Lightning beat Penguins 1-0 in Game 7
PITTSBURGH – Dwayne Roloson made 36 saves for his second NHL playoff shutout, Sean Bergenheim scored, and the Tampa Bay Lightning completed a big series comeback and eliminated the Pittsburgh Penguins with a 1-0 win in Game 7 on Wednesday night.
Roloson became the second goalie to go 6-0 in elimination games. He allowed only four goals in winning the final three games as Tampa Bay erased a 3-1 series deficit. That matched his feat in 2003 when he led the Minnesota Wild to a comeback against the Vancouver Canucks in the second round.
The No. 5 seed Lightning will now face the top-seeded Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Penguins lost their second consecutive Game 7 and fell to 2-6 in such deciding games at home.
Bergenheim's goal 5:41 into the second period was his third in the final four games of the series. Tampa Bay hadn't advanced in the playoffs since winning the Stanley Cup in 2004.
Despite a 36-23 edge in shots, the Sidney Crosby-less Penguins lost three consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 27, 2009-Jan. 3, 2010 — a span of 141 games.
Playing their first Game 7 on the road, the Lightning were the first this year to win a series after trailing 3-1. Tampa Bay is 3-0 in Game 7s.
The Lightning killed a slashing penalty given to Nate Thompson with 1:33 left that gave the Penguins a 6-on-4 skating advantage after goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled.
That was the fifth unsuccessful power play of the game for Pittsburgh, which was 1-for-35 for the series and had no power-play goals in 25 chances at home.
After the Penguins took 17 of the first 24 shots, Bergenheim scored on a familiar play set up by a blind backhand pass by Dominic Moore. Moore skated behind the net toward the left-wing side and got the puck to Bergenheim, who was standing alone below the right circle.
Fleury hadn't even turned his head back toward Bergenheim's side of the ice as the puck was heading into the net.
Moore set up Bergenheim for a nearly identical goal in Tampa Bay's 4-2 win in Game 6.
This one was the only goal Roloson and the Lightning needed. Pittsburgh had lost all 23 games in which it trailed heading into the third period, and that trend continued even though the Penguins controlled play for much of the frame in a desperate attempt to keep their season alive.
Roloson, who entered with a 1.80 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in elimination games, stopped Tyler Kennedy from close range during the period's first minute, and turned away Chris Kunitz, James Neal and Mark Letestu over the next 90 seconds.
Roloson calmly stopped Kennedy and Kunitz on a rebound with about two minutes to go.
The loss of Crosby, who didn't play after Jan. 5 because of a concussion, and Evgeni Malkin's season-ending knee injury proved to be too much for Pittsburgh to overcome.
Notes: This was the fourth Game 7 the Penguins played in their past six series. ... Roloson's other playoff shutout came May 17, 2006, for Edmonton in a second-round win over San Jose. ... The Lightning became the 24th NHL team in 244 tries to come back from a 3-1 series deficit. ... The visiting team won five of the final six games of the series.