Penguins believe going into Game 6 - 05-23-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Less than a week into Mike Sullivan's tenure as head coach, the Penguins, reeling from a mid-season coaching change and injuries, were blasted at home, 6-2 by the Bruins Dec. 18 in a game which wasn't as competitive as that lopsided score would suggest.

After that game, Sullivan used that "B" word prominently.

“I mean let's face it. There's a lot of doubters out there right now. … I believe. I believe that we can pull this group together. It's a long season. There's a lot of hockey left. We have a lot in front of us. For me, when you get on the other side of these experiences, I think it makes your group stronger. And that's what we're going to do.”

Sullivan's unwavering belief helped the Penguins rebound from a sputtering start to the regular season and allowed them to finish as arguably the best team in the entire league.

Six months later, they face a completely different and far more dire predicament. They're down 3-2 in the Eastern Conference final against the defending conference champion Lightning. Oh, and Game 6 is in Tampa, Fla.

Still, Sullivan believes.

"I believe in this group," Sullivan said when speaking with reporters prior to boarding a flight to Tampa, Fla. today. "We've got a resilient group here that's shown a lot of resolve through a ton of adversity throughout the course of this season. I don't know that there's a team in the league that's faced more adversity than this team from the start of training camp until where we are today.

"So these guys have shown their resilience time and time again, and probably now it will be tested more than ever. But I certainly believe in this group we have. I think we've got a great group that's going to respond the right way."

Sullivan's words certainly seem to have been absorbed by his players.

Two of the team's top forwards have all but guaranteed a Game 7.

"It's one game at a time," right winger Patric Hornqvist said after Sunday's 4-3 overtime loss at home in Game 5. "It's not first to three. It's first to four. Obviously, they're in a better spot than us right now. If we play the game we can, we're going to be fine here. We're in a tough position. You know what? It's no doubt in my mind that we're going to come back here for a Game 7."

"It's not easy, but it's just one game, focus on game, 60 minutes," center Evgeni Malkin (right) said today. "Remember it's work hard for 60 minutes. I believe my team. I believe myself. And we can get it back at Pittsburgh for sure."

Lightning coach Jon Cooper was somewhat pragmatic when told of Malkin's expectations of playing Game 7.

"What's he supposed to say in that situation?" Cooper asked rhetorically. "'We're done. We're just going down as a formality.' Of course they're going to say they're going to win, and they should. They're a good team, a good, confident group, but we feel the same way. But, look, you've got to win four, and we're a little closer to four than they are, but you've still got to get four, and that's all our group is thinking about is let's just get that fourth one."

Belief is one thing. Executing and playing well is another. The Penguins realize this.

"We've got to go out and try to get a win in Tampa," said left winger Chris Kunitz. "We have to do a better job of playing 60 minutes of hockey though.”

"We know the recipe," said defensman Kris Letang. "I think we proved it during that series that we're able to beat that team and playing the right way."

If playing the right way involves any changes to the goaltending position with Marc-Andre Fleury or Matt Murray, Sullivan shed little light on that subject.

"I'll have a decision in the morning [Tuesday]," Sullivan said.

After Fleury (right) allowed four goals on 21 shots in Game 5, Sullivan declined to assess his play after the contest. Today, he offered some thoughts.

"I thought Marc made some big saves for us, especially early in the game," Sullivan said. "I thought he really settled into the game in the first period and made some real big saves. He might have got away from it a little bit as the game went on. And to Marc's defense, it's a tough situation when you haven't played in a long time and you get thrown into a high stakes environment like that. But I thought early on in the game, I thought he looked really strong. He was tracking the puck well."

Regardless of who is in net, the opponent or other circumstances, that "B" word continues to be the common theme for this team. It has been ever since Sullivan arrived.

"We're always confident in our group," said center Eric Fehr. "We believe in ourselves. We know we have the players in the dressing room to do it. We just have to go out and play. I think one thing we've learned against Tampa Bay is you can't take a second or a minute off against these guys. They're a really quick strike. They capitalize, like a lot of teams haven't in the past."

"If we can just stay focused for a full 60 minutes, I like our chances."

