Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning's Teddy Purcell sparks power play in 8-2 Game 5 win over Pittsburgh Penguins

The Lightning’s Teddy Purcell, who had one point in this series entering Game 5, gets three assists against the Penguins.

DIRK SHADD | Times

The Lightning’s Teddy Purcell, who had one point in this series entering Game 5, gets three assists against the Penguins.

PITTSBURGH — Right wing Teddy Purcell thought for sure he had his first career playoff goal Saturday afternoon.

With about three minutes left in the first period, Purcell, 25, ripped a shot from the left circle that whizzed past the shoulder of Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and bounced off two posts. Purcell raised his arms in celebration.

"I even thought the goal light went on," Purcell said, smiling.

The puck didn't go in, but the rebound landed at the feet of Simon Gagne, who put it in the empty net for the Lightning's first goal in an 8-2 win over the Penguins in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. It was one of three assists for Purcell, who, in his first playoff series, had a strong game in sparking the Lightning power play, which was 4-for-7 (57 percent).

Purcell showed poise, patience and precision in making cross-ice passes that set up back-to-back power-play goals by defenseman Pavel Kubina in the third.

"I've always been a pass-first kind of guy," Purcell said. "Our power play was doing a lot of good things, having good entries, moving it around well, and that kind of bought us some time. Kuby did a good job of getting open. I made some passes, and lucky for us, they went through."

Coach Guy Boucher has lauded Purcell for his offensive abilities. But Boucher has been hard on him all season, pressing Purcell to show more grit, go to the net and raise his compete level. Boucher saw him improve throughout the season, and that has earned him playing time with Gagne and captain Vinny Lecavalier.

"We know he's got skill, tremendous skill — incredible shot, great vision," Boucher said. "It's the battle all year long that increased, got better and improved, and he's up to the level now where he's able to compete with the best of them, playing on a line with Lecavalier and Gagne and do everything, basically, offensively and defensively."

Purcell — who had just two three-point games in his career before Saturday — was quiet for the first four games of the series, picking up one assist. He said the playoffs have been a big adjustment. His first playoff game felt like his first NHL game, he said.

"You're nervous and almost too amped up," Purcell said. "You've just got to settle down and be poised, but you've got to be sharp at the same time."

Purcell showed both qualities on his two power-play assists. He held onto the puck long enough to find an open passing lane on each, and on Kubina's second goal, he deftly lifted a cross-crease pass over two Penguins' sticks. "It was like an empty-netter," Kubina said.

"His composure with the puck was phenomenal," right wing Steve Downie said. "He's been playing really well."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Teddy Purcell sparks power play in 8-2 Game 5 win over Pittsburgh Penguins 04/23/11 [Last modified: Saturday, April 23, 2011 9:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs roundtable: Time for another kicking panic?

    Bucs

    Five days after the beleaguered Roberto Aguayo got cut after missing a PAT and a field goal, new Bucs kicker Nick Folk had a PAT blocked and missed a field goal.

  2. The Bloomingdale's that a Ruth baseball built

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — A treasure, possibly worth half a million dollars, could lie behind a granite slab at the base of the Bloomingdale's flagship store in Manhattan in New York City, just a few feet from a window displaying designer handbags: a baseball signed by Babe Ruth.

    According to reports from 1930, this cornerstone of Bloomingdale's flagship store in New York City could have a baseball signed by Babe Ruth and other items entombed with instructions not to open for 200 years. The Ruth ball, if there and in good condition, could be worth a record $500,000. [ New York Times]
  3. U.S. repeats as Solheim Cup champion

    Golf

    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

    Lexi Thompson, left, comes back from four holes down to halve the day’s first singles match with Europe’s Anna Nordqvist to set the tone for the United States.
  4. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  5. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.