Pens-Bolts Game 7: In-Game Blog
Wednesday, 04.27.2011 / 7:30 PM ET / 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs Coverage
By Michelle Crechiolo
THANK YOU TO THE GREATEST FANS IN HOCKEY!!!
Thank you for yet another fantastic season, Pens fans. It was a wild ride and you were all there every step of the way. They couldn't have gotten to where they are without your support.
FINAL SCORE: LIGHTNING 1, PENGUINS 0
0:00: That's game. The Pens fall to the Bolts by a score of 1-0.
0:13: Pens whistled for offsides with 13.5 seconds left in the game. Faceoff will go outside the blue line.
0:34: Pens move the puck around smoothly and get a shot on Roloson with some traffic and the extra attacker as Fleury is pulled, but the Bolts goalie is able to make the save. Bylsma decides to use his timeout to regroup the troops.
1:33: The Pens are finishing the game on a PP!!! Nate Thompson, one of their best killers, is going to the box for slashing Kunitz's stick in half!
2:06: There's a loose puck in the blue paint that Kunitz tries to repeatedly whack past Roloson but the Bolts goalie finally covers!!!
2:47: Pens are coming at the Bolts in waves, but can't quite get anything flowing in the offensive zone.
5:10: Adam Hall just found the puck right in front of the net, but Fleury absolutely stoned him!!
5:33: Here we go. The final stretch! If the rest of this game is any indication, these last few minutes should be intense!
6:36: Styx's "Renegade" just blared over the loudspeakers and the crowd is on its feet waving their towels!
7:02: The penalties expire. Both teams are back to full strength.
9:02: We're heading to 4-on-4 hockey, as Moore gets two for interference and Tanger gets a pair for diving.
11:03: The Pens have kept play hemmed in the Bolts zone for what seems like an eternity. They're leaving absolutely everything on the ice right now.
12:25: Bolts back to full strength.
14:35: And the Bolts take a too many men penalty on the play! Pens head to the PP!
14:45: After another big shift by the Pens, the Bolts finally clear but Orpik lays out Hall in the battle for the puck to regain the Tampa Bay offensive zone!
16:09: Colossal effort from the Kunitz-Staal-Kennedy line, aided by the play of Orpik and Letang. The Pens are pressuring hard and putting pucks to the net, they just can't capitalize.
18:47: Tanger powers to the crease and whacks a shot at Roloson from the corner, but he makes the save! TK's there to pounce on the rebound, but somehow Roloson comes up with another huge stop!
19:16: Flower flashes the pad on a wrister from Stamkos! The Pens ice the puck on the resulting clearing attempt.
20:00: This is it. The Pens have 20 minutes left to extend their season. Let's do this.
SECOND PERIOD NOTES
- Letang leads with five shots while Neal has four
- Pens are now outhitting the Bolts 24-16
- Staal has won 60 percent of his 15 faceoffs
- Letang leads with 17:15 of ice time
- Eric Brewer has five blocked shots for the Bolts
0:00: The first 40 minutes of Game 7 are in the books. The Bolts hold a 1-0 lead thanks to a Sean Bergenheim tally and the Pens have a 22-18 advantage in shots.
0:21: Lots of back-and-forth action to close out the period, culmulating with Martin's blast from outside the blue line that Roloson has to hold onto.
2:43: Neal, while covering the point, whips a shot to the net that Letestu nearly tips into the net!
3:48: Staalsy the horse powers into the zone around the Bolts D and almost gets a clean shot off, but a Lightning player gets a stick on it at the last second.
4:17: The Bolts with a bad-angle shot off the halfwall that Fleury manages to see and gobble up.
6:55: Lovejoy sprawls on the ice and gets a shin on a centering attempt right in front of Flower. Big play by Lovie.
7:04: Penalty = killed!
8:21: Lecavalier tries to whack at a puck that's skipping across the crease, but thankfully can't corral it!
9:04: Adams sends a pass to Duper, who's wheeling down the ice at a torrid pace! He's able to get a shot off but not much of one, as two Bolts defenders are right on his heels!
9:19: Pens heading right back to the PK. Neal gets two for slashing.
10:12: Pens back to full strength!
10:18: SAVE OF THE SERIES! Kubina looks like he has a wide-open net, but Fleury absolutely robs him with a sprawling glove save!!!
10:59: Letang drives a hip into Downie as he tries to gain the zone and sends him sprawling! Pens PK is coming up with some big clears on this kill.
12:12: Orpik is called for hooking in front of the Pens net. Pittsburgh is heading to the PK.
12:34: The momentum has definitely shifted in the Bolts' favor. They just fired about three shots on Fleury on their last shift and got a couple of solid scoring chances.
14:19: Bergenheim receives a pass from behind the net that he slaps into an open net. Lightning 1, Penguins 0
15:03: After the Bolts attack the net hard, forcing Fleury to make a multitude of saves. the Pens finally clear with Conner skating the puck into the Lightning zone.
16:42: Bolts back to full strength.
17:10: Pens get a couple of good shots, but Roloson absorbs them all.
18:42: TK sends a perfect pass to Staal in the slot, who waits and tries to make a move but is tripped up on the play by Stamkos, who gets a penalty on the play. Pens on the PP!
20:00: Here we go!!! The middle frame commences with a solid faceoff win by Talbot against Lecavalier.
FIRST PERIOD NOTES
- Staal has won 6-of-8 faceoffs for a 75-percent success rate
- Letang and Kovy each have three shots
- Pens are outhitting the Bolts, 12-10
- Talbot has three of those checks
- Bolts have seven blocked shots to the Pens' four
0:00: That'll do it for what has been a nail-biting first period of this Game 7. We're scoreless through 20 minutes but the Pens have been attacking hard, holding a 15-7 advantage in shots.