(Photos: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images, Peter Diana/Post-Gazette and Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)

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Empty Netter Assists - Recapping Penguins - Lightning - 05-23-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Playoff Stuff
Penguins - Lightning

-The Post-Gazette's recap from last night's game. The Penguins lost a game in which they were leading after two periods for the first time this season.

-The Associated Press' recap. "It wasn't the best I have felt in a game. Still, I have been practicing a lot, so I should have been better." - Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

-The Tampa Bay Times' recap. "He shows once again he's a big game player. He's got, what, 11, 12 goals now? That's pretty incredible. Hopefully he's not done." - Lightning coach Jon Cooper on left winger Nikita Kucherov.


-Pro wrestler Shawn Michaels took in the game:

-Fleury had a moment alone:

-Downtimes for Fleury and defenseman Kris Letang:

-Fleury reached back for this puck:

-Right winger Phil Kessel and Lightning center Tyler Johnson each remained focused on this puck:

-A good look at Johnson's overtime goal:

-Kucherov was pumped:

-Happy times for the Penguins. Not so much for the Lightning:

-Patriotic times:

-A hockey night in Pittsburgh:

-“We’ve just got to bounce back. It’s first team to four, not three. That’s our mindset and we’ve just got to play even harder.” - Right winger Bryan Rust.

-Defenseman Trevor Daley will miss the rest of the postseason due to a broken ankle

-“Obviously, he shows once again that he’s a big-game player and [we’re] very happy to have him on our side.” - Lighting defenseman Victor Hedman on Kucherov.

-"It's tough being in the position [goalies are] in, kind of the last line of defense. You don't want to go out and play when you're not ready. If you were maybe a forward, you'd be okay to go out and tough through it. But as the last line of defense, you don't want to go out there and do that to your teammates. You've got to wait until you're ready to go and feel like you can help the team win." - Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop on his recovery from a left leg injury.

-A lady dressed as the Stanley Cup and was lifted in the air by two men during goal celebrations last night at Consol Energy Center.

Blues - Sharks

-Blues forwards David Backes ("upper body"), Robby Fabbri ("lower body") and Scottie Upshall ("lower body") are all questionable for Game 5

-Sharks coach Pete DeBoer and Blues coach Ken Hitchcock sure don't have warm feelings for one another.

Non-Playoff Stuff

-The Penguins signed center Jake Guentzel, a third-round pick in 2013, to a three-year entry-level contract. Guentzel, 21, just completed his junior season at Nebraska-Omaha by playing in 35 games and scoring 46 points (19 goals, 27 assists). Joining Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on an amateur tryout basis, he played in 11 regular season games and scored six points (two goals, four assists). In 10 postseason games, he scored 14 points (five goals, nine assists).

-EN Says: Guentzel was arguably the team's top unsigned prospect to this point. He's been a very creative playmaker at any level of hockey he's played at. 

-Happy 75th birthday to former Penguins center Bryan Hextall, Jr. (right) Acquired in the 1969 offseason in a trade which sent right wingers Paul Andrea, Andy Bathgate and defenseman John Arbour to Vancouver of the WHL, Hextall, a member of one of hockey's great families, spent parts of five seasons with the Penguins. His first full season in Pittsburgh saw him help the Penguins reach the postseason for the first time in franchise history as he appeared in 66 games and recorded 31 points. During those playoffs, he appeared in 10 games and recorded one assist. In 1970-71, Hextall saw action in 76 games and recorded 48 points. Hextall appeared in 78 games during 1971-72 and contributed 20 goals and 44 points while leading the team with five game-winning goals. He appeared in four postseason games that spring and recorded two assists. During 1972-73, Hextall played in 78 games and scored a career-high 54 points. After 37 games and nine points in 1973-74, Hextall was claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Flames. The son of Rangers hall-of-fame right winger Bryan Hextall, Sr. and father of a future Penguins rival, Flyers goaltender Ron Hextall, Bryan Hextall, Jr. appeared in 335 games for the Penguins and scored 186 points, 41st-most in franchise history. In 14 postseason games, Hextall recorded three assists.

