Lightning win Game 4, even series 2-2

Bolts redeem themselves with 4-3 win over Pittsburgh.

The Tampa Bay Lightning came out of the gates at full speed last night. They scored a goal in under 30 seconds, created a sizable lead and defended it to the end. The Bolts looked much better than in their previous two games against the Penguins, and more like the team we are used to watching. They took control of the game right form the start, held off the Pens and evened the Eastern Conference Finals series, 2-2.

Twenty-seven seconds into the game, the Lightning's Ryan Callahan scored the first goal. This was his second goal of the playoffs and the second-fastest playoff goal scored in Lightning history. (The fastest was scored by Adam Hall 13 seconds into Game 2 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals. Interestingly, before playing for the Lightning, Hall played for the Penguins.)

Toward the end of the 1st period, Andrej Sustr scored to give the Lightning a 2-0 lead. This was Sustr’s first goal of the playoffs and his seventh goal in 240 games. 

Halfway through the 2nd, the Penguins' Trevor Daley was helped off the ice by Sidney Crosby and Justin Shultz. Prior to the play stopping, Daley was on all fours near the net and struggled to stand up on his skates. He left the arena on crutches and, there has been no update on his injury.

click to enlarge The Penguins' Trevor Daley is helped off the ice by Sidney Crosby and Justin Shultz in the 2nd period. - Nicole Abbett
Nicole Abbett
The Penguins' Trevor Daley is helped off the ice by Sidney Crosby and Justin Shultz in the 2nd period.

Fast forward to the end of the 2nd, when Jonathan Drouin and Tyler Johnson scored back-to-back goals to make it a 4-0 game. During pre-game warm-ups, Johnson had been hit in the mouth with a puck; fortunately, he was able to play after getting checked out and a full face mask added to this helmet. This was Johnson’s sixth goal of the playoffs.

At the start of the 3rd, with a 4-0 deficit, Penguins goalie Matt Murray was replaced by Marc-Andre Fleury. He made seven saves during his time playing. 

Battling a 4-0 Lightning lead at the beginning of the 3rd, the Pens shook up the Bolts' surge up by scoring 3 goals in 13 minutes. One minute and 18 seconds in, Phil Kessel scored the Penguins first goal; Evgeni Malkin scored about 10 minutes later to make it a 4-2 game. Chris Kunitz followed that up with a third Penguins goal with just under 7 minutes left. The tension was palpable as the Penguins whittled away at the Bolts' early lead. 

click to enlarge Vasi stretched out as fast and far as his 6’4” torso would allow, but couldn’t stop Kunitz from scoring the Pens’ third goal. - Nicole Abbett
Nicole Abbett
Vasi stretched out as fast and far as his 6’4” torso would allow, but couldn’t stop Kunitz from scoring the Pens’ third goal.

But the Lightning went into overdrive, and kept the Penguins at bay for the remainder of the game. 

Coach Cooper summed up the end of the game very well when he said, “It doesn't matter how you get there. So whether you're up 4-0, it becomes 4-3, or you're down 3-0 and you go ahead 4-3, it doesn't matter. You're still winning. So you’ve got to play like that.”

Game 5 of the best-of-seven series will be played at the Consol Energy Center on Sunday, May 22nd at 8 p.m.

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