0:45: Gagne finds some space in front of the net and receives a pass, but somehow Fleury gets a pad on his shot! Huge save by "Flower"!
1:07: Pens able to get a change as Orpik calmly regroups behind his own net. The play ends with Asham winding up and unleashing a scorcher from the slot that's deflected out of play. Faceoff now in the Bolts zone.
1:55: Pens whistled for two icings in a row.
3:10: Bolts back to full strength.
5:10: The Pens are heading back to the PP after St. Louis trips up Conner!
5:30: The series has come full circle, as Brooks Orpik absolutely lays out Stamkos in what was an intense experience of deja vu!
6:06: A Michalek blast skips just wide of the net! Great look by Kunitz to send a pass back to the point.
6:37: Bolts back to full strength.
6:50: Pens' PP has gotten some good looks thus far. They're getting pucks to the net and making Roloson work for every one.
8:37: The Pens are heading to the PP as Brewer gets two for interference! NOTE: Talbot is back on the bench for Pittsburgh.
10:21: Ohlund drives Talbot into the boards from behind and his head smacks off the edge. Talbot goes down and has to be attended to by athletic trainer Chris Stewart. No penalty is called on the play. Max is able to make it off the ice but heads straight to the dressing room as he's got a cut on his forehead that has to be tended to. Scary moment.
12:15: Letang makes a beautiful heads-up pass to a streaking Kunitz, who gets behind the Bolts D! But they hound him hard as he drives to the net, which results in his shot going just wide.
13:49: Staal one-times a blast from the slot that comes right after Roloson loses his stick! But the Bolts goalie makes the save!
14:31: Asham picks off a pass and finds himself alone in front of the Bolts net, but he's not in a good shooting position! He spins to try and tee off a shot, but can't quite get a handle on it!
14:48: Hall finds a lane and carries down for a shot, but it's easily saved by Fleury!
16:41: Another day, another huge block by Craig Adams. He lays his body on the line to stop a Bergeron blast.
17:51: After Talbot absolutely crushes Simon Gagne on the boards in the neutral zone, Chris Conner shrugs off Ohlund and sends him flying!
19:15: Huge first shift by the Pens! The Kunitz-Staal-Kennedy line began by getting the puck deep (and keeping it there). When the Bolts finally broke it out, Orpik and Letang shut their big three – St. Louis, Lecavalier and Stamkos – down!
20:00: Puck drops. Game on. This is it!
8:09 PM: CONSOL Energy Center is a sea of white, the towels are waving frantically and the crowd is roaring! The atmosphere is absolutely electric – Pens fans never cease to amaze!
Jeff Jimerson has returned to sing the national anthem – and the crowd began singing along with him from the get-go! Looks like Pens fans are carrying on the tradition they started at the beginning of the series!
8:00 PM: Bylsma has elected to make no changes to his Game 7 lineup. Here's how the lines shake down:
Fleury gets the nod between the pipes.
7:57 PM: I don't know if you heard, but tonight's forecast at CONSOL Energy Center is supposed to be a WHITEOUT ...
And the Pens are incredibly excited to have the seventh man on the ice with them tonight! They worked down to the wire to have Game 7 in front of their home crowd, and can't wait to have the fans behind them in tonight's epic battle.
7:31 PM: Here's your chance to get versed on the game-day happenings from right here in CONSOL Energy Center. Click here to be taken to the Game 7 edition of the Penguins Report! You won't be sorry.
7:30 PM: At his media conference today, Lightning coach Guy Boucher offered a simple explanation as to what he expected from tonight's game, specifically what he thinks he'll see from Marc-Andre Fleury. I'm using that as my Quote of the Night.
7:15 PM: The Penguins have been in this situation before, as four of their last six series have gone to that decisive seventh game.
While experience does help (as some of the Penguins discussed today), the knowledge that the smallest play – no matter how insignificant it seems at the time – could be the difference-maker in an elimination game is a stressful thought.
Head coach Dan Bylsma was asked earlier this afternoon how he keeps his players from worrying too much about small details and gripping their sticks too tightly.
This was his goosebump-inducing response:
“You are going to write the story. That is what winners do. We have tried to build that into the team so that when you come down to that one play, you will have made it and be ready for and you know the significance of it. When you play that way as a team, you give yourselves the chance to tilt the scales in your favor. ... I think now we are going into a Game 7 that will be everything a Game 7 should be. It going to be an opportunity. It is going to be about us getting to our game and them with their strengths and it is going to come down to one play. But that is one play we have already made a thousand times, and we are going to be ready for it.”
7:00 PM: Countless hours training during the offseason. 82 regular-season contests. 186 days. 4,920 minutes of game action (not counting overtime). Innumerable practices, meetings and video sessions. Umpteen nights spent on airplanes, riding buses and in hotel rooms. Six hard-fought playoff games against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
That equation sums up the Penguins’ entire season up to this point, which has boiled down to this next 60 minutes of hockey. A win tonight means Pittsburgh’s season is still alive. A loss means their summer of training for the next one has officially begun.
Game 7s are one of the greatest displays of hockey you’ll ever see. The players on each team somehow manage to reach a whole new level in their desperate attempts to extend their seasons. No one wants to have summer in April. They’d much rather have it in June.
I know the Pens aren’t ready for their seasons to be over. I’m not either. So let’s start the blog with the absolute most fitting song I could find. "We live to win another victory. ... So hear our voice, we have a choice, it's time to face it. We are one, we are one, we are one, we will stand together ... "