Lightning take control with Game 5 win in Pittsburgh

Sun May 22, 2016 11:37pm EDT
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(The Sports Xchange) - Tyler Johnson deflected Jason Garrison's wrist shot from the left circle into the net 53 seconds into overtime and the Tampa Bay Lightning seized control by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday.

Nikita Kucherov led a comeback from a two-goal deficit with two goals as the Lightning won for the second time in the three games in Pittsburgh. They will not have to return there if they can win Game 6 on Tuesday in Tampa, where teams split Games 3-4.

The Lighting are one win away from the Stanley Cup finals for the second straight season.

The Penguins gambled by returning goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury to the net for the first time in 51 days, benching rookie Matt Murray, but Fleury was outplayed by rookie Andrei Vasilevisky, who made 31 saves to Fleury's 23.

Fleury now is 1-8 in his last nine playoff starts.

One constant on every Tampa Bay goal: Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, playing without usual partner Trevor Daley, was on the ice. Daley will miss the rest of the playoffs with a broken left ankle that occurred in Game 4.

Olli Maatta, back after being benched for three games for uneven play, figured on two of the Penguins' first three goals -- exactly what coach Mike Sullivan wanted upon returning him to the lineup.

But, again, the Penguins' big names, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, could not produce a goal in a Game 5 that, based on prior NHL results of series tied at 2, sends the winner on to the next round about 75 percent of the time.

The Penguins led 3-2 late in the third, but Kucherov scored his second of the game -- and 11th of the playoffs -- at 16:44. Johnson's shot from the left point deflected to Kucherov behind the net, and he easily beat Fleury on a wraparound.   Continued...

May 22, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) and Tampa Bay Lightning center Brian Boyle (11) take a face-off during the third period in game five of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL  Energy Center. Tampa Bay won 4-3 in overtime to take a three games to two lead in the series. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports