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Down to wire

Penguins right wing Phil Kessel reacts after scoring the first goal of Tuesday’s late Game 6 against Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy in the first period at Amalie Arena.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Penguins right wing Phil Kessel reacts after scoring the first goal of Tuesday’s late Game 6 against Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy in the first period at Amalie Arena.

TAMPA

The Lightning entered Tuesday's Game 6 against the Penguins having been outshot in each of the first five games of the series.

And Tampa Bay was one win from advancing to its second consecutive Stanley Cup final.

In Game 5 the Penguins led after the first and second periods and lost.

They outshot the Lightning by 65 shots during the series and were one loss away from going home.

This is the time of the series when stats take a backseat to the ultimate goal — winning.

"It's always about that," Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. "You want to get shots. You want to generate chances. I think it's nice when you can look at the (score) board and think you're generating and getting chances, but the only one that matters on the board is how many goals you get."

The Penguins made a change in goal for Game 6, going back to rookie Matt Murray.

Penguins center Evgeni Malkin had guaranteed the series was going back to Pittsburgh for the winner-take-all Game 7.

Meanwhile, the Lightning, still playing without goalie Ben Bishop and captain Steven Stamkos, was ready close out the series in six games.

The Lightning talked Tuesday morning of playing its game, of controlling the action and the puck and taking as many shots as possible.

But the bottom line, as Crosby said, was the portion of the scoreboard that kept the tally for goals.

"It's the playoffs, it doesn't matter how you win the game. You just need to win the game," Cedric Paquette said. "That's what we've done this series. We didn't play our best game when we won, but what was important was the win."

Down to wire 05/24/16 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 24, 2016 10:13pm]
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