Tag:2011 Penguins-Lightning
Posted on: April 27, 2011 1:30 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2011 1:42 pm

Game 7 breakdown: Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh

No. 5 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. No. 4 Pittsburgh Penguins

Time: 8 p.m.
TV: CBC/RDS (Versus is scheduled to join the game in progress)

Road to Game 7

The CONSOL Energy Center’s debut season gets a Game 7. It won’t feature the arena’s two starring attractions -- Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin -- and it’s a game the Penguins could have avoided. The Pens held a 3-1 series lead before they were blown out, 8-2, in Game 5 then were done in by third-period goals from Steve Downie and former Penguin Ryan Malone en route to a 4-2 loss in Game 6. The series also feature two suspensions -- Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz and Downie each received a game -- after Game 3 altercations. The Pens have the edge in experience having gone through three Game 7s over the previous three years.

In net

Dwayne Roloson (Tampa Bay) vs. Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburg): At 41, Roloson has been more than just adequate in his first postseason appearance since 2006. His .941 save percentage and 2.05 goals against average both best his younger, Cup-winning counterpart. (Fleury has a GAA of 2.77 and a .890 save percentage.)

Injury report

Despite the alleged eye gouge perpetrated by Pens defenseman Brooks Orpik of Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos, the Lightning enter fairly healthy. Tampa Bay defenseman Randy Jones is out with an ankle sprain. The Pens are minus Crosby (concussion), Malkin (knee) and Nick Johnson (concussion).

Our picks

A.J. Perez: The Lightning’s run has to end sometime. The Pens are minus their two biggest offensive weapons, but that’s been the case a solid portion of the season. What they need is a competent performance out of Fleury. Is that asking too much? I think there’s plenty left on the Pens roster to grind out a narrow victory.

Brian Stubits: The Lightning enter Game 7 rolling like thunder after impressive showings in Games 5 and 6, and with Crosby and Malkin out, have the greater firepower. This is a team I have not been high on and I'm a little surprised they made it to this juncture. The team's plus-minus this season was the lowest of playoff teams (ranked 20th at minus-13), which indicates they were somewhat lucky this season. So why go in the face of what looks to be a lucky streak right now? You have to wonder about the confidence level of the Penguins while the Lightning can't be feeling much in the way of pressure. Tampa Bay moves on.

Posted on: April 19, 2011 2:10 pm
Edited on: April 19, 2011 2:12 pm

Kunitz, Downie suspended one game apiece

The verdict is already down on Steve Downie and Chris Kunitz from their Game 4 elbows to the head. Each player will be suspended for one game .

In Game 4, the Lightning's Downie flattened Pittsburgh's Ben Lovejoy on the boards behind the net. Lovejoy clearly wasn't aware of the hit coming and it came up high, a very dangerous combination.

A little later in the game, Kunitz threw a clear and undeniable elbow at the head of Tampa Bay's Simon Gagne. He was penalized on the play two minutes for elbowing. While the damage potential wasn't incredibly high, the intent is what matters here, and there's little way to say there was no intent to throw an elbow to the head.

The decision comes down a day after the NHL elected not to punish the Canucks' Raffi Torres for a questionable hit on Brent Seabrook of the Blackhawks, who will miss tonight's Game 4 in Chicago.

The hits are exactly what the league has been trying to eradicate in recent years. It's been a touchy subject with a lot of gray area, but anytime it seems clear there was an intentional shot to the head, the suspension is likely to follow.

In the playoffs there seems to be an uptick in the amount of the big, dangerous hits, something you can likely attribute to the playoff brand of hockey, a more physical and intense brand.

-- Brian Stubits

Posted on: April 12, 2011 12:12 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 1:56 pm

Crosby practices with teammates, still no contact

The mind games go on concerning Sidney Crosby.

A day after the Lightning said they were preparing to see him when they meet the Penguins in the first round, The Kid took an encouraging step for Pens fans.

Having returned to the ice a little over a week ago, on Tuesday morning Crosby practiced with the rest of the team according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . However, club officials tried to tamper the enthusiasm by pointing out it is not an indication that he is closer to entering a game. He still has not been cleared for contact, so that’s the biggest hurdle it would seem at this point.

Crosby has been out since Jan. 5 recovering from a concussion he sustained midway through the season. The Penguins-Lightning series begins on Wednesday night.

-- Brian Stubits

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com