it, and it dribbled over the line into the area outside the trapezoid. Roloson could not legally play the puck there.
Penguins forward Arron Asham swooped in and shoveled the puck toward the net as Roloson scrambled to get back there. Asham's fourth-line cohort, Craig Adams, flew down the slot and lifted the puck past Roloson's left shoulder to make it 3-1 at 9:08 of the second.
The Penguins continued to build momentum for several minutes, controlling play and producing a flurry of shots and scoring chances, but Roloson held, and the Lightning got a back-breaking, power-play goal from winger Martin St. Louis with 14 seconds left in the period.
"I thought it was a big goal at the end of the period because they took it to us pretty good in the second," said St. Louis, who hurled the puck to the crease from a severe angle to Fleury's left before it wiggled its way under the goalie's pads.
For good measure, the Lightning got its short-handed, empty-net goal from defenseman Mattias Ohlund at 17:55 of the third, ruining the fun for 18,507 in the house, the largest hockey crowd at Consol Energy Center, which opened last summer.
The Lightning had a tremendous night on special teams, holding the Penguins without a power-play goal on seven chances in addition to scoring two power-play goals and a short-handed one.
And Tampa Bay proved it can beat Fleury.
"He's an incredible goaltender who's very hard to beat, so we expect him to bounce back the next game," Boucher said.
First Published April 16, 2011 12:00 am