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Penguins host Lightning in Game 7 on TSN

The Sports Network

4/27/2011 2:11:57 PM

(Sports Network) - After splitting the first six games of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, the Lightning and Penguins will meet for a decisive Game 7 tonight at Pittsburgh's CONSOL Energy Center.

You can watch the game live on TSN and TSN Mobile TV at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt.

The fifth-seeded Lightning appear to have the momentum heading into tonight's finale, as they've rebounded from a 3-1 deficit in the series to force this evening's all-important battle.

Tampa is also 2-1 in Pittsburgh during this series and the Lightning have outscored the Pens by a 13-3 margin at CONSOL Energy Center since losing Game 1 in the Steel City, 3-0.

The Penguins have an 8-1 all-time series record when leading three-games-to- one. The only loss was in the 1975 quarterfinals, when Pittsburgh blew a 3-0 series lead to the New York Islanders.

Tampa Bay has never come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a series.

After destroying the Penguins by an 8-2 score in Game 5 at CONSOL Energy Center, the Lightning returned home and notched a 4-2 victory in Monday's test at St. Pete Times Forum. Steve Downie scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period.

Downie also had two assists for the Lightning. Former Penguin Ryan Malone added a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay, which got a goal apiece from Sean Bergenheim and Teddy Purcell.

"I think our whole team stuck to our game plan and remained disciplined. Our penalty kill was great and everyone did an all-around job tonight," Downie said.

Dwayne Roloson made 27 saves for the Lightning, improving his lifetime record in elimination games to 5-0. The 41-year-old has a 2.05 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in this series.

Pascal Dupuis and Jordan Staal lit the lamp for the fourth-seeded Penguins on Monday, while Marc-Andre Fleury made 17 saves in the losing effort. The setback dropped Pittsburgh to 5-2 in its last seven chances to close out a series on the road.

Pittsburgh has yet to clinch a playoff series at home under head coach Dan Bylsma, winning each of its last five series-clinchers on the road.

"It comes down to one now. We'll lay it on the line and do what we can to come out with a win," Penguins forward James Neal said.

Fleury needs to rebound from consecutive poor starts, as he's allowed eight goals on just 35 shots in Games 5 and 6 combined. Fleury is 2-1 with a 2.89 GAA in three career Game 7s.

Roloson notched a win in his only Game 7, helping the Minnesota Wild beat Vancouver in the 2003 Western Conference semifinals.

The Penguins are 7-5 all-time in Game 7s and lost in this situation to Montreal in last spring's conference semis.

Tampa Bay has recorded wins in both of its all-time Game 7s, but those tests came during the club's 2004 Stanley Cup championship season. The Bolts beat Philadelphia in a Game 7 to win the Eastern Conference title in '04 and then defeated Calgary in a decisive game to win the franchise's one and only Cup.

Of course, Pittsburgh is still playing without captain Sidney Crosby due to a concussion. Crosby continues to practice with the team, but he has not been cleared for contact and will miss tonight's game.

The Penguins had a 25-14-2 record in their first year at CONSOL Energy Center, while Tampa Bay was 21-14-6 as the visiting team this season.

Pittsburgh and the Bolts split four meetings during the regular season and this playoff series marks the first-ever postseason matchup between these clubs.