RECAP: Game Four: If God is Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise. PENS WIN.

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The playoffs, as we all know, are about the big moments.
Big goals can erase bad seasons, even bad careers.

For James Neal, it erased 21 games of frustration. One shot from the half-wall at 3:38 in the second OT put James Neal into the Legend Book, put the Tampa Bay Lightning on life support, and put the name "James Neal" into the recesses of our minds as part of one of those "where were you" moments.

Only in the playoffs.


The playoffs are stories in themselves, and the Pens have so many. Not just James Neal.

Arron Asham probably didn't have 10 scoring chances all year.
In four games in the playoffs, he has three gigantic goals.

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Tyler Kennedy two goals in the last two games.

Interesting stat:  Pens are undefeated in the playoffs when TK scores.

And now the Pens are in the driver's seat coming home. The Consol Energy Center has its first-ever casket match at high noon on Saturday.

 
And as reader Tim L. pointed out in a email from Tampa last night:
"Pens fans down here did our parts. Up to you guys to help close it out Saturday."
 
Sgt. Bob city on Saturday adfdsaggsdgs
 
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brandon
Katie bluemling Sheldon
Griesmonkey with tons of solid pics throughout.
 
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That dude comes out for the anthem again, reminding everyone why there were only three tenors.

Asham and Bergenheim get into it.
Bergenheim apparently got shot from the press box.
Refs blow the whistle even though Tampa had possession.
PK time.  And Pens kill it without much to talk about.

Lecavalier holds up Letang.  Easy call.
Pens jump on the PP. The first unti has some chances or whatever. But the second unit cashes in.
Big Dog sets up shop in front.
TK walks in and snipes.  1-0.

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First powerplay goal in a million years.

If the fans weren't in it to start the game, now they were dead.

Dump-ins. The Tampa 1-3-1 lets the Pens exit the zone with ease. Roloson looked drunk.

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Bergenheim's theatrics come back to bite him when he high-sticks Kovy.
2 minutes.  Powerplay can't do anything.

 
The Pens dominated the first, but that almost got erased.

Bergenheim gets a mini breakaway out of the box. Looked like Niskanen forgot about him.
However Niskanen plays him beautifully, limits him from making some type of unrealistic move. MAF makes the first save and still had to make a big save on a Lecavalier putback.

 
RECAP: Penguin fans rendered the crowd meaingless this game. Tampa played an awful period. Asham nearly scored another goal at one point. Crashing to the net, the puck somehow stayed out.
 
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You think that Tampa would come out guns blazing in the second period.
Not the case.
 
The fans were still dead.  Not even 3 minutes in, the fourth line made Dan Potash look like a genius.  It all started because Ben Lovejoy put his shot on net, which he does as consistently as any other defenseman and which is why he had the edge over Engelland down the stretch.

The rebound from Lovejoy's shot went straight to Asham.
Pens get a bounce, as it hits a Tampa defenseman.
Asham again.  2-0.

 
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The dude's face. Looks like he has seen Hell.
 
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What a strange way to look at another man.
 
Three goals in four games.
The Asham-Rupp-Adams line is what life is all about right now.
 
Then the Pens almost turn the tables on Tampa. Trap city. A good part of the second period was made up of the Pens doing their version of the New Jersey Devils. Tampa had no clue.

Ryan Malone sucks and goes to the box.

No question Malone has played one of the more bizarre series we've ever seen.
 
But after the kill, Tampa starts to build some momentum.
Martin embarrasses Stamkos on a breakaway.

St. Louis almost tears a hamstring trying to buy a high-stick call.
Then he almost tears a hamstring celebrating a big goal.  2-1.

 
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That guy is not photoshopped behind St. Louis.
Love the Pens fans laughing in the background. He knew.
 
Niskanen and Lovejoy just got completely abused. What a disgustingly unreal goal.
St. Louis gets the job done.  What a force.  Should be wearing the C.

Then James Neal goes off for a bullshit call.

And the walls were closing in. But the Pens kill the penalty

RECAP: Not surprising the Pens kind of gave the game back to Tampa. Been like that all season. Pens had a big-time 4-on-2 right before the St. Louis goal, but Rupp was gassed.  Speaking of Rupp, what a playoff performer.  The little plays.

 
 
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Pretty much the first half of the third period, the Lightning refused to stop playing their system, still waiting for the Pens to make some kind of mistake.  Pens were cycling deep, wearing out the Lightning players, and the Pens would finish them off by forcing Roloson to make some kind of save and freeze the puck.

There was a sequence in there of two or three times where the Pens carried it into the neutral zone and fired it from outside the blue line right at Roloson's sac.

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Kennedy embarrassed Malone down the wing, jobbed someone else, and got a solid shot on net.
The puck came out on a platter for James Neal.  Couldn't put it home.
Neal ended that shift by "high-sticking" Ryan Malone.
First thing Malone has done all series.

The Lightning PP was actually no match for the Pens' PK this game.
There was a hemisphere of domination around Fleury's cage.
Killed.

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With like 5 minutes left, Michalek makes the first mistake probably of his whole life.  He turns the puck over, and the Lightning have an unreal chance with Marty and Stamkos on a give-and-go, but Marty missed a wide open net on a redirection.  If you were looking for an omen, there it was.

A couple shifts later, the terd squad was out for Tampa.
Bergenheim scores off a flurry in front of MAF.  2-2.

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Dominic Moore has no business being on the ice when a goal is scored.

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It was the first time that the Tampa crowd made its presence felt. Huge tidbit: St. Louis was out against Lovejoy and Niskanen for 2 minutes or so prior to that.  He helped burn the pairing for two goals.

The mission after that was just to get to OT.

Talbot got killed by Brewer in the corner. Classic head shot. No call.

RECAP: Spotty officiating all night. Huge missed goalie interference late in the third:

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The pace to OT was torrid to begin with. Both teams trying to end it early.  Kris Letang tried to clear it through the slot, and the Lightning had their best chance of OT pretty much.  It was the play where Stamkos did that pivot move on the screen. Fleury was sharp.
 
But so was Roloson. The Pens used some play to destroy Gay Boucher's 1-3-1. And Jordan Staal walked in almost all alone. But instead of shooting he dished to Asham. Asham kind of got a shot off. But not really. Balls.
 
Pens had another unreal chance at some point when Adams' saucer pass wouldn't settle for TK.
 
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Lady Pens fan on the right.  Playoff hockey at its finest.
 
After the ten-minute mark, play slowed down.
Every time St. Louis touched the puck, assholes of the Pens fanbase puckered.

Pens had to kill a penalty to Craig Adams early in the OT when he and Simon Gagne got tangled up. No clue how that call is made.  Pens killed it pretty easily.

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Shut up dick.

Everyone could breathe. To double OT it went.

 
RECAP: Great OT. Dupes got headshotted by Kubina at some point, too. Guess they don't call that.
 
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Early in the second OT, Jordan Staal settles into the faceoff dot against Adam Hall in the Tampa zone.  Staal wins it back.   That was the beginning. 

Neal got the puck and wheeled around and almost killed the ref with a shot.
Michalek retrieves it, shoots it back down the boards behind the net.
Tampa has a chance to get it out, but Paul Martin jumps in to keep it in the zone.
Staal wants the loose puck more than Lecavajoke and pushes it back to Neal.

All the while, Bob Errey is talking about how one OT goal for James Neal would erase 21 games of balls.
"It just takes one."


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"THERE IT IS.  HE SCCCCCCOOOROREEREREREREES."

 

 
No clue what Roloson was doing or thinking. Don't care either.
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GAME.
 
 

 
 
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