-Happy 50th birthday to former Penguins left winger Gary Roberts. Acquired at the 2007 trade deadline in a deal which sent Noah Welch to the Panthers, Roberts spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. After scoring 13 points in 19 regular season games to finish the 2006-07 season, Roberts recorded four points in five postseason games. In 2007-08, Roberts appeared in only 38 games and scored 15 points due to various injuries. He recovered in time to appear in 11 postseason games and recorded four points as the Penguins advanced to the Stanley Cup final for the first time in 16 years. In the 2008 offseason, the rights to Roberts and Ryan Malone were traded to the Lightning in exchange for a draft pick. One of the most popular players in recent team history, Roberts appeared in 57 games for the Penguins and recorded 28 points. In 16 postseason games, Roberts recorded eight points.

Atlantic Division

-The Panthers fired Scott Luce, the organization’s director of player personnel.

Patrick Division

-Former Maple Leafs coach John Brophy, who also briefly coached the Wheeling Nailers, has died. He was 83.

-Former Rangers/Blue Jackets forward Dane Byers has joined Kölner Haie of Germany's DEL.

-Former Capitals/Devils defenseman Alex Urbom has joined Djurgårdens IF of Sweden's SHL.

IIHF World Championship

-Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot made 16 saves for Canada in a 2-0 shutout of Finland in the gold medal game.

-Happy times for Canada:

-Talbot flipped his gloves off in glee:

-Golden times for Canada:

-Canada forward Corey Perry got chummy with Russia president Vladimir Putin:

-Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin had a goal and two assists for Russia which routed the United States, 7-2, in the bronze medal game.

-United States defenseman Chris Wideman broke his stick in frustration:

(Photos: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images, Peter Diana/Post-Gazette, Matt Freed/Post-Gazette, Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press, Matt Kincaid/Getty Images, Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images, Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press, Andre Ringuette/AFP/Getty Images, Anna Sergeeva/Getty Images and Penguins Hockey Cards)

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John Baer: Oh, those Pennsylvania taxes!

Think Pennsylvania taxes should be fairer, more sensible?...

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Wiz Khalifa wins two Billboard Music Awards, gives classy speech

Written by Scott Mervis on .


WizbillboardFrom Wiz Khalifa Twitter pageAfter having to settle for nominations for the Grammy and Golden Globe awards, and being snubbed by the Oscars, Wiz Khalifa won two Billboard Music Awards Sunday night for  “See You Again,” his collaboration with Charlie Puth on "Fast & Furious 7" soundtrack.

The rap ballad, a tribute to the late Paul Walker, won Top Rap Song over Drake's "Hotline Bling," among others, and Top Hot 100 Song over Adele's "Hello," two songs by the Weeknd and one by Fetty Wap.

Accepting the Top Hot 100 Song award, Khalifa, in a white suit and shades, said, "First off, shout-out to all the other artists in the category, because I love those songs. Shout-out to everybody here because you worked really hard to be here. And the fans, thank you, guys. Shout-out everybody at Universal, Atlantic, my management, Taylor Gang, 'Smack,' my family. My mom is here right now, my dad, my son Bash (I know you at home watching right now) and thank God, and, just peace and love, everybody, I love y'all. Thank you."

Adele won for Top Artist and Top Billboard 200 Album.

"See You Again," released in March 2015, was a No. 1 hit for 12 weeks and the first hip-hop songs to surpass one billion views on YouTube. It is currently at 1.748 billion.

The Billboard Music Awards, unlike the others, which are decided by voting, are "based on key fan interactions with music, including album and digital songs sales, radio airplay, streaming, touring and social interactions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Spotify and other popular online destinations for music. These measurements are tracked year-round by Billboard and its data partners, including Nielsen Music and Next Big Sound."





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Postgame thoughts - Lightning 4, Penguins 3 (OT) - 05-22-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Less than five minutes after this game ended, Marc-Andre Fleury sat in front of a cluster of reporters, microphones and cameras politely answering questions about a crucial and ugly overtime loss. As he usually does, he fielded every query honestly and earnestly. It was hardly an ideal situation for him but completed his postgame media obligations the same way he has countless times before in his career. 

After the media scrum broke up, Fleury just sat at his stall as other teammates held their own scrums with his leg pads still on. He had a despondent almost vacant look on his face. Teammates venturing to the further reaches of the Penguins' facilities tapped Fleury on the leg or offered encouraging words. Fleury acknowledged them but still looked off to no where in particular. Former Penguins star center Pierre Larouche sat next to Fleury and they chatted for a few minutes in French. Briefly after their chat Fleury took off his remaining equipment, slammed his shoes off the door to the dressing room and exited.

