Pittsburgh 3 – Tampa Bay 2
PIT Goal Scorers: Maxime Talbot (1); Arron Asham (2); Tyler Kennedy (1) *GW*
TB Goal Scorers: Martin St. Louis (2, 3)
Goaltending Matchup: Fleury (2-1) 25 saves | Roloson (1-2) 27 Saves
1. Kris Letang (24:22, 2 assists, +1, 5 SOG)
2. Marty St. Louis (24:16, 2 goals, -1)
3. Marc Andre Fleury (25 saves, .926 save percentage)
Getting out to an early lead was among the keys to Pittsburgh winning game 3 and the Penguins delivered, taking away any momentum the Lightning built in Friday’s 5-1 win.
Max Talbot who has knack for picking up his game in the playoffs, beat Dwayne Rolson with a wrist shot off the rush at the top of the right circles for his 14th career playoff goal and 1st of the playoffs at 5:31 of the first.
Key plays that led to the goal was Ben Lovejoy taking a vicious hit from Steve Downie behind the net on the breakout and Chris Conner creating a screen on Roloson by driving to the net.
45 seconds later, Asham converted a 2-on-1 opportunity finishing a great backhand pass from Mike Rupp.
The goal was Asham’s 2nd of the playoffs and 3rd point of the series. Asham has 4 goals and 6 points in his last 10 playoff games, dating back to last season.
Pittsburgh’s 2-0 lead was cut to 2-1 late in the first when Jordan Staal was out muscled in front of the net by Marty St. Louis who beat Marc Andre Fleury for 2nd power play goal of the series.
St. Louis would later haunt the Penguins on the power play once again, getting his second goal of the game on a Paul Martin penalty 2:12 into the third period, tying the game at 2-2.
In what was a response game for the Penguins coming off Friday’s embarrassing 5-1 loss in Game 2, the Penguins responded in just about every area, and just after the Lightning grabbed momentum to tie the game, Tyler Kennedy scored 31 seconds later for his 1st goal of the playoffs at 2:43 of the period in what was the eventual game winner.
“He’s added an offensive punch when we needed it, comes up with game winner tonight, ” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “You got to have some guys that will step up and score goals, ” Bylsma said.
“Arron Asham got 2 in the playoffs right now, TK like he has been doing for us in the past 30 games, steps up tonight and gets the game winner.”
The game winner was Kennedy’s 1st goal in his last 14 playoff games.
Goaltender Marc Andre Fleury made 25 saves to improve to 12-4 when following a loss, since the 2008 post-season.
The Penguins improved to 10-1 in their last 11 Game 3’s and have surrendered just 23 goals during that span.
Kris Letang had a nice rebound game, earning the games No. 1 star with 2 assists on the night.
Zbynek Michalek logged a team-high 27:27 of ice time.
Ben Lovejoy had a team-high 4 blocked shots in just 12:23 of ice time and collected an assist on Talbot’s goal after getting caught with his head down and taking a hard hit from Steve Downie behind the net.
A concern for the Penguins remains untimely penalties. The Penguins gave up 2 power play goals for the second straight game and the Lightning are 4-for-11 on the power play in the series. That’s something the Penguins are going to have to fix.
Chris Kunitz elbow on Simon Gagne is fully expected to be reviewed by the league.
Game 4 is Wednesday night.