The Eastern Conference Final got underway Friday, but there won't be any games on Saturday. After that though we'll get games regularly as the Penguins-Lightning and Sharks-Blues series will swap every day with the Sharks-Blues playing Sunday, Penguins-Lightning playing Monday, the Western teams facing each other on Tuesday, and so on.
Most conference finals games will start at 8:00 p.m. ET, but there are a few exceptions in the Western Conference Final. Game 3 on Thursday will start at 9:00 p.m. ET while Game 4 on Saturday will start at 7:15 p.m. ET. If it's necessary, Game 6 on May 25 will start at 9:00 p.m. ET. In other words, each game in San Jose will begin at a different time from the 8:00 p.m. ET starts that St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Pittsburgh are operating under.
LIGHTNING 3 PENGUINS 1 (Tampa Bay leads 1-0)
Obviously this is exactly the start Tampa Bay wanted. Right off the bat the Lightning have snatched the home ice advantage from the Penguins by taking one in Pittsburgh. The Penguins now have to respond by winning at least one game in Tampa Bay if they want to claim the series.
At the same time, this game created a potentially big problem for Tampa Bay because Ben Bishop lasted only 12:25 minutes before he had to leave the game on a stretcher with a knee injury. Bishop has been absolutely critical to the Lightning's success thus far with his 1.86 GAA and .939 save percentage in 11 starts. They might have gone on to win this one without him, but can they win a whole series minus their starting goaltender?
Maybe they won't have to. The x-rays on Bishop came back negative, so perhaps his injury won't prove to be as serious as it initially seemed. Only time will tell though.
In the long run it's hard to say how good backup goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy would be against the Penguins' offense. He certainly has potential, but he had an unflattering 2.76 GAA and .910 save percentage in 24 regular season contests. He did turn aside 25 of 26 shots on Friday in relief of Bishop though.
Ondrej Palat scored the game-winning goal and registered an assist. He now has three markers in the 2016 playoffs and remarkable two of them have been game-winners.
Alex Killorn found the back of the net for Tampa Bay. He has four goals and 10 points in 11 contests.
Jonathan Drouin accounted for Tampa Bay's other goal, giving him two goals and 10 points in 11 games.
That left Penguins goalie Matt Murray with just 17 saves on 20 shots. He fell to 7-3 with a 2.15 GAA and .929 save percentage in 10 starts.
Patric Hornqvist scored the Penguins' lone goal. He has six goals and nine points in 12 contests.
Lightning forward Valtteri Filppula registered two assists. That brings him up to six points in 11 games.
Phil Kessel extended his point streak to three games with an assist. The Penguins forward has five goals and 13 points in 12 contests.