Fleury knew he needed to be better. He admitted as much.

"It wasn't the best I felt in a game," said Fleury. "Still though, I've been practicing a lot. I should have been better."  

The puck looked like it was Fleury's enemy at times in this game, especially in the late stages of the game. Even when he made saves, they were adventures at times.

In contrast, Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy got stronger as the game wore on. His biggest moment came with 4:18 left in regulation. As his team trailed 3-2, Vasilevsky stoned left winger Chris Kunitz in tight on a backhander:

A goal there gives the Penguins a two-goal lead late and virtually secures the win.

Instead, less than a minute later, the Lightning tie the game and eventually win it in overtime.

It's not fair or accurate to place all the blame on Fleury with this awful loss. There were plenty of passengers on this train including his long-time teammates Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang. But it's absolutely fair to state Vasilevskiy make a timely save at a crucial juncture while Fleury did not.

After the game, Lightning coach Jon Cooper summed up the importance of the position very well.

"When your guy's kicking them out," said Cooper. "You just kind of grow a little bit taller on the bench, and that's what he's done for us."

What happened

The Penguins scored the game's opening goal at the last second – literally of the first period. Right winger Bryan Rust charged a puck up the left wing from the neutral zone. Fending off hooks from Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman. Rust had his backhand shot denied by the right leg of Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy then fell over Vasilevskiy's right leg. The rebound sat above the crease and was swept in past Vasilevsky's left skate by a forehand shot from defenseman Brian Dumoulin with 1.7 seconds left on the clock. The Lightning protested the goal but to no avail. Assists went to Rust and Kunitz.

They made it a 2-0 game early in the second period. From center point, defenseman Olli Maatta fired a shot/pass to the left of the cage. Left winger Carl Hagelin was able to tap the puck with his forehand to the front of the crease. Right winger Patric Hornqvist was sitting right there to tap it in for an easy goal by the left leg of Vasilevskiy at the 1:30 mark. Hagelin and Hornqvist got assists.

The Lightning got on the scoreboard at 13:15 of the second. After defenseman Andrej Sustr banked a puck from the left wing off the end boards, Lightning center Alex Killorn settled it on the left half wall and ripped a laser of a wrister from the left circle over Fleury's right shoulder on the near side. The puck glanced off the underside of the cross bar and into the cage. It hit the inside of the cage on the far side and bounced out quickly. No one – including Killorn – seemed to know he had scored until an official pointed at the netting. Sustr had the lone assist.

They made it a tie game 50 seconds later. After Sustr drove a puck up the right wing, center Vladislav Namestnikov picked the puck up and from the right circle, he fed a cross-ice pass to right winger Kucherov in the left cicle. Kucherov ripped a wrister past the blocker of sprawling Fleury and hit twine. Namestnikov had the only assist.

The Penguins cashed in late again. After a strong zone entry by Maatta, center Evgeni Malkin settled the puck in the high slot and fired a wrister on net. Vasilevskiy made the initial save but allowed a rebound. Kunitz hacked it under Vasilevkiy and through his five hole for a goal with 50 seconds left in the period. Malkin had the lone assist.  

Following Vasilevskiy's huge save on Kunitz, the Lightning nearly tied the game with 3:50 left. From the left circle, a wrister by Lightning right winger Ryan Callahan glanced off Fleury's left shoulder, hit the far post and danced along the goal line failing to cross the line. Play was halted for a review but there was no score. 

Shortly after that, the game was tied again with 3:16 left in regulation. Kucherov gained the offensive on the left wing and left a drop pass for center Tyler Johnson. Johnson shuffled a backhander from the left half wall. Fleury kicked it out with right leg but left a rebound behind the cage where Kucherov was positioned. Kucherov settled the puck and tucked in a forehand wraparound by Fleury's left skate for a goal. It was a huge goal at a huge moment. Assists went to Johnson and right winger Ondrej Palat.

It took the Lightning only 53 seconds into the overtime period to claim the win. Taking a pass from Palat off the right half wall, Kucherov fed a pass from center point to defenseman Jason Garrison moving up the left wall. From the left circle, Garrison lifted a wrister. Positioned above the crease, the puck hit off Johnson's back and deflected past the glove hand of Fleury. Assists went to Garrison and Kucherov. 

