Lightning beat Penguins 4-3, even Eastern Conference finals

Tampa Bay Lightning's Ryan Callahan (24) celebrates with teammates after he scored a goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period of Game 4. AP Photo

TAMPA, Fla. – Ryan Callahan provided an early spark, Andrei Vasilevskiy made two big saves in the closing minutes to avoid a total third-period collapse and the Tampa Bay Lightning held on for a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Callahan tipped a shot past goalie Matt Murray just 17 seconds into the game. Andrej Sustr, Jonathan Drouin and Tyler Johnson also scored and the Lightning rebounded from being badly outplayed in the previous two games to even the series 2-2 heading back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Sunday.

Vasilevskiy had a 4-0 lead entering the third period, but the Penguins didn’t give up. Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin scored to give Pittsburgh hope, and Chris Kunitz’s power-play goal trimmed the deficit to one with just under 7 minutes remaining.

Tampa Bay was outshot 16-7 over the final 20 minutes after dominating the first two periods.

Marc-Andre Fleury replaced Murray in goal for the Penguins at the start of the third, and Kessel’s team-leading eighth goal began the rally that just fell short.


Third period:

10:43 p.m. Kunitz scores. The Bolts lead is down to 4-3 with 6:52 to play.

10:42 p.m. Killorn trips Letang, and now the #Penguins head to the power play.

10:40 p.m. Malkin scores to cut the Lightning lead to 4-2. The Penguins refuse to die.

10:22 p.m. Kessel continues his torrid pace. Pittsburgh scores. It’s 4-1 Bolts.

10:18 p.m. Marc-Andre Fleury takes over for Matt Murray in the #Penguins net to start the third.

Second period: 

10:01 p.m. After 2 periods, the Lightning have a 4-0 lead. Callahan, Sustr, Drouin, and Johnson have had goals.

9:57 p.m. Killorn finds Kucherov, who centers through a crowd. Johnson gets a piece and floats it over Murray’s glove. It’s 4-0 Tampa Bay.

9:49 p.m. The power play gets possession deep. Drouin tries to hit Palat in the slot, but the puck gets blocked and Drouin cashes it. The Bolts lead 3-0.

9:43 p.m. The Penguins are flustered right now. The Lightning head to the power play.

9:39 p.m. Daley is badly hurt in front of his own net. He’s writhing around in pain.

9:27 p.m. Lightning take dumb penalty in the offensive zone: Drouin for holding. Pittsburgh has a power play.

9:23 p.m. The Lightning kill of Kucherov’s penalty without much incident.

9:22 p.m. Kucherov heads to the box after boarding Cole. The Penguins have a power play.

First period:

8:59 p.m. The Penguins’ goalie Murray got hit in the head by his own defenseman to end the period. He stayed down for a while but skated off.

8:57 p.m. Through one period, it’s all Lightning. Tampa Bay leads Pittsburgh 2-0 with goals by Callahan and Sustr. The shots are 18-12 in favor of the Bolts.

8:48 p.m. A beautiful cross-ice setup by Kucherov leads to Sustr’s first postseason goal. The Lightning take a 2-0 lead.

8:44 p.m. Paquette mixes it up with Schultz and Cole after Murray freezes.

8:41 p.m. With 7:03 left in the first, the Lightning lead 1-0 thanks to Callahan’s deflection goal. The shots are 12-7 in favor of Tampa Bay.

8:38 p.m. An incredible keep at the point by Hedman gives the Lightning a scoring chance. Hedman has been all over the place during the first 10 min.

8:34 p.m. Murray makes a blind save on a deflection. He has been outstanding so far.

8:32 p.m. The Lightning are back to the power play.

8:25 p.m. Hagelin gets a couple whacks at a loose puck, but Vasilevskiy is sound positionally.

8:24 p.m. The Lightning are doing a much better job creating havoc in front of Murray.

8:22 p.m. Callahan gets another A+ chance, then Fippula gets one too. Murray stops both.

8:19 p.m. The Lightning are headed to the power play. Hagelin is headed off for a trip.

8:17 p.m. Just :27 into the game, Hedman wrists a shot from the left point. Callahan gets the goal as he tipped the Hedman shot below Murray’s glove. The Lightning lead 1-0.

8:12 p.m. Koekkoek is back in the lineup. The Lightning go with seven defensemen tonight. Condra, Blunden, Nesterov, and Marchessault are scratched.


7:50 p.m. Multiple witnesses say Tyler Johnson was struck in the face with a puck during warmups. He is getting stitches.

7:47 p.m. Lightning forward Tyler Johnson left warmups early. It’s unclear if it was an equipment issue or a health issue.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – In the NHL’s Eastern Conference semifinal, the Penguins dropped the first game to Washington before winning three straight. In the final they were beaten by Tampa Bay in the opening game 3-1 before back-to-back wins put them up 2-1 in the series. Tonight, in Tampa, the Penguins are going for a third straight win once again as well as a commanding lead in the best-of-seven affair.


To make things worse for the Lightning, it looks like a dormant Sidney Crosby has awakened. After failing to score a goal in eight straight games, he has had a goal in the last two contests against Tampa. Pittsburgh has dominated the series when it comes to shots on goal, having taken 124 compared to Tampa Bay’s 70. Pittsburgh has an impressive 12-3 record in the last 15 games.

Bolts’ star goalie Ben Bishop is officially out for the game tonight, as well as the team captain Steven Stamkos, but in the game day optional morning skate they both took the ice. Andrei Vasilevskiy will start tonight in the net. He has not won a postseason game as a starter yet.

“He’s a gamer, that kid. I think that’s why he’s had the success that he’s had,” Coach Jon Cooper said about Vasilevskiy before Game 4.

Coach Cooper confirmed right before the puckdrop Friday that everybody is available but Bishop and Stamkos.

Game 5 will be played back in Pittsburgh this Sunday night. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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