3 - 2 Final - 2OT
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Neal scores in 2nd OT, Pens lead Tampa 3-1

Apr 21, 2011 - 4:23 AM
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - James Neal's first career NHL playoff goal has the Pittsburgh Penguins on the cusp of the second round.

Neal scored 3:38 into the second overtime to lift Pittsburgh to a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at St. Pete Times Forum.

The Penguins lead the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal matchup 3-1 and will look to close out the series Saturday in Pittsburgh.

Tampa Bay erased a two-goal deficit on tallies from Martin St. Louis and Sean Bergenheim, the latter coming with 3:17 left in regulation.

The Lightning had the lone power play in the first extra period, when Penguins forward Craig Adams tripped Simon Gagne as the two were attempting to corral a loose puck.

Neal then picked an ideal time to pump home just his second goal since the Penguins acquired him from Dallas in February.

Paul Martin started the play by keeping the puck in the Tampa Bay end at the right point. Jordan Staal dished to Neal and he let go a quick shot from the boards near the outer edge of the right circle that beat Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson.

"As long as you keep shooting, one is going to find its way into the back of the net," Neal said. "I got a shot off the draw and just wanted to shoot. I didn't have the angle, but it managed to find its way in. I was lucky to get one, but like I said again, the guys battled all night. Everyone did good."

Neal, who hadn't scored since March 8 against Buffalo, totaled 21 goals with the Stars this season.

Tyler Kennedy and Arron Asham also lit the lamp for the Penguins, who got a 29-save performance from Marc-Andre Fleury.

Roloson stopped 50 shots in defeat.

"This is a long way from over," Roloson said. "We came back from 3-1 down twice when I played in Minnesota. We've got the character in this room to do it and we need to play our game for 60 minutes or for however many minutes it's going to take to win."

Pittsburgh won two of the first three games in this series despite the fact the club had yet to score on the power play in 15 opportunities.

Kennedy ended the drought on the Penguins' first chance with the man advantage Wednesday. Following a faceoff win by Mark Letestu, Kennedy gathered Zbynek Michalek's return feed and snapped a shot from the left circle that eluded Roloson on the short side at the 8:14 mark of the first period.

Asham potted his team-leading third playoff goal to put Pittsburgh up 2-0 at 2:39 of the second. Roloson kicked out Ben Lovejoy's bid from the point with the right pad. Asham, though, jumped on the rebound in the slot and fired it between the veteran goaltender's pads.

The Bolts got on the board with 2:46 remaining in the middle stanza, as Lecavalier flipped the puck ahead to a streaking St. Louis and he made a nifty move to avoid a defender before beating Fleury with a wrist shot.

Bergenheim scored the first playoff goal of his career amid a scramble in the crease to force overtime.

Game Notes

Asham has now recorded a point in each game of this series (3g, 1a)...St. Louis has scored four of Tampa Bay's nine playoff goals...Pittsburgh finished 1-for-3 on the power play, while Tampa Bay was 0-for-4 with the man advantage...Penguins forward Chris Kunitz and Lightning forward Steve Downie both served one-game suspensions for separate incidents during Game 3...Tampa Bay's Steve Yzerman was named one of the three finalists for the league's General Manager of the Year Award on Wednesday.