The Penguins

-Fleury seemed to start the game strong. He came through with a couple tough saves early and had things buttoned down. He was fairly steady even after he allowed two goals. Things just collapsed in the end on him. A fluky goal ended things for him in overtime. We're fully confident Fleury is capable of bouncing back. He has a history of shaking off bad games the past two seasons. But after tonight, it's very fair to question him.

-Letang had a rough game. He was sloppy with the puck. He took a slashing penalty. He was on the ice for all four of the Lightning's goals. It's no coincidence one of the Penguins' worst games of the postseason was one of his worst individual games of the postseason. For a variety of reasons, it seemed like he alternated between playing with Maatta and Dumoulin quite a bit. Perhaps he was thrown off a bit by that change but this team needs a much better performance from arguably their most irreplaceable player.

-The same applies to Crosby. Beyond a nice zone entry which led to Hornqvist's goal, he was largely inert in this game. Having ineffective right winger Beau Bennett on his left wing wasn't helpful but the Penguins need more of their leader. By no means was he a detriment. He wins faceoffs. He draws top defensive assignments. He does a lot of little things which help. But in a game like this, it's fair to expect him to do the big things.

-One of those big things would involve the power play which went 0 for 3 tonight including one brief four-on-three sequence. One crucial juncture came in the second period after a Kucherov minor was killed, Killorn scored his goal. That really went a long way towards swinging momentum in favor of the Lightning and eliminating the Penguins' two-goal lead.

-Losing defenseman Trevor Daley is a killer, but Dumoulin and Maatta did their best to make up for his absence. They were a little more aggressive than usual offensively and both players had a hand in all three of the team's goals.

-Maatta especially seemed sharp coming off his three-game string of healthy scratches. It seemed like he was able to reset mentally coming off being scratched. Beyond a double minor penalty for high sticking, his game was really sharp.

-The line of Rust, Malkin and Kunitz had a really strong game. It was probably the Penguins' best line tonight. Kunitz has found some chemistry with Malkin the past two games and Rust was a ball of energy most of the game.

-Rust in particularly really drove things for the Penguins. He helped set up the game's opening goal, knocked a pane of glass loose with a solid hit on Hedman, blocked a Hedman slapper and drew a penalty. Bryan Rust was a driver in this game.

-With their namesake, Shawn Michaels, on hand, the HBK line was somewhat quiet. They had a few chances here or there but given how much this line has meant to the team as of late, it just didn't live up to the moment.

-Center Eric Fehr had a monster hit in the first period on Lightning left winger Jonathan Drouin in the first period which gave the Penguins a little jump:

-Bennett returned to the lineup after missing 17 games due to an undisclosed injury. He replaced struggling left winger Conor Sheary but hardly distinguished himself. He had a turnover which kind of led to Letang's penalty. If there's a positive to this game for Bennett, it's that he took a few bumps and didn't seem to have any issues physically.

The Lightning

-Kucherov has really driven this team as of late. At least the last two games. He's such a wonderful offensive talent who is also responsible defensively. His fingerprints were all over this victory.

-Vasilevskiy gave up three goals but he was really tuned in most of the game. As mentioned above, he came through with a critical save at a key juncture and allowed his team to win.

-His goal was a bit fluky given that it went in off his back, but Johnson has stepped up the past two games of the series after being pretty quiet in the early stages. He's been a big reason why this team has had success the past two postseasons.

-Sustr was pretty key on the Lightning's first two goals. He didn't play many minutes (14:01) but he had a key role in this comeback.


-Hornqvist stopped short of guaranteeing a win in Game 6:

"It's one game at a time. It's not first to three, it's first to four. Obviously, they're in a better spot than us right now. If we play the game we can, we're going to be fine here. We're in a tough position. You know what? It's no doubt in my mind that we're going to come back here for a Game 7."

