Steve Downie scored the game-winning goal and added two assists as the Tampa Bay Lightning forced Game 7 by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 Monday night at the St. Pete Times Forum.
With the game tied 2-2, Dwayne Roloson made three huge saves that gave Downie the chance to be the hero. The Tampa Bay netminder finished with 27 saves.
Teddy Purcell, Sean Bergenheim, and Ryan Malone also scored for the Lightning.
After dominating the previous game 8-2, Tampa Bay’s role players stepped up in Game 6 to fight off elimination for the second straight game.
Pascail Dupuis and Jordan Staal replied for the Penguins.
Marc-Andre Fleury, who was pulled from Saturday’s game, surrendered four goals on 21 shots. Through six games, the Penguins have struggled mightily on the power play, the team is an abysmal 1-for-29.
The first goal of the game had been the key to success in this series, unfortunately for Pittsburgh that trend did not continue on Monday night.
Dupuis put the Penguins up 1-0, 8:23 into the game but the Lightning fought back to send this series back to Pittsburgh.
Roloson gave the puck away to Pittsburgh’s Maxime Talbot, who found Dupuis in front of the Tampa net. The Laval, Que. native made no mistake, scoring the all-important first goal at 8:23 of the first period.
Moments later, Fleury made a huge save on a Martin St. Louis backhander, preserving the early one-goal lead.
After failing to connect on a pair of first period power play chances, the Lightning levelled the game at 1-1 when Purcell beat a sprawled Fleury. The puck bounced around in front of the Pittsburgh goal, allowing Purcell to net his first career playoff marker.
Bergenheim scored his second goal of the series 5:44 into the second, putting the Bolts ahead 2-1.
Midway through the second, Pittsburgh was awarded a penalty shot when Pavel Kubina up-ended Chris Conner on a clear-cut breakaway. Conner was unable to level the score after mishandling the puck on his penalty shot.
Early in the third period, Staal snapped the puck past Roloson to tie the game 2-2 at 3:48.
Roloson made his best saves of the game when he robbed Talbot twice on a breakaway, and Dupuis once on the rebound, keeping the score tied.
Downie scored the eventual game-winner by sliding the puck under Fleury, restoring Tampa’s lead 3-2. Four minutes later, Malone scored on a breakaway to make it a two-goal lead for the Lighting with ten minutes remaining.
Sidney Crosby remains out for the Penguins and there is no timetable for his return.