(The Sports Xchange) - The Penguins stayed alive in the Eastern Conference finals with a 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 at Amalie Arena on Tuesday, setting up a series decider back in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh goaltender Matthew Murray took a shutout into the third period, then held on as Tampa Bay pulled within a goal, with more shots in the third period than in the first two combined.
Pittsburgh’s Bryan Rust got a breakaway goal with 2:08 left and Nick Bonino added an empty-netter with 53 seconds left to pull away.
The Penguins will be back on home ice for Game 7 on Thursday — where Tampa Bay have 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.
Two nights earlier, Pittsburgh had a 2-0 lead in the second period, only to see the Lightning rally to tie the game and win in overtime.
The Penguins had extended their lead to 2-0 on 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 mid air 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 had not crossed the blue line but was up off the ice, so the goal was waived off.
Editing by Peter Rutherford