The Tampa Bay Lightning have some life. That was the news coming from Game 4 in Tampa. With their backs against the wall looking helpless, the Lightning scored within 10 seconds of the opening puck drop. It didn’t get much better for the Penguins until the 3rd period. Things got real interesting then, as their lead nearly completely evaporated. The Pens pushed it to the last second and almost potted their fourth goal of the evening to send the contest to overtime, making for a 4-0 comeback. The Penguins would have all but closed out the series with a win in that fashion. Now we go back to Pittsburgh all knotted up. The Lightning have probably outplayed the Pens in two or three periods in this entire series, yet here we are, tied up at 2-2 and the Bolts are well and alive. No Stamkos? No Bishop? No problem, this is a series.
There are going to be question marks of sorts of both ends of the ice tonight. Matthew Murray got the pull after the 2nd period when the game was a 4-0 score. The Pens were all over the puck in the 3rd period and almost pulled it off, so are they going to start Marc-Andre Fleury this evening? It’s an interesting question. Murray is not to blame for the goals allowed, those can be accredited to the lack of defense helping him out. Further, Fleury didn’t get tested much at all. When he did, he made a couple of nice saves, but was unable to handle a few rebounds. That will happen to a goalie coming off rust, and Fleury probably has some rust.
I think all the Penguins wanted to do is give him some work, so if the time comes and he needs to start he’ll be better suited to go. Can you imagine if the Lightning pull it off tonight? It’d almost feel like complete robbery if the Lightning find a lead in this series. The Lightning will have to check on the health of Ben Bishop for tonight, which begs the question, who will start for the Lightning? I go with Vasilevskiy. You don’t want Bishop starting at 80 percent. Vasilevskiy has played considerably well in the series. Let’s get right to the pick for Sunday in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Pittsburgh Penguins NHL Playoffs Pick
You could most definitely tell that the Pens were relaxing for the first two periods of Game 4. After slicing right through them in the previous game, the Penguins forgot to skate and play. However, they woke up and almost came back to complete a historic comeback. That was the Penguins we saw in previous games in this series. While the Pens failed to complete it, the push might have catapulted them into some energy for Game 5 in Pittsburgh.
I said this was going to be a longer series than people were anticipating, and I think with the series tied at 2-2, my prediction is coming to fruition. What I see happening tonight is the Pens we’ve seen for the majority of the Eastern Conference Finals, including the last period in Game 4. The Lightning could win this game, of course, but it’s looking like an unlikely scenario. It was going to be a tough chore for the Penguins to win both in Tampa, a place where the Lightning have been great at all season long. Now that we’re back in Pittsburgh, I expect the Penguins to do their job and go back to Tampa with a chance to close this series out and head to the Stanley Cup Finals.