-Sullivan is confident in his team heading into Game 6:

"Yeah, you know, this is the first time we've been in this position. I know that our guys will respond the right way. They have for four months, five months now. So any time your back's against the wall, you have to heighten the urgency even that much more, heighten the intensity that much more. I told them after the game it's disappointing, we're all disappointed we didn't get the result tonight, but we can't change it. So all we've got to do is we've got to gather ourselves, we've got to go back at it, and try to win a game. This group has done a terrific job all year of just staying in the moment and not dwelling on the past, not getting ahead of itself, and just trying to focus on that one game in hand, and that's what we're going to have to do."

-Sullivan declined to get into Fleury's game:

"I'm not going to assess his game right after the game. It's obviously a disheartening game we just lost. I'd rather digest it a little bit before I jump to any conclusions."

-Dumoulin went to bat for Fleury:

“He played well. He's a competitor in that net. We had some breakdowns. He made some big saves. Definitely not his fault. He made some really huge saves throughout that game to keep us in it.”

-As did Kunitz:

“I think [Fleury] was great. He stopped all the ones that we needed him too. They had a couple of good shots. They had rebounds where guys were coming around the net. Those are tough things to do. We have to do a better job of clearing pucks and not giving them the odd-man rushes. Things like that, we have to have better protection in our [defensive] zone that gives it layers to make it tough for them to get to our net.”

-Cooper went to bat for Fleury as well:

"Well, this is a Stanley Cup champion. He's been an outstanding goaltender in this league for a long, long time. The one thing I don't think -- you can't change the way you play because another goaltender is going in. I don't think that's anything that can go into the mindset. The only thing we really knew is he hadn't played a lot. He played one period against us, and I think it takes time for the guys to get the feel for the game. But he's a big time goaltender, and he's proven that throughout his career. You're not just facing the goaltender, though. You're facing the Pittsburgh Penguins. He's one player on their team. You have to beat their team. It's not just beating one guy. So whoever's playing in net doesn't matter to us. Somehow, no matter who's in there, you've got to find a way to beat him, and we did that tonight."

-Kunitz spoke about Vasilevskiy's save on his backhander late:

"It would have been nice to put that in. Get that cushion of two goals but he played well. He's played well all series. We still have to do a better job of putting pucks on him and finding rebounds."

-Fleury was optimistic:

“We're still confident we have a team that can beat them. Nothing's over. It's best out of seven.”

-Ditto Bennett:

“We have character. We've turned around our season mid-way through and I think we can turn around this series as well. We've just to stick with it and try to put this one behind us and look forward to the next game.”

-Kunitz knows what's at stake:

"We've got to go out and try to get a win in Tampa. We have to do a better job of playing 60 minutes of hockey though.”

-Dumoulin spoke to his team's approach to Game 6:

"Throughout this playoff, we've just looked at it 'next game.' We just got to win it. We've just got to focus on that next game. We've got to go down to Tampa and focus on winning that before looking ahead.”

-Dumoulin dismissed a suggestion his team got too comfortable with a two-goal lead:

“I don't think so. We kept pressing. They're a skilled team. If we give them room, they're going to make plays and put it in the back of the net. We've seen that throughout this series, that if we give them time, they're capable of scoring goals quick.”

-So did Kunitz:

"I don't think so. I think it's tough to keep momentum all the time. I think we probably weren't aware as we should be on the power play at the end. They're coming out of the box. We have to do a better job of guys realizing what position they have and who's got what guy.”

-Sullivan also touched base on that particular power-play chance in the second period prior to Killorn's goal:

"Well, when we had the 2-0 lead, I thought -- you know, we had a chance on that one power play to get that third goal. They score right after it. So I thought we could have tried to just simplify the game and to try to get the momentum back, but I think they got a boost. But for the most part, I thought for most of the night we were a pretty good hockey team. We were playing the game the right way. I thought we had a lot of offensive zone time. We generated a fair amount of scoring chances. We controlled the shot clock. We did a lot of the things going into this game that we set out to do. We've just got to find a way to find the back of the net a little bit more."

-Maatta was down on his team's second period:

"I don't think our second period was good enough. I think we all know we have to be better. Obviously, that 3-3 goal, it shouldn't happen. Just tough puck luck. That's the way it goes. We've just got to go back to Tampa.”

-Bennett assessed his return:

"I felt pretty good. My legs felt pretty good. Having that long layoff, you never know exactly how you're going to feel jumping back into the conference final. But I felt pretty good. … It's never easy to jump after a long layoff but I think this time around as opposed to the last few times, I wasn't fighting the puck at all. I felt like I was able to be in the right position and make a couple of plays here and there. That confidence will grow.”

