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Pens-Bolts Game 4: In-Game Blog

Wednesday, 04.20.2011 / 6:15 PM / 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs Coverage
By Michelle Crechiolo


FINAL SCORE: PENGUINS 3, LIGHTNING 2 (DOUBLE OT)

16:22: JAMES NEAL WINS THE GAME FOR THE PENS IN DOUBLE OT!!! He whacks a puck from the half wall and beats Roloson! Penguins 3, Lightning 2

16:40: TK turns and whips a backhander at Roloson, who comes up with the save.

18:41: Purcell hops off the bench and knocks Conner off the puck, forcing a turnover and sending the Bolts the other way, but Flower's up to the task.

20:00: Puck drops. Game on. The second overtime period is underway!

OVERTIME PERIOD 2



OVERTIME NOTES
- Brooks Orpik has skated an astounding 38:06 minutes
- Rupp and Letang each have six shots
- Rupp is 7-for-9 on faceoffs with a 78-percent success rate
- The Pens are 4-for-4 on the PK

0:00: The buzzer sounds and we're heading to double OT. The Pens are outshooting the Bolts by a 51-30 margin.

0:26: Penalty = killed!!!

0:37: HUGE pad save by Fleury with 11 seconds left on the penalty to Adams!

2:27: Adams is getting a pair for tripping. The Pens will have to kill this penalty with one of their best PKers in the box.

3:06: Letang pulls a spin-o-rama move on Lundin in the corner and powers to the net. He sends the puck to the blue paint and it deflects off a Bolt into Roloson, who barely manages to keep it from crossing the goal line!

3:16: Martin knocks down a dump-in attempt by Malone and Craig Adams picks up the puck! He and TK head down the ice 2-on-1, and Adams tries to feed TK but the puck is bouncing too much for No. 48 to corral!

4:25: Big block by Conner after a Bolt D man wound up and fired!

5:43: Lovejoy drills Bergenheim into the corner and they battle for a bit, with Lovejoy eventually able to shovel the puck to Kovy, who clears it out.

7:30: Fleury sees a puck at the last minute after Stamkos twists his body out of the way to give it a clear path and Flower is able to glove it at the last second!

8:18: Staal just juked around a Bolts defender and it looked like he was going to shoot, but he decides to pass to a crashing Asham! Somehow Roloson gets the pad down and makes the save!

9:18: The speed of the Dupuis-Talbot-Conner line never ceases to amaze me. Conner flies down the ice to get the puck in the zone, then Duper barrels back on the backcheck.

10:33: Bolts whistled for icing.

11:26: Duper's down and athletic trainer Chris Stewart comes out to assist. But Duper stays on the bench, he seems to be fine.

13:09: Pens having trouble establishing offensive-zone time, but the fourth line changes that with this shift they're having right now. Adams battles hard to get the puck in and he and his linemates do a great job to keep it there.

15:32: The Bolts get a good opportunity, but Flower makes the save and Orpik carries the puck to safety.

17:37: Asham dishes a pass to Michalek on the point, whose shot banks off the back boards and Asham nearly gets the rebound! Great goaltending by Roloson there.

19:11: Maxime Talbot is back on the ice for the Pens.

20:00: Puck drops. Game on! The overtime period has begun!

OVERTIME PERIOD 1




0:00: That'll do it for regulation. We're heading to overtime.

1:22: Eric Brewer downs Talbot with a hit that plasters his head against the glass. Talbot goes down and he has to be tended to by the trainer. After a few minutes, Talbot is able to skate off and goes to the locker room.

1:37: Kovy takes a pass from Tanger and wires a shot at Roloson, who's able to hold on for the faceoff.

3:17: After a mad scramble in the blue paint with Fleury flat on his back, Bergenheim stuffs home a loose puck to tie the game. Penguins 2, Lightning 2

5:09: St. Louis just missed an absolutely wide-open net on a perfect feed from Stamkos!!!





7:37: Pens able to clear!

7:51: The Pens ice the puck, and their killers are absolutely gassed. Bylsma has to use his timeout here, and he does to give his guys a rest.

8:06: Absolutely huge kill by the Pens!

10:06: Neal's heading to the box again, this time for hi-sticking. Pens on the PK.

10:10: TK wheels down the ice around the Bolts D and sends a puck at Roloson, who gets a pad on it. The rebound jumps to Neal, who can't convert!

12:50: Tangradi hustles down the ice and softly chips the puck in, then proceeds to keep it pinned on the boards and eat away valuable time on the clock. Great play by Tangradi.

14:22: A few seconds ago, Bergenehim takes a seat on top of Flower but isn't whistled for goalie interference. The Pens aren't happy, but they'll have to carry on.

15:57: Pens trying to enter the Bolts zone but aren't having much luck.

18:41: Penalty to Neal = killed! Hopefully the Pens can grab some momentum off of it!

20:00: They're off at St. Pete Times Forum!

