Pittsburgh 3 – Tampa Bay 2 (2OT)
James Neal scored 3:38 into the second overtime and the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in Double-OT to take a commanding 3-1 series lead in the best-of-seven series.
Neal beat Dwayne Roloson glove side from the right hash marks with a one-timer shot for the game winner, his first goal in 17 games.
Neal’s goal was a classic overtime goal of just getting the puck to the net.
The Penguins who have been waiting for Neal to show up as a difference maker, now head back to Pittsburgh with the opportunity to close out the series Saturday afternoon at home.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 shots, including 12 of them in the extra periods to earn his 3rd victory of the playoffs.
Fleury’s counterpart Dwayne Roloson, made 50 saves for Tampa.
Tyler Kennedy (2) and Arron Asham (3) also scored first Pittsburgh. Kennedy got Pittsburgh on the board first, scoring Pittsburgh’s first power play goal of the series at 8:41 of the first period.
The Penguins came out of the gates strong for a second straight game. They dominated early on, most notably in the face-off circle, winning six straight offensive zone face-offs to open the game.
The Lightning got back into the game with a great individual play from Marty St. Louis (4) who blew by Matt Niskanen and Ben Lovejoy and beat Marc Andre Fleury for his 4th goal of the playoffs to cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 2-1 at 17:41 of the second period.
Sergei Bergenheim forced overtime tying the game up at 2-2 with 3:17 remaining in third.
Pittsburgh outshot Tampa Bay 53-31.
The Penguins group of top-4 defensemen all logged over 30 minutes of ice time. Brooks Orpik had a team-high 40:32 of ice time.
Game 5 is Saturday.