Tonight, the Lightning played exactly like they did in game 1, but with one major difference: they beat Fleury.
They created the same kinds of chances, but this time they were able to get the puck in the net. The result? They jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. They also showed a killer instinct late in the second period. After the Pens had scored to cut the lead to 2, they had all the momentum. The Pens were going to carry that momentum unto the third.
The Lightning foiled that plan with fourteen seconds left in the period when Marty St. Louis potted the team’s fourth goal, a back-breaker for the Penguins. They would add another goal in the third to cruise away with a 5-1 victory.
Fleury was on top of his game in game 1, but tonight he was merely average. The Bolts were able to pounce on every opportunity and cash in on the chances they couldn’t finish Wednesday night. While the Penguins did have several spurts of solid puck possession, they had trouble getting shots to the net and generating good scoring chances.
At the moment, the Lightning simply have a more potent offense than the Penguins. Without Crosby or Malkin, the Pens have struggled to score a lot, forcing them to play tight, low-scoring games. That has finally come back to bite them.
Now the series moves to Tampa. The Lightning have played extremely well at home this season, and they hope to continue that trend in the post-season. Great win, now they must forget about it and repeat the effort three more times.
1 down, 15 to go.