THIRD PERIOD



Beautiful. The city of Pittsburgh is the perfect backdrop to the big screen.


SECOND PERIOD NOTES
- Rupp and Duper lead the Pens with four shots each
- Letang leads with 17:52 of ice time, while Michalek has 17:49
- Letang also has three shots and three hits
- Asham has now recorded a point in each of the four playoff games

0:00: That'll do it for the second! Neal will have 1:19 left on his penalty when the third period resumes. Pens hold a 2-1 lead and a 30-14 advantage in shots!

0:41: Neal is getting two for roughing. Pens on the PK.

1:06: Martin just absolutely ROBBED Stamko on a breakaway!!! Stamkos got behind the D and had a wide-open lane to the net, but Martin comes out of nowhere and simultaneously lifts Stamkos' stick and whacks the puck out of danger!!!

2:46: St. Louis gets his fourth goal of this series as he barrels down the ice and manages to beat Flower. Penguins 2, Lightning 1





3:32: Craig Adams is wearing the A in the absence of Kunitz.

5:58: The Pens are playing with such heart and passion tonight. Rupp just sprawled on the ice to block a shot from the stick of St. Louis that allowed the Pens to clear.

6:50: Talbot with some incredible hustle on the backcheck to steal the puck from a Lightning player and turn right back around on the rush. He unleashes a blast on Roloson, who bobbles the initial shot but is able to cover the rebound.

7:19: Bolts back to full strength.





8:30: Pens putting lots of pressure on Roloson and establishing a solid net-front presence on the PP!

9:19: Malone is in the box for goaltender interference as he falls on top of Flower. Pens on the PP!

9:26: Niskanen drops to the ice and sacrifices his body to block a Victor Hedman shot!!! Hedman would have had a wide-open look at the net!

10:33: Kovy dishes to Letestu, whose shot skitters across the crease.

12:28: After Dupuis ties up his man on the faceoff, Talbot sees the loose puck and wires it to the net for a quality scoring chance! The Pens are winning the faceoff battles tonight, which is crucial.





13:17: I spoke too soon. St. Louis just recorded the Bolts' third shot of the game on a nifty little backhand similar to the goal he scored Monday, but Fleury says "no thanks" and covers for the faceoff!

13:34: The Pens have held the Lightning to just two shots so far this period. Impressive team effort on D by Pittsburgh right now.

15:52: Dupuis backchecks hard and picks Stamkos' pocket!


The crowd celebrating!

17:21: Lovejoy rips a shot from the point and the long reboud jumps out to Asham in the slot -- WHO BURIES IT! It sneaks under Roloson and into the net! Penguins 2, Lightning 0

17:44: Fleury stops Stamkos on a point-blank rebound opportunity!

19:11: TK makes a beauty of a one-touch pass to Neal in the slot, but Roloson makes the save!

20:00: Puck drops. Game on. Second period is underway! NOTE: There is a sign on the glass behind coach Bylsma that says "Coach Dan...Four Is Better Than Three! Let's Go Pens!" LOVE IT!

SECOND PERIOD



There was just a "Cotton-Eyed Joe" dance-off during intermission here at the big screen. The winners were a little girl and a guy who could break-dance. Speaking of breakdancing ... that reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Zoolander. "They're breakdance fighting!"

Anyway, we'll have some pics in a bit.

FIRST PERIOD NOTES
- Tangradi has three hits through 4:17 of ice time
- Dupuis leads with four shots and also has three hits
- Letestu and Michalek's assists on TK's goal were their first postseason points

0:00: That'll do it for the first! Pens hold a 1-0 lead thanks to a PP goal from TK, and also hold a 12-6 advantage in shots!

1:11: Bolts back to full strength! And Bergenheim gets the puck straight out of the box and gets a breakway with Niskanen hot on his heels, but somehow Fleury stones him! Then he kicks out the rebound with his left pad and denies Lecavalier from pouncing on the loose puck! Solid defensive work by Niskanen.





1:57: Tanger literally just dangled three guys before powering to the net and whipping a shot at Roloson that the Bolts goalie had a little trouble absorbing. Great work by 58.

3:11: Bergeheim hi-sticks Kovy in the face as he tries to lift AK-72's stick, and he's going to the box! Pens on the PP!

4:36: Rupp takes out Kubina with a big hit on the forecheck. Nice hit by Rupper.

5:41: They just showed a still shot of the big screen on ROOT SPORTS, and Potash just pointed out that it's 90 degrees in Tampa. It's currently 50 degrees and windy here in Pittsburgh. Boo.

6:38: The Bolts have been pressuring the Pens hard on the forecheck these last few shifts, but the Pens are playing it simple and just chipping it out.





10:09: Rupp uses his big frame to power down the ice and whip a backhander at Roloson, who somehow manages to keep the puck out of the net with Asham crashing! Rupp even raised his arms in celebration to no avail!