-Maatta was curt when asked about his own individual play and focused on the big picture:

"I felt okay out there. I know I'm better. It's all about wins and losses this time of year."

-Johnson gave a bit of play-by-play of the goal:

"I was just out there in front.  I saw [Garrison] start to shoot it, and I thought it was going for my head again.  So I turned around, and I got lucky.  It just nicked me.  I wasn't sure if it hit me or not, but I was just more excited to see it in the back of the net." 

-Killorn spoke about Vasilevskiy's play:

"The game is so much about these little plays that happen with momentum shifts. He makes a huge save and we go in to score in the other end. [Vasilevskiy] played great. He's been great for us the whole series. To step in and fill [goaltender Ben Bishop's] role. He's done a phenomenal job.”

-Killorn is expecting a big response from the Penguins:

"I think they're going to give us their best shot the next game as well. I think they've played really well I think we've played well too. It's been a tight, tight series. There's not much room out there. But I think think we'd be kidding ourselves if we didn't think they were going to come with everything they've got the next game.”

-Cooper joked about his team's propensity for playing quick overtimes:

"I told the guys I've never seen a team that likes to play overtime so much but doesn't like to play it for very long. It is kind of remarkable that the games have ended as fast as they have, but being around the game a bit, that's when it happens. You know, you look back, there's a lot of games in overtime that end quick, and you have to be ready. We learned our lesson from the last time we were here, when they beat us in overtime. You can't sit here and say, okay, this is another period. It's like another shift. There is no time left. You get scored on with .7 seconds left, well, boys, we've got 40 minutes left to get back into this. But you get scored on in overtime, there's no second chance, and you have to come out ready to go."

-Cooper lauded Kucherov:

"Well, with him, I truly believe, when you're a rising star in this league, as he is, and he's one of those guys for our team -- every team's got one of those guys at some point. It just seems the bigger the moment, the bigger they rise to the occasion. He is proving that last year wasn't a fluke, and he is -- he's just a gifted, skilled, determined player. He's really a pleasure to coach.  The one thing, we talk about his goals and everything about that, but I think he's plus-17 in the playoffs. That's you're not just being responsible and scoring on one end. That means you're being responsible on the other end too. I don't think guys like him get enough credit for how they play the whole ice, and he's a big time player for us."

-Cooper doesn't want to get too far ahead of himself:

"Let's pump the brakes a little bit here. There's still more series left. We feel good and fortunate that we're up, 3-2, and going home, but we still have to win another game. But in saying that, the more times you get put in these situations and you're behind the wheel navigating what's going on out there, the better you are to handle them, and I think our guys are doing a heck of a job this year handling all sorts of situations, whether it's injuries, being down, being up, just the list goes on. The guys have really matured as a group on how to win hockey games."

-Johnson took a puck to the mouth during warmups of Game 4 and wore a shield for that entire game. He ditched the shield tonight and spoke to the status of his face:

"Just got some stitches and some teeth.  We'll know more after everything settles down. I didn't want to play with anything on my face.  So that was an easy thing for me. At the end of the day, let me make the decision, and I made it. "


-The Penguins led in shots, 34-25.

-Letang and Garrison each led the game with five shots.

-Letang led the game with 27:51.

-Hedman led the Lightning with 26:56.

-The Penguins controlled faceoffs, 37-31 (54 percent).

-Malkin was 11 for 16 (69 percent).

-Lightning center Valtteri Filppula was 14 for 28 (50 percent).

-Cole and Letang each led the game with four blocked shots.

-Right winger J.T. Brown led the Lightning with two blocked shots.

Historically speaking

-How bad was this loss? Ugh:

-The Penguins tied a franchise mark:

-Dumoulin scored his first career playoff goal and only the second of his career overall. The first goal also came against the Lightning in a 4-2 win Dec. 15, 2014

-Fleury appeared in his 100th career postseason game.

-Kucherov has multiple points in three consecutive games.

-Johnson made some history:

-Johnson tends to score important goals:

-Game 5 is usually pretty crucial:


-Game summary.

-Event summary.


(Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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