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2016 Eastern Conference Final Game 5: Bolts rally to win 4-3, take 3-2 series lead

The Tampa Bay Lightning showed their perseverance in rallying from 2-0 to win 4-3 in overtime. The series shifts back to Tampa on Tuesday.

Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 4-3, in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final at the CONSOL Energy Center on Sunday night.

Find a way.

Those were the words of Lightning head coach Jon Cooper in his mid-game interview with NBC analyst Pierre McGuire. When the Tampa Bay Lightning went down 2-0 to the Penguins, Cooper knew his players would persevere.

The odds were against them - the Pittsburgh Penguins hadn't lost two consecutive games since Jan. 12 and 15 (against the Carolina Hurricanes and the Lightning) - and it seemed like all the wind had been taken from the Bolts' sails after giving up two goals within 91 seconds.

But they found a way to come away with an overtime win in a hostile environment in Pittsburgh, despite giving up two late-period goals during the game.


As has been the case throughout this series, the game started off quickly, with power forward Ryan Callahan charging in on a breakaway against Marc-Andre Fleury. Callahan was unable to get anything on the shot.

Not long after that, defenseman Matt Carle found himself alone after aggressively moving up into the slot. He took a shot that sailed high over Fleury and out of play.

The two teams continued to exchange shot attempts (though shots only ended up 8-4 after the first period), but it would remain scoreless until 19:59. That is when Brian Dumoulin scored his first career playoff goal to put the Penguins up 1-0. Bryan Rust had streaked in for a shot on Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who stopped the initial attempt. Dumoulin, not giving up on the play, followed up and smacked in the rebound. The secondary assist went to Chris Kunitz.

Then in the second period, it was apparent the Penguins were hungry for another goal. That would come only 90 seconds into the second period. Defenseman Olli Maatta, playing his first game of this series, fed a pass from the point to Carl Hagelin. Hagelin slipped it across the crease toward a waiting Patric Hornqvist, who got an easy one past Vasilevskiy.

Midway through the period, Andrei Vasilevskiy made perhaps his best and most crucial save of the night. Phil Kessel was left alone and ripped a one-timer toward Vasilevskiy. The young goaltender slid across to make the save, and not long after, the rally began.

At 13:15, Alex Killorn fired a heavy shot over the shoulder of Marc-Andre Fleury. The lone assist on Killorn's fifth goal went to Andrej Sustr.

Just over a minute later, at 14:25, Nikita Kucherov one-timed a shot from Vlad Namestnikov past Fleury. The secondary assist went to Sustr.

The Pittsburgh Penguins struck with another late-period goal when Chris Kunitz slipped the puck past a sprawling Andrei Vasilevskiy to make it 3-2.

The Bolts would never give up though, even when a trip on Slater Koekkoek was missed. Or when Ryan Callahan was mere centimeters from tying the game in the dying minutes of the third period.

No, they persevered and finally broke through when Nikita Kucherov notched his league-leading 11th goal of these 2016 Playoffs. The goal, scored at 16:44, was assisted by fellow triplets Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat.

That would push things to overtime, and just 53 seconds in, Jason Garrison flicked a shot toward Fleury. The puck grazed off Tyler Johnson's back and into the back of the net for the game winner. The second assist went to Nikita Kucherov.

Now, the Bolts will try to find a way to close out the series on home ice. Game 6 will be Tuesday at Amalie Arena. Puck drop is 8 p.m.