The crowd's celebration!


11:46: Letestu wins the faceoff back to TK, who dishes it to Michalek. Michalek goes right back to TK, who snipes a shot past Roloson with Tangradi providing some net-front presence!!! PP goal for the Pens! Penguins 1, Lightning 0

12:04: The Pens' first PP unit is Kovy, Staal and Neal up top with Michalek and Letang manning the points.

12:41: Lecavalier grabs fistfuls of Letang's jersey as they race for a puck, and that's going to get the Bolts captain sent to the box. Pens on the PP!

13:06: Neal looks like he's fitting in nicely on Staal's line. I would not want to go up against those three guys. Two big bodies in Neal and Staal and then a tenacious speedster in TK.




Stan doing his pre-game show across the street!

15:20: Tangradi with a big hit on Mattias Ritola that knocks his helmet off! Funny coincidence: Ritola was called up from Norfolk today to replace the suspended Steve Downie.

15:54: Penalty = killed! Pens back to full strength.

17:04: Stamkos knocks a clearing attempt out of midair, but isn't whistled for hi-sticking. The Lightning regroup quickly and head back in the zone.

17:55: The Pens are heading to the kill early, as Asham gets two for cross-checking.

18:17: Neal's line does a great job on the forecheck, cumulating with a shot from the half wall by Tanger that Roloson gloves for the faceoff.

18:58: Tangradi is on the ice for his first-ever NHL playoff game!

19:09: Fleury's had to be sharp from the get-go. "Flower" has already come up with a pair of saves.

20:00: And they're off! They're chanting "Let's Go Pens!" here at the big screen!

FIRST PERIOD



7:02 PM:
The cutest thing ever happened a few minutes ago here at the big screen. This 9-year-old boy named Robbie went up to Mikey and asked if he was "the guy with the microphone," to which Mikey said "yes." So Robbie asked if he could say something, and Mikey obliged.

What did Robbie have to say?



Love it!



7:00 PM: The Pens have scratched Mike Comrie, Eric Godard and Deryk Engelland, which means Eric Tangradi is in for Chris Kunitz. Here are the Pens' new lines:

Neal-Staal-Kennedy
Dupuis-Talbot-Conner
Tangradi-Letestu-Kovalev
Rupp-Adams-Asham

Orpik-Letang
Martin-Michalek
Niskanen-Lovejoy

Marc-Andre Fleury gets the nod between the pipes.



6:40 PM: I'm posted up in the front row in front of the big screen, and there is a plethora of people piled in behind me (my intern Tony Jovenitti would love the alliteration I just used there).

Mikey and Big Bob of 96.1 KISS FM are hosting the pre-game activities here. They keep giving shoutouts on the microphone to Stan Savran, who's doing the ROOT SPORTS pre-game show from across the street. Stan's loving it. It's awesome.

I met Mikey and Big Bob before settling down to do my own pre-game activities. They're two hilarious guys. And Mikey is at LEAST a foot taller than me. Possibly two. Here's the photographic proof:





6:15 PM: So I know I went with Pascal Dupuis for Game 3's Quote of the Day, but I was browsing through the clips this morning and found this gem. It sums everything up perfectly, so I've gotta go with Duper for a second game in a row. If we win tonight, I guess that means I have to go with him every game from here on out...






6:00 PM: Hello and welcome everyone! We’re approaching puck drop at St. Pete Times Forum for Game 4 of the first-round series between the Penguins and the Lightning. Guess where I’m blogging from tonight?!



Yup, you guessed it – the huge 16x9 HD big screen presented by Trib Total Media, set up in the Mellon Arena south parking lot! There’s already quite a crowd gathered to cheer on the Penguins, and we’re ready for whatever the weather has to throw at us! It seems like it's going to be a nice evening, as the sun is still shining and it's reasonably warm outside.

A Penguins win tonight would give Pittsburgh a 3-1 stranglehold on Tampa Bay and a chance to clinch the series in front of their home crowd in Game 5 on Saturday at CONSOL Energy Center.

However, much like they’ve done all season, tonight the Penguins will have to find a way to overcome another measure of adversity, as they will have to play Game 4 without Chris Kunitz, the Penguins’ active leading goal scorer during the regular season and a veteran leader who is utilized on both the power play and penalty kill. Kunitz was given a one-game suspension for his hit on Lightning forward Simon Gagne in Game 3. 



Head coach Dan Bylsma said earlier today that his lineup will be a game-time decision. We’ll keep you posted on who takes Kunie’s place for tonight.



In any event, the guys have dealt with hard knocks before, and they’re not going to let it affect them. They’re prepared for what is sure to be a desperate Lightning squad trying to avoid a 3-1 deficit, and plan to come out strong, play within their system and continue to be spurred by their solid five-on-five play. Steve Mears has the details:



Stay tuned throughout the blog for outdoor pics, and of course, all the game action.
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