PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 23: Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates his first period goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on April 23, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
So...the touchdown was good. The Lightning went for the extra two points, and they managed to get those as well. But they gave up a safety to the Penguins at the end. Oh well, what can you do, right? [End American football analogy....]
The game started out very tentative for the Lightning, and it really looked like this might be the end of the season for them. Then Simon Gagne got the first goal of the game, which was huge. Then when Steven Stamkos finally broke out of his goal-scoring drought, that was even bigger. The team really seemed to have fed off of Stamkos scoring again.
They steam-rolled the Penguins from that time on, until Pittsburgh got their first goal in the third period. After that, it was a little shaky for them - despite still being up by six. They finally pulled themselves together when Dominic Moore scored that final eighth goal to.
And it helped that the Lightning scored on four of the seven power plays they got, too.
Three players - Gagne, Stamkos, and Pavel Kubina - had two goals each. Teddy Purcell had three assists, Adam Hall was 6 of 9 in the faceoff circle (67% win percentage), and Victor Hedman had five blocked shots. Vincent Lecavalier had the game-winning goal. The biggest stat of all is that the Lightning had 14 players with at least a point. All in all, it was a complete team effort.
There are two statistics that everyone should be aware of at this point. The first comes from EJ Hradek of ESPN. He put this up on Twitter:
@EJHradek_ESPN: In these Cup playoffs, road teams rule! The visitors have now won 22 of the first 36 first round games.
Which is awesome for Game 5, but not so great for Game 6 when the Penguins return to Tampa on Monday. The Lightning will be on the other side of that stat for the next game. And that's another game they must win.
The other statistic that you need to keep in mind is that a Dan Bylsma-coached Penguins team is now 0-5 when clinching a playoff series at home. So what does that tell you? It tells you that if the Lightning can win in Game 6, they may be able to win this series if it goes back to Pittsburgh.
I'll leave you thinking about what this Tampa Bay Lightning writer had to say on Twitter today:
@MikeCorcoranNHL: Going to be honest, this feels like it could be a series changer.