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National Hockey League
Pittsburgh 5, Tampa Bay 2
When: 8:00 PM ET, Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
Referees: Gord Dwyer, Dan O'Halloran
Linesmen: Michel Cormier, Steve Miller
Attendance: 19092

TAMPA, Fla. -- On the road, facing elimination and with a 21-year-old goalie in net, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Matthew Murray stayed alive to force Game 7 in the Eastern Conference finals with a 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night at Amalie Arena.

"Matt was huge tonight for us in the last 10 minutes," Penguins right winger Patric Hornqvist said. "He's 21 years old but he plays like he's 30. I can't say enough about him."

The Penguins return home for Game 7 on Thursday night, though the Lightning have won two of three games there in this series. Tampa Bay is 5-1 all-time in Game 7s, including a win against the Penguins in 2011.

Murray took a shutout into the third period, then held on as Tampa Bay pulled within a goal at 3-2, with more shots in the third period (18) than in the first two combined. Bryan Rust got a breakaway goal with 2:08 left and Nick Bonino added an empty-net goal with 53 seconds left to pull away.

"It's a huge goal for us -- they were definitely coming and to give us that cushion was big," Murray said of Rust's goal to end the Tampa Bay rally.

The Penguins will be back on their home ice Thursday night -- where Tampa Bay has won two of three games in this series -- with the winner advancing to the Stanley Cup finals.

The Lightning trailed 3-0 in the third period when they got a spark from Brian Boyle, who scored twice to pull Tampa Bay within a goal with 7:17 to play. After 11 shots in the first two periods, Tampa Bay had 18 in the third alone.

Boyle's first goal went in off Pittsburgh's Phil Kessel, who had tried to redirect it but put it in the net off a wide shot with 14:30 left. That was Boyle's fourth goal of the postseason, and he scored again, taking a pass from defenseman Slater Koekkoek and firing a shot to the top left corner of the net and past Murray.

Pittsburgh continued to stun the Lightning with late-period goals, scoring twice in the final 90 seconds of periods to take a 3-0 lead into the third period. Sidney Crosby made it a 3-0 game, scoring with just 25 seconds left in the second as he weaved past two Lightning players and then shot the puck through the legs of goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy for his sixth goal of the postseason.

"We're down to the final four and headed to Game 7. You have two pretty darn good teams going at it," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "If we want to advance, playing D is going to have to be our mandate."

Two nights earlier, Pittsburgh had a 2-0 lead in the second period, only to see the Lightning rally back to tie the game and win in overtime. The Penguins had extended their lead to 2-0 Tuesday on a goal by defenseman Kris Letang -- just his second of the playoffs -- off a drop pass from Conor Sheary with 12:20 left, beating Vasilevskiy to the top left corner of the net.

Pittsburgh jumped ahead late in the first period, taking advantage of a 5-on-3 power play that had the Lightning's top two defensemen in the penalty box. Anton Stralman was called for interference after a hit on Pittsburgh's Tom Kuhnhackl with 2:51 left, and when Victor Hedman looked to clear the puck, it sailed over the glass on the far end of the ice for a delay penalty and 1:19 of 5-on-3 hockey.

The Lightning killed off most of the double advantage, but with 1:14 left, Kessel scored, taking a pass from Crosby out of midair that caromed past Vasilevskiy for the 1-0 lead.

Tampa Bay looked to have taken the lead with 14:48 left on a goal from Jonathan Drouin, but an official review showed that Drouin was offside -- his back skate hadn't crossed the blue line but was up off the ice, so the goal was waived off.

"Because we lost the game, it's easy to say that had something to do with it, but it was really early in the game," Cooper said. "We had lots of energy, and it would have been nice if that counted, but I don't think something that happens that early should have an impact on the game."

NOTES: The Lightning again went with seven defensemen, keeping D Slater Koekkoek active in favor of C Jonathan Marchessault. ... The Penguins had D Olli Maatta, a scratch in Games 2-4, active again in place of Trevor Daley, who was lost to a broken ankle in Game 4 in Tampa. Daley had been second among Penguins defensemen in ice time, behind only Kris Letang. ... Pittsburgh went back to 21-year-old G Matthew Murray after starting Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 5. Murray has the better goals-against average in the playoffs (2.33 to 3.04) and save percentage (.923 to .875) and has a 9-4 record in the playoffs.
Top Game Performances
 
Pittsburgh   Tampa Bay
Nick Bonino 2 Points Brian Boyle 2
Nick Bonino 1 Goals Brian Boyle 2
Nick Bonino 1 Assists Jonathan Drouin 1
Phil Kessel 1 Power Play Goals N/A
N/A Short Handed Goals N/A
Matthew Murray .933 Save Percentage Andrei Vasilevskiy .879
Matthew Murray 28 Saves Andrei Vasilevskiy 29
Team Stats Summary
 
Team Shots Goals Power Play Penalty Kill Penalty Mins Face Offs Won
Pittsburgh 34 5 1-3 1-1 2 31
Tampa Bay 30 2 0-1 2-3 6 39
Upcoming Games
  • Tampa Bay will play their next game on the road against Pittsburgh. The Lightning have a W/L % of .532 after a win and .600 after a loss.
  • Pittsburgh will play their next game at home against Tampa Bay. The Penguins have a W/L % of .562 after a win and .618 after a loss.