PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 27: Sean Bergenheim #10 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates his second period goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on April 27, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Lightning Vs. Penguins: Pens Fall In Game 7, Season Over

The Pens and Lightning face off in a decisive Game 7 Wednesday night.

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Tampa Bay Lightning Hold On In Game Seven To Eliminate Penguins

In the end, try as they may, the Pittsburgh Penguins just couldn’t dig deep enough to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Pens had a 14-5 shot edge in the third period and that doesn’t even speak to the zone domination they displayed, controlling the play and pressing desperately to score a goal. They just didn’t catch a break and Dwayne Roloson had all the answers.

For the Penguins 2010-11 will always be a “what could have been” season, having to play the entire half without Sidney Crosby, who was well on his way to having a historic season. And the loss of Evgeni Malkin to a knee injury drove the final spike in the coffin. The team rallied and hung tough all year long, but as tonight so clearly displayed, the Pens just didn’t have that needed skill to put the puck in the net.

The power play will finish 1 for 35 in what will haunt fans and players all off-season. If they could have cashed in even a time or two more, it could have been a different story. But it’s not.

Congrats to the Tampa Bay Lightning, for coming back from a 1 game to 3 disadvantage and being able to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. They will meet the top ranked Washington Capitals, and the Philadelphia Flyers will take on the Boston Bruins in the other matchup.

For the Pens, it was an admirable effort, but at the end, they just didn’t have the juice to compete.

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Pens Will Need To Mount First Third-Period Comeback Effort of Season, Down 1-0 To Tampa

The Pittsburgh Penguins were the only team in the NHL that lost every game they played in when they were losing at the second intermission.

If they can’t change that, their season will be over.

Sean Bergenheim scored a goal in the second to make it 1-0 Tampa, and though Pittsburgh has played with a lot of spirit and desperation since that point, they’ve been unable to beat Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson.

Bergenheim’s goal came in almost the exact same manner as what he scored in Game 6. Tampa center Dominic Moore darted behind the net, forcing Marc-Andre Fleury to leave the near post, but instead of wrapping the puck around, Moore passed over to Bergenheim in both games. And somehow, for the second game in a row, the defense slipped and gave Bergenheim a free look at the net.

To be fair, Fleury has made the right play each time. The goalie must react to the player who has the puck in that situation. If he makes a pass, a defender must neutralize it, or not give the player that much time behind the net to make a clean pass. In both cases the Pens have failed to do so.

Regardless, Pittsburgh has to dig deep now. They’re down to their last 20 minutes and they need to mount a come back. In sports too often do we say it’s “now or never” but for the 2010-11 Pittsburgh Penguins, it literally is now or never.

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