Tampa Bay Lightning
8:00 p.m., CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Game 7. The two works that any sports fan loves and hates both at the same time. If your team isn't playing (Chicago/Vancouver last night) then it is a great display of hockey and provide the ultimate entertainment. If you team is in it then you are just on pins and needles for an entire day waiting for the game and thinking about every single option that might happen.
Coming into the series a lot of people were making predictions and picking either the Pens or the Lightning. A common theme in both of them is that the picks were in seven games. This is not a novel idea that the Penguins and Lightning are in a game seven situation. The Lightning are a very offensively talented team and it has shown. The Penguins are a very tough defensive team and it has shown. A lot might seem different since the Penguins were up 3-1 in the series before the Bolts stormed back, but whatever. Could be a lot worse, the Penguins could be without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Oh wait...
Tonight is the first "must win" for the Penguins. It is the third straight for the Lightning. Sure the Penguins would have liked to have won games five and six but they were not must win games. Now it is. The Penguins had a few mental lapses in the past two games and it has cost them dearly. It is all on the line now. You know what has to be done.
Game 7's can go in a number of different ways. It could be like 2009 in Washington, happy, thrilling, joyous. It could be like Montreal in 2010, frustrating, angry, depressing. It could be anywhere in between. One thing is for sure is that someone will move on to the second round and one team will be golfing.
The only fitting end for this game 7 is overtime. You don't want to think about it, but you know it is. Even though I wasn't rooting for anyone in that Chicago/Vancouver game I was going through a ton of emotions so I can't even imagine what it would be like if that were the Penguins. Whatever. I am ready, you are ready, we all are ready for what is about to go down. Get ready to hold on to your jock. The season comes down to one game. Biggest in CONSOL's short history. It will be rockin.
Previous Series Games:
Game 1 - Pittsburgh 3, Tampa Bay 0
Game 2 - Tampa Bay 5, Pittsburgh 1
Game 3 - Pittsburgh 3, Tampa Bay 2
Game 4 - Pittsburgh 3, Tampa Bay 2 (2 OT)
Game 5 - Tampa Bay 8, Pittsburgh 2
Game 6 - Tampa Bay 4, Pittsburgh 2
The Penguins probables
James Neal - Mark Letestu - Alexei Kovalev
Chris Kunitz - Jordan Staal- Tyler Kennedy
Pascal Dupuis - Max Talbot - Chris Conner/Eric Tangradi
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 - Vincent Lecavalier - Teddy Purcell
Ryan Malone - Steven Stamkos - Martin St Louis
Steve Downie - Dominic Moore - Sean Bergenheim
Adam Hall - Nate Thompson
Victor Hedman - Pavel Kubina
Matt Lundin - Eric Brewer
Brett Clark - Mattias Ohlund
Marc Andre Bergeron
The Playoff Stats: