PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Lightning didn’t strike just twice in the same place Saturday afternoon at CONSOL Energy Center, as Tampa Bay routed the Penguins 8-2.
Tampa Bay only needed three goals, but put up eight for good measure to keep their season alive. Pittsburgh now leads the best-of-seven series 3-2.
The Lightning led 7-0 early in the third period before Mike Rupp beat Dwayne Roloson to break the shutout.
However, the game didn’t start out with Tampa Bay controlling the play. Pittsburgh dominated the first 15 minutes of the opening period, but were unable to get a puck behind Roloson.
Chris Kunitz returned to the lineup after serving a one-game suspension for elbowing Simon Gagne in the head in Game 3.
Kunitz got the first shot of the contest with a slap shot from the left faceoff circle. The puck squirted through Roloson’s arm and body, but Tampa’s defense was there to clear it out of danger.
Later in the period, Brooks Orpik’s slap shot through a crowd rang off the far post.
With just over three minutes left to play in the first period, Gagne finished off a series of spectacular passing to put Tampa Bay up 1-0.
Only 46 seconds later, Steven Stamkos beat Marc-Andre Fleury to a rebound and chipped it into the net for his first goal of the playoffs.
Tampa Bay took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. Vincent Lecavalier, Gagne and Stamkos scored in the second to extend the lead to 5-0.
In the third period, Pavel Kubina scored two power play goals almost three minutes apart to continue the onslaught and make it 7-0.
Rupp’s rebound goal came 51 seconds after Kubina’s second goal of the game to get the Penguins on the board.
Chris Conner gave the fans something to cheer about with another goal just under two minutes after Rupp lit the lamp.
However, Tampa Bay would have the last laugh as Dominic Moore scored the fourth power play goal of the game for the Lightning at 15:35.
Pittsburgh is now 0-5 on home ice with a chance to close out a playoff series under head coach Dan Bylsma. On the road, the Penguins are 5-1 when they can end a series under Bylsma.
The series now shifts to Florida for Game 6 Monday night.