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Lightning stave off elimination with 8-2 win

Apr 23, 2011 - 8:32 PM
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Simon Gagne, Steven Stamkos and Pavel Kubina each scored twice, as the Tampa Bay Lightning staved off playoff elimination with an 8-2 rout of the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at Consol Energy Center.

Stamkos added an assist for a three-point game and Vincent Lecavalier picked up a goal and an assist for the Lightning, who will host Game 6 on Monday. Dwayne Roloson carried a shutout into the third period and finished with 31 saves in the lopsided victory.

Mike Rupp and Chris Conner scored for Pittsburgh, but only after Tampa Bay had already built a 7-0 lead in the third period. Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled from the Penguins net after allowing the first four goals on 14 shots in a little over a period of work.

The Penguins were up 3-1 in a series for the 10th time in their playoff history and have managed to win the previous eight matchups, losing only the first such instance in 1975 when the Islanders successfully rallied from a 3-0 series deficit with four straight wins.

Pittsburgh has yet to clinch a playoff series at home under head coach Dan Bylsma, winning each of its last five series-clinchers on the road. The Pens will hope that trend continues on Monday, but would still host Game 7 on Wednesday night if necessary.

"It was a tough loss, but it's the playoffs and it's a race to four games," said Pittsburgh's Jordan Staal. "The last one's always the toughest and we have to come up with a better effort if we want to win that fourth game."

Tampa Bay has never come back to win a series when trailing 3-1, losing to New Jersey in the 2003 conference semifinals and to Ottawa in the 2006 conference quarterfinals. This marked the first time, though, the Lightning managed to force a sixth game when down 3-1.

The Lightning withstood an early Pittsburgh surge in the first period and killed off an interference penalty to Kubina, then scored twice in a span of 46 seconds late in the stanza.

Gagne and Teddy Purcell worked the puck back and forth a few times as the two crossed the Pittsburgh blue line and Gagne rifled a wrister home from the left circle for his first goal of the series with 3:03 left in the opening period.

Back came the Lightning and Stamkos deflected a point shot on net from in front of the crease and flipped a backhander home for his first goal to make it 2-0.

"It was a big game, and the biggest game of my career," said Stamkos, who netted his first career playoff goals. "We played with that urgency. We had some big goals early and got the lead. We were able to jump on them early."

Pittsburgh gained another power-play chance in the final minute of the first and it carried over to the second period, but Tampa Bay again killed it off and scored moments later for a three-goal bulge. Lecavalier took a Stamkos feed from behind the net and buried a shot from in front of the crease for his second goal of this year's playoffs.

The Lightning scored just 16 seconds after the Penguins failed on yet another opportunity with the extra skater, as Gagne was on the doorstep for a rebound to make it 4-0 at the 5:31 mark of the second. That ended Fleury's day and Stamkos netted his second of the contest just 89 seconds later on Tampa Bay's first power play of the game with a rebound from the slot.

"It's frustrating [because] we could have finished the series," said Fleury. "That's the good thing about the playoffs, if it's 1-0 or like [today] it's still just one loss and we have another chance. You try to forget about it as soon as possible."

Kubina blasted a shot from the right circle past Brent Johnson on the short side for a power-play goal at 2:54 of the third and added another goal on the man-advantage at 5:45 before Pittsburgh finally got on the board less than a minute later on Rupp's first goal. Conner then scored at the 8:22 mark.

Dominic Moore added Tampa Bay's fourth power-play goal of the game with 4:25 remaining to account for the final margin.

Game Notes

Moore added an assist for a two-point game, while Purcell picked up three assists and Martin St. Louis and Steve Downie each chipped in a pair of helpers...The team that has scored first has won each of the five games in the series...The Lightning improved to 4-5 all-time in Game 5s, including a 1-4 mark on the road...Roloson's lone playoff shutout came in 2006 with Edmonton.