Tampa Bay Lightning
7:30 p.m., St. Pete Times Forum
If you ask me what is the most important game of a seven game series I would most likely come back and tell you that game three is the most important. Sure it is nice in game one to get a win and start on top and game two is important to either create space or tie it up, but game three is the real first time that we can have a team pull away.
Coming out of game three it will either be 3-0 and look to be pretty much over in this day and age (sans Boston/Philly) or it can be 2-1. Granted we know which way this one is going to go but this is a big game in another regard. The Lightning stole home ice away from the Penguins with their big win in game two. The Penguins can claim back home ice with a win tonight.
It wasn't a secret that the Penguins struggle on the power play. They have struggled to massive proportions. 0-for-13 on the power play and they maybe had two of them that actually resembled "good" power plays. Lets not get shocked that it sucks. It is what it is. Have to overcome it and maybe get a goal here soon. If nothing else they need to have good stretches of play on the man advantage and create some quality chances. Even if they don't scored you have to make Tampa work hard. We have seen in two games that Tampa gets pretty tired as the game wears on so that needs to be taken advantage of.
Outside of the power play the Pens have struggled to score goals. Rather than try to get pretty goals they just need to crash the net and get dirty. This team has a lot of grinders and that is what they need to do. Get in the corner, lay the body on someone and get in Roloson's face. Knock him down and make the defense feel uncomfortable. Work hard and they will get rewarded.
Word was that in yesterdays practice (or the day before, I can't keep track anymore) that the Pens were putting in a few new wrinkles to break the trap that the Lightning like to run because if they get the first goal or two then they can really suck the life out of the game.
That being said it will be important for the Penguins to come out and start strong. They were really sloppy in the first period of game two and it cost them, big time. MAF wasn't sharp but he is someone that has made a reputation for bouncing back so I don't anticipate him being lit up for four goals like he was on Friday.
Previous Series Games:
Game 1 - Pittsburgh 3, Tampa Bay 0
Game 2 - Tampa Bay 5, Pittsburgh 1
The Penguins probables:
James Neal - Mark Letestu - Alexei Kovalev
Chris Kunitz - Jordan Staal- Tyler Kennedy
Pascal Dupuis - Max Talbot - Chris Conner
Mike Rupp - Craig Adams - Aaron Asham
Kris Letang - Brooks Orpik
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Matt Niskanen - Ben Lovejoy
Marc Andre Fleury
For the Lightning:
Simon Gagne - Steven Stamkos - Steve Downie
Nate Thompson - Vincent Lecavalier - Martin St Louis
Adam Hall - Dominic Moore - Dana Tyrell
Ryan Malone - Teddy Purcell - Sean Bergenheim
Victor Hedman - Pavel Kubina
Matt Lundin - Eric Brewer
Brett Clark - Mattias Ohlund
The Playoff Stats: