ECF Game 6 Preview: at Tampa Bay Lightning - May 24, 2016



Pittsburgh Penguins (10-6) at Tampa Bay Lightning (11-4)
May 24, 2016 @ 8:00 PM - Amalie Arena
TV: NBC Sports Network
Tampa Bay Leads 3-2


It's do or die time for the Pittsburgh Penguins in tonight's Game 6 as they face elimination for the first time this postseason following the 4-3 overtime loss to the Lightning in Game 5. Head Coach Mike Sullivan made the controversial decision to start Marc-Andre Fleury in that game after a long layoff, but the veteran netminder wasn't capable of providing a higher level of play in net. The Pens now need to win their next two games to be able to move on to the Stanley Cup Finals, and among other things they'll need to take better care of the puck and find a way to beat Andrei Vasilevskiy.

The 21-year-old netminder has been forced into action this series after Ben Bishop went down with a freak injury in Game 1, and he's been largely responsible for keeping Tampa in this series after they've seen a large shot differential favoring Pittsburgh. Vasilevskiy has posted a 0.925 SV% through the first five games of the series along with a 2.93 GAA that suggests that while Pittsburgh has been able to generate scoring, they've also faced a hot goaltender who's held them in check more than they deserved.

Also working against the Pens so far in the Eastern Conference Finals is that they've haven't enjoyed the same success in preventing goals as they did against the Rangers and the Capitals. While the team in front of their netminders has been prone to sloppy play and bad turnovers during the series, Matt Murray hasn't stolen goals at the same rate he did in the first round, and Fleury displayed considerable signs of rust in Game 5. It'll be Murray back in net tonight as the Penguins face elimination, but if he can match Vasilevskiy's play then the team should have a good chance of bringing the series back to Pittsburgh for a decisive Game 7. 

Projected Lines



Notes

- Both Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist have expressed through the media their confidence that the Penguins can force a Game 7 with a win tonight.

- The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have re-signed captain Tom Kostopoulos.
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