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Lightning Oust Penguins 1-0 – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Lightning Oust Penguins 1-0

Backed by the shutout goaltending of 41-year-old marvel Dwayne Roloson and a timely tally by Sean Bergenheim, the Lightning staved off a late charge by the Penguins to take Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals set 1-0.

It was playoff hockey at its finest as the rivals treated the partisan crowd of 18,507 at CONSOL Energy Center to a dramatic sixty minutes of non-stop action. Following a now-familiar pattern, the hustling Penguins dictated the tempo through the early going. Jordan Staal and Kris Letang each had a chance to stake the Pens to the lead, but were denied by the red-hot Roloson. At the eight-minute mark Chris Kunitz flew around Pavel Kubina but missed the net from close range.

The black and gold pounded “Roli the Goalie” throughout the opening period, piling up a 15-7 edge in shots. However, the veteran netminder continued to serve up goose eggs.

Tampa Bay finally broke the deadlock at 5:41 of the second period on a play that was déjà vu all over again. In a virtual rewind of his nifty setup in Game 6, ex-Pen Dominic Moore swooped behind the Pittsburgh net and reversed the puck to Bergenheim, who was stationed to the right of the cage. With Marc-Andre Fleury stranded at the far post anticipating a wraparound try, the Bolts’ winger drilled the puck into a yawning net.

“The Flower” atoned for his gaffe midway through the frame with a stunning glove save on Kubina from inside the right circle. Meanwhile, the Pens continued to fire away in search of the tying goal. Sixteen minutes into the period Staal pirouetted around a sliding Steven Stamkos and popped the puck into Roloson’s pads. Moments before the buzzer, Mark Letestu narrowly missed on a redirect.

Determined to go out on their shields, the Penguins turned up the heat in the final period. While working with the man advantage, Tyler Kennedy ripped off a sizzling shot from the right-wing circle, only to be stopped by the Lightning goalie. The Pens’ crash line of Craig Adams, Arron Asham and Mike Rupp enjoyed a terrific shift, pinning the Lightning in their own end for over a minute. After Fleury stuffed Adam Hall on the doorstep, Kennedy and Kunitz nearly jammed the puck past Roloson at the 18-minute mark.

The Penguins were handed one final power-play opportunity at 18:27, when Tampa grinder Nate Thompson was whistled off for slashing. Coach Dan Bylsma promptly pulled Fleury for an extra attacker to give his team a 6-on-4 advantage. But Roloson stopped James Neal from the slot with 34 ticks left on the clock to blunt the Pens’ last good chance.

It was a heartbreaking finish to a season that began with so much promise. But the valiant Pens battled a tough Lightning squad to the bitter end and have every right to be proud of themselves.

Ice Chips

Dwayne Roloson stopped 36 shots to earn the No. 1 star … The Penguins out-shot the Lightning 36-23 … Kris Letang and James Neal paced the Pens with a game-high six shots apiece … Jordan Staal won 14 of 24 faceoffs … Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 22 of 23 shots in a losing cause … The Pens finished the series 1-for-35 on the power play (0-for-25 at home) … The Pens lost a series after holding a 3-1 lead for only the second time in franchise history.

On Deck

The Lightning advance to the Semifinals to take on Washington. In other Eastern Conference action, Philadelphia and Boston hook up for a rematch of last year’s series. Out west, it’s Vancouver vs. Nashville and San Jose vs. Detroit.

*Be sure to check out Rick’s book, “Total Penguins,” at TriumphBooks.com. A complete and comprehensive book on the team’s rich and colorful history, it’s filled with season-by-season summaries, player profiles and stats, bios on coaches, general managers and owners, photos from the “Post-Gazette” archives, and much, much more. A must have for any true Penguins fan. 

*Be sure to check out Rick Buker’s books,
 
available at TriumphBooks.com, Amazon.com, and BarnesandNoble.com

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4 Comments

  1. TANGER58's Gravatar TANGER58
    April 28, 2011 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    I want to thank all the PP writers. I have loved reading all your articles this year.

  2. TANGER58's Gravatar TANGER58
    April 28, 2011 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    I think the Pens gave them all. Unfortunately, it was not enough and a little too late. Game 6 was where we should of sealed the deal. Great game! It seemed like we had a million chances to tie the game. Just wasn’t our night. Can’t wait to see what this team will do next year, with Crosby and Malkin back in the line up. GO PENS! (On a side note…I think the Lightning are toast in the next round.) However, I hope the Crapitals and Flyers both lose.)

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      April 28, 2011 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Well said, Tanger58. The Pens gave it everything they had, but it just wasn’t enough. I felt really badly after the game … not so much for myself as a fan but for the team. They worked so hard this season and showed such incredible grit and character in the face of overwhelming adversity. I was really hoping they’d win at least one round of the playoffs as a reward for all they accomplished. But as Bob Errey said, the Pens just didn’t have any “puck luck.” Still, they battled with the heart of a lion. I’m so proud of them.


            

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