Reporting Paul Alexander
At first blush, it appears the Pittsburgh Penguins are still in charge of their best-of-seven series with the Tampa Bay Lightning. They have two chances to win one game and advance to the second round.
My contention is that the Penguins better take care of business tonight in Tampa. There’s nothing like the pressure of trying to close out a series at home after allowing a 3-1 series lead slip away. A Dan Bylsma coached team has yet to clinch a playoff series on home ice and after what happened Saturday in Game 5, it’s tough to see a different result in a Game 7 at the CONSOL Energy Center.
I don’t want to read too much into Saturday’s blow out loss, but the reason I originally picked the Lightning in six games was that I just didn’t see the Penguins scoring enough goals to match all of that skill in the Tampa Bay line up. Watching Steven Stamkos plant himself in front of Marc-Andre Fleury and calmly deposit a backhand into the back of the net should not sit well with any of the Penguins’ defensemen.
You hate to over simplify anything, but if there is one constant in this series, it is “first goal wins.” I think it’s safe to say that the Penguins have to “get to their game” early and find a way to get on the board first.
I would not be surprised if that’s exactly what happens tonight, but if it doesn’t, look out. Penguin fans will suffer a serious Montreal Game 7 flashback Wednesday night at home. So, if you’re scoring at home, that makes tonight a classic MUST WIN….