The Pittsburgh Penguins will look to close out their first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 5 this afternoon.
History may not be on the Penguins side as they are 0-4 under Dan Bylsma when they have the chance to win a series on home ice.
However, I’m a firm believer that multiple-overtime victories carry over into the next game.
Here’s some quick keys to victory for Game 5.
1. Weather The Storm
This was key in Game 3 on the road in Tampa Bay and it’s especially important today in Game 5.
Tampa Bay has nothing to lose and will be amped up to keep their season alive today. It would not surprise me to see the Lightning control the first 10 minutes of the game.
If Pittsburgh can come out of the first 10 minutes tied or with the lead, I like their chances in the game.
If Tampa Bay gets another quick two goals like they did in Game 2, it could be a long afternoon.
2. Score The First Goal
Going back to the regular season, whichever team has scored the first goal has gone on to win the game.
An early goal by the Penguins will keep the crowd in the game and will start to put the seeds of doubt in Tampa Bay’s mind.
The Penguins just need to “get to their game” and throw everything at Dwayne Roloson. James Neal knows how well that worked out in Game 4.
3. Feed Off The Crowd
Sgt. Bob Timney will be doing the National Anthem once again today. His style of letting the fans sing along and take control of the song has been nothing short of incredible.
The crowd will be revved up due to the potential implications of today’s game, but throw in Timney on top of it and CONSOL will be rocking.
Should the Pens score the first goal, the roof very well may blow off the arena. It’s going to be an electric atmosphere in there today and that will only benefit the Penguins.
4. Killer Instinct
They say the fourth win in a series is the hardest one to get. However, with a 3-1 lead, you don’t want to let the other team think they have a chance.
The Penguins have been in this position before and have had to get on a plane and go on the road for Game 6.
There’s a trend that teams that go on to win the Stanley Cup have gotten out of the first or second round pretty quick.
It’s not unlikely that a win today would give the Penguins about a week off before the second round begins.
Buffalo and Philadelphia are already going to a sixth game with the Sabres holding the 3-2 series edge. A win by the Rangers on the road today would force a sixth game back in New York against the Capitals.
Getting this series over as soon as possible will allow the Penguins time to rest up and prepare for the next round, while their opponents continue to battle.
The puck is set to drop at noon and you can watch the game on Root Sports or Versus.
You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CaseySheaPens.