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Stamkos leads Lightning to blowout Penguins 8-2, force Game 6

Apr 23, 2011, 3:28 PM EDT

Steven Stamkos, Marc Andre Fleury AP

Seen Stamkos? Before today’s Game 5 if you said you had seen Steve Stamkos you’d be a bad liar. Today changed all of that as Stamkos scored twice to help the Lightning blow out the Pittsburgh Penguins 8-2 and force a Game 6 back in Tampa on Monday.

Stamkos wasn’t the only two-goal scorer in this game as Simon Gagne and Pavel Kubina each scored twice while Vincent Lecavalier and Dominic Moore each added a goal of their own while Dwayne Roloson was able to play it cool and saving 31 shots to help Tampa draw to within 3-2 in the series.

The Lightning were able to blitz the Penguins and starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for four goals in the first 25 minutes of the game chasing Fleury after making just 10 saves on 14 shots. Brent Johnson would relieve him and fare no better allowing four goals on 11 shots. While the Lightning have struggled to score goals and generate shots in this series, they found the net in a big way with help from the power play as the Lightning went 4-7 on the man advantage.

The biggest development in this game aside from the win for the Lightning was the breakout games for Stamkos and Gagne. Both guys have been silent all series and with how streaky both guys are as goal scorers, the Penguins should be a bit worried about seeing both guys find the net twice this afternoon. Stamkos also added an assist to make it a three point game for him and if he’s found his way, the Penguins have another offensive wizard to worry about. Amazingly enough, the Lightning’s best player in the playoffs, Martin St. Louis, was kept out of the net but still assisted on two goals.

For Pittsburgh, getting blown out this badly doesn’t sting as bad the way a one-goal loss or an overtime loss would feel. After the game gets to 5-0 or, in this case, 7-0 at one point you let it all roll off your back and start to think ahead to the next game. Getting blown out, while appearing impressive, doesn’t sit and fester in a player’s mind as badly. The Penguins felt very comfortable playing in Tampa Bay for Games 3 and 4 and won both of them. Expect them to be equally on point in Game 6. Marc-Andre Fleury won’t get eaten alive in Game 6 again and the Penguins will make sure not to be as reckless with the penalties or their power play.

In other words, re-rack it for Monday night in Tampa and let’s see it again. The key now is whether or not Stamkos and Gagne’s offensive spark today is what the doctor ordered for the Lightning to press forward through this series.

  1. heyzeus143 - Apr 23, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    give victor Hedman a severance check, tell him move to Siberia and don’t come back, thanks for killing hockey in Pittsburgh ya big oaf

    • psujay - Apr 24, 2011 at 1:33 AM

      As a life long Leafs fan, I’m pretty sure the fanbase in Pittsburgh does a good enough job of killing hockey that Hedman can be exonerated. Once Crosby retires you all can go back to ignoring your hockey team again. #bankrupt6yearsaftercups

  2. joe131313 - Apr 23, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    Why did both commentators for the Lightning Penquins game obviously root for the Pens. At least pretend to be objective. One was even played for them before. All the other games I’ve seen the play by play gets very in tense when a team scores… Not today… watch the replay not much excitment at all.

  3. lsxphotog - Apr 23, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    Unless you’re the most mature player known to man (and no, it’s not that guy sitting in a suite that should be on the ice), getting blown out on your home ice does indeed take a toll. The Pens came out strong, determined to seal the series and look toward the next round. They certainly didn’t underestimate the potential of Tampa, either, and played excellent defensively early on.

    The Lightning, on the other hand, had everything to prove in this do-or-die scenario. The team came in today and won both physically and psychologically over the flightless birds and this embarrassment is something you have to force yourself to forget. What it has done is rattle the minds of the Pens. If the Lightning go up on them again, it will be more unnerving knowing the Lightning have walked away from them twice in this series and could create deja vu for some. It will be Bylsma’s job to inject his team with the confidence and it will be up to him to keep his team there in a mental capacity. Tampa’s special teams are an essential key to their many victories and have come to master the art of drawing penalties and acquiring the man advantage. Pittsburgh can’t afford to go down a man against Tampa very capable roster and will have to stay out of the box. The Penguins only hope is to continue to capitalize on the Lightning’s sloppy play when they let their guard down and loose momentum. The multi-goal surges are enough to bring them to the top.

    What I have seen through this series is a team that is capable of a superior level of play over its opponent that lacks discipline – Tampa. When they’re firing on all cylinders, not a team in the league can rival its depth as Yzerman has carefully selected his battle pieces – even Vancouver lay slain in its path.

    The Lightning have dug themselves into a hole from their lack of discipline and in order for them to accomplish another heroic comeback for the highlight reel, it will need to tighten up and focus. The team is fully capable of taking advantage of the Penguins’ war-torn roster and Sidney should really question just how healthy is healthy enough to play for your team in its time of need.

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