Lightning hang on to defeat Penguins, even series

Sat May 21, 2016 1:01am EDT
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(The Sports Xchange) - The Tampa Bay Lightning jumped out to a 4-0 lead then gave up three goals in the third period before holding on for a 4-3 Game Four victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena on Friday to even the Eastern Conference finals series.

"I didn't think we ever lost control of the game," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Give Pittsburgh credit. They played loose, they played hard, they tried to make a game of it, which they did.

"But I never was sitting there saying 'This game's in trouble for us,' and I think everybody on the bench thought that and the result ended up saying the same thing."

After giving up 48 shots in a 4-2 loss on Wednesday, the Lightning were in control from the start and scored 27 seconds into the game.

Three goals assisted by defenseman Victor Hedman matched a Lightning playoff record.

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy took a shutout into the third before things got interesting.

Pittsburgh's Phil Kessel ended the shutout early in the third, scoring his eighth goal of the playoffs just 1:18 into the final period to make it 4-1. The Penguins pulled goalie Matthew Murray for the first time in the postseason, putting in Marc-Andre Fleury for the third period and his debut in this year's playoffs.

Pittsburgh added a goal from Evgeni Malkin -- his fourth of the playoffs -- to pull within 4-2 with 8:47 remaining. Pittsburgh got a power play 13 seconds later, and converted with 6:52 left as Chris Kunitz hammered home a rebound to cut the lead to 4-3.

"I think they were just a little more desperate," Penguins' Sidney Crosby said. "We didn't have the desperation we needed early on, until we got behind four goals and we found it. We put ourselves in a big hole there."   Continued...

May 20, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) and defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) combine to block the shot from Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Eric Fehr (16) during the third period in game four of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. The Lightning won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports