NHL Eastern Conference Finals Game Five: Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins

2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
Eastern Conference Finals – Game #5
#2 Tampa Bay Lightning at #2 Pittsburgh Penguins
Best of Seven Series Tied 2-2
Consol Energy Center – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Sunday, May 16, 2016, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: NBC Sports
Opening Line: Penguins -200 / Lightning +170
Current Line: Penguins -200 / Lightning +170
Opening Total: over 5 -110 / under 5 -110

The Penguins and Lightning are tied at 2-2 going into game five Sunday night in Pittsburgh.
The Penguins and Lightning are tied at 2-2 going into game five Sunday night in Pittsburgh.

The Eastern Conference Finals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning is now a best of three series with each team winning once on the road and at home. Game five is Sunday night in Pittsburgh.

Tampa Bay won game one 3-1 in Pittsburgh, despite losing goalie Ben Bishop to a knee injury in game one. Bishop hasn’t played since and has been replaced by Andrei Vasilevskiy. Bishop is listed as questionable for game five. Pittsburgh won game two at home 3-2 in overtime and game three 4-2 in Tampa Bay. The Lightning evened the series with a 4-3 victory in game four Friday night.

Game four was a wild affair as the Lightning led 4-0 going into the third but had to hold on for a 4-3 victory. Ryan Callahan scored 27 seconds into the game for the Lightning and Andrej Sustr added another goal 14 minutes into the first. Jonathan Drouin added a power play goal 15 minutes into the second and Tyler Johnson scored three minutes later. Pittsburgh finally got on the board a minute into the third period on a goal from Phil Kessel. Evgeni Malkin scored for the first time in nine games 11 minutes into the third. Chris Kunitz scored a power play goal two minutes later. Neither team would score again. Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray was benched in favor of the returning Marc-Andre Fleury who hadn’t played since suffering a concussion in March. Fleury will start game five. Pittsburgh had 38 shots to 37 for Tampa Bay, including 16-7 for the Penguins in the third period. The Penguins won 33 faceoffs to 31 for the Lightning. Both teams were 1/4 on the power play. Vasilevskiy made 35 of 38 saves. Murray made 26 of 30 saves. Fleury made all seven saves.

Tampa Bay is coached by Jon Cooper. The Lightning finished second in the Atlantic Division with 97 points behind the Panthers who had 103 points. The defending Eastern Conference champion dispatched the Detroit Red Wings in five games in the first round. The Lightning lost game one against the New York Islanders but then won four straight games to return to the Eastern Conference Finals. Tampa Bay is 57-33-2-3 and the total is 39-44-14 this season.

Pittsburgh is coached by Mike Sullivan. The Penguins finished second in the Metropolitan Division with 104 points. Pittsburgh dominated the New York Rangers in 5 games in the first round. The Penguins outscored the Rangers 21-10 in the series. Pittsburgh upset the Washington Capitals in six games in the second round. Five of the six games were decided by one goal including 3 overtime games. Pittsburgh is 58-31-4-4 this season and the total is 43-36-18 this season.

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Tampa Bay is outscoring teams 2.93-2.14 this season. The Lightning average 28.6 shots per game and opponents average 32.8 per game. Tampa Bay is 9/50 (18%) on the power play and 48/56 (85.7%) on the penalty kill. The Lightning have not scored or allowed a short handed goal.

Bishop is 8-2 in the playoffs with a 1.85 GAA. He has made 279/297 (.939) saves with two shutouts. Andrei Vasilevskiy is 2-2 and has a GAA of 2.58. He has made 150/161 saves (.932).

Nikita Kucherov has 16 points with 9 goals. Tyler Johnson has 15 points with 9 assists. He is probable after getting hit in the mouth in the last game.   Victor Hedman has 13 points with 9 assists. Jonathan Drouin has 12 points with eight assists. Alex Killorn has 12 points with 4 goals. Three other players have at least 6 points. Center Steven Stamkos is out indefinitely with an arm injury. Defenseman Mattias Ohlund is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

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Pittsburgh is outscoring teams 3.20-2.40 in the playoffs. The Penguins average 34.9 shots per game and opponents average 30.8 per game. Pittsburgh is 14/53 (26.4%) on the power play in the playoffs and 41/50 (82%) on the penalty kill. The Penguins have one short handed goal and has allowed one as well.

Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury missed the first two rounds with a concussion. Murray is 9-4 in the playoffs with a 2.33 goals against average. He has made 360 of 390 saves (.923) with one shutout. Jeff Zatkoff is 1-1 with a 3.07 GAA. He has made 59/65 saves (.908). Zatkoff played in two games in the first round.

Phil Kessel has 17 points with nine assists. Center Sidney Crosby has 13 points in the playoffs including 8 assists.   Nick Bonino has 13 points with 11 assists. Carl Hagelin has 11 points with 6 assists. Evgeni Malkin has 11 points with 7 assists. Kris Letang has 9 points with 8 assists.  Patric Hornqvist has nine points with 6 goals in the playoffs. He is probable with a hand injury. Six other players have at least 5 points in the playoffs. Right wing Beau Bennett is out with a shoulder injury. Left wing Scott Wilson and center Kevin Porter are both out indefinitely. Defenseman Trvor Daley is out with a lower body injury.

Tampa Bay is 4-1 in road games, after a win, on one day rest and in Sunday games, 6-2 against Metropolitan teams, against teams with winning records, overall and against Eastern Conference teams. The over is 19-4-3 in this series including 8-1-1 in Pittsburgh. The Lightning have won five of the last seven against the Penguins.

Pittsburgh is 7-0 in Sunday games, 7-1 against teams with winning road records, 24-6 on one day rest, 22-6 at home, 19-7 against teams with winning records, 5-2 against Atlantic teams, 37-15 overall, 36-16 against Eastern Conference teams, and 2-6 in Conference Final games. The home team is 8-3 in this series recently. The Penguins are 8-2 in Pittsburgh against the Lightning.

There is an outside shot Bishop could play, but it will likely be Vasilevskiy in net again for Tampa Bay. Pittsburgh will go with the veteran Fleury but he could be a little rusty. Tampa Bay got more shots in game five. In fact, they had only 12 less shots in game four than they did in games two and three combined. I think Pittsburgh wins in game five, but there is a very good chance of this series going the full seven.

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