Tampa Bay Sports Day

NHL: Lightning Can’t Overcome Deficit, Late Goals

TAMPA – The Lightning dropped Game 6 of the conference finals Tuesday night 5-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins with a chance to clinch the Eastern Conference title and a trip to the Stanley Cup Final for the second year in a row

“I guess you can sit here and say giving up a goal in the last minute is not ideal but I just think giving up goals is not ideal. Whether you score them in the first minute or the last minute, it doesn’t matter. You are still giving up a goal,” said Lightning head coach Jon Cooper

The hosts fell behind 3-0 after giving up a late-second period goal, the second-straight game they’ve fallen behind by multiple goals before scoring themselves. Phil Kessel, Kris Letang, Sidney Crosby, Bryan Rust and Nick Bonino scored for Pittsburgh.

Lightning center Brian Boyle scored the first of his two goals at 5:30 of the third period to get the Bolts on the board. Boyle’s goal was also his first point of the finals. Boyle lit the lamp again 7:13 later to pull the Lightning to within 3-2. Boyle’s second goal on the evening was his fifth tally of the postseason.

“Yeah it’s disappointing. Definitely disappointing, but there is nothing we can do about it now,” Boyle said.

Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, making his career-high fifth-straight start, had 29 saves on 33 shots. Vasilevskiy fell to 4-4 all-time in the playoffs and 3-3 in this series.

“I think our team has really bought into playing away from the puck. This is a really good team we are playing, especially offensively. They come at you with a lot of skill, they are a dangerous team on the rush and it takes all five of us out there to play stingy defense in order to limit (Tampa Bay’s) opportunities,” said Pittsburgh head coach Mike Sullivan.

Penguins goalie Matt Murray made 28 saves, 17 in the third period. Murray, who turns 22 on Wednesday, was back in net after Marc-Andre Fleury played in a 4-3, Game 5 overtime loss.

The Lightning and Penguins are tied 3-3 in their best-of-seven series with the winner-take-all Game 7 Thursday at Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center.

GAME NOTES: The Bolts are now 6-6 all-time in Game 6s, 3-4 in Game 6s at home all-time and 1-3 in conference finals Game 6…The Lightning fall to 2-1 in these playoffs when they have a chance to clinch a series and 12-6 all-time…Boyle recorded multiple goals in a playoff game for the first time in his career..the Lightning fall to 3-4 this postseason when giving up the game’s opening goal….Amalie Arena was sold out for the 66th-consecutive game dating back to last season (includes playoffs). The Lightning sold out all 41 home games in 2015-16.