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Lightning take Game 1 with 3-1 win over Penguins

Tha Sports Junkies 101-Sports News Sarah A./via flickr.com

NHL

PITTSBURGH-The Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins met in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final on Friday night at the Consol Energy Center.

Pens rookie goalie Matt Murray would start against the Lightning in Friday‘s Game 1.

The 21-year-old has started Pittsburgh’s past nine games, winning seven, with a 2.05 goals-against average and .935 save percentage since returning from an upper-body injury April 19.
He won three of four starts with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury as his backup, including Game 3 against the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference Second Round, when he made an NHL career-high 47 saves in a 3-2 win.
 
After occupying the crease normally reserved for the starting goalie during the Pens’ optional Friday morning skate, Murray left the ice before Fleury.
 
“I’ve watched him, both in [Wilkes/Barre-Scranton of the American Hockey League] and here in Pittsburgh,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told NHL.com correspondent Wes Crosby. “If he thinks he should have had a save or one gets by him, it doesn’t impact the next play or the next save. He responds the right way to that sort of adversity. I think that speaks to his maturity.”
 

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper did not speak to the media after practice.

The Lightning struck first, as Alex Killorn eluded a defender, showed off some slick moves and beat Murray for a 1-0 lead at 18:46.

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang left briefly early in the first period after getting hit illegally from behind by the Lightning’s Ryan Callahan. Later, Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop exited with an apparent left leg injury and was replaced by backup Andrei Vasilevskiy.

 Callahan earned a five-minute major penalty after crunching Letang in the corner by the Pittsburgh net. Letang made it off the ice under his own power and returned later in the period.

The Lightning led the Penguins 1-0 after 20 minutes.

Evgeni Malkin was called for hooking Victor Hedman, which allowed Tampa Bay to go on a power play. Valtteri Filppula‘s shot was stopped by Murray, but Ondrej Palat was there to backhand the rebound into the net for a power play goal to extend the Lightning’s lead to 2-0 at 2:33.

Jonathan Drouin received a pass from Palat on a three-on-one, finding a one-timer into the net to give the Lightning a 3-0 lead at 18:25.

Hedman was called for tripping Conor Sheary, allowing Pittsburgh to go on a power play. Patric Hornqvist scored a power play goal to cut the deficit to 3-1 at 19:05.

The Lightning continued to lead the Penguins 3-1 after 40 minutes. Pittsburgh outshot Tampa Bay 19-15.

Palat was called for boarding Brian Dumoulin at 15:14. Officials reviewed the play and rightfully awarded a power play to the Penguins.

There was an empty net for Pittsburgh in the final seconds of their fourth power play.

The Lightning survived the loss of Bishop and defeated the Penguins 3-1 in Game 1. Bishop made nine saves for Tampa Bay. Vasilevskiy made 25 saves after Bishop’s departure. Murray made 17 saves for Pittsburgh.

Tampa Bay went 1-for-2 on the power play, while Pittsburgh went 1-for-4.

With the win, the Lightning took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Notes:
Lightning
Injured: Steven Stamkos (blood clot), Anton Stralman (fractured left fibula)

Scratched: Mike Blunden, Jonathan Marchessault, Nikita Nesterov, Matt Taormina, Luke Witkowski

Penguins
Injured: Kevin Porter (ankle surgery), Scott Wilson (lower body)

Scratched: Jeff Zatkoff, Derrick Pouliot, Justin Schultz, Oskar Sundqvist, Beau Bennett

Up Next: Game 2 is Monday at 8:00 pm ET on NBCSN, TVA and CBC.

NOTE: This article was written by Ana Kieu.