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Lightning beats Pens to force Game Seven

The Tampa Bay Lightning followed Dwayne Roloson's lead to remain alive in the NHL playoffs.

The 41-year-old goaltender, who says the key to thriving in the postseason is to have a short-term memory, stopped 27 shots Monday night to outplay Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury and beat the Penguins 4-2 to force a Game Seven in their first-round Eastern Conference series.

The deciding game is Wednesday night in Pittsburgh, where fifth-seeded Tampa Bay has already won twice this postseason, including an 8-2 Game 5 blowout that began its comeback from a 3-1 deficit in the series.

"We just played two Game Sevens because that is the position we are in," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said after his team avoided elimination for the second time in three days. "That fifth game was a do or die for us, and the sixth was a do or die."

Steve Downie put the Lightning ahead for good, scoring just over a minute after Pittsburgh's Jordan Staal gave the fourth-seeded Penguins life with a goal that made it 2-2 early in the third. Teddy Purcell, Sean Bergenheim and Ryan Malone also scored against Fleury, who faltered for the second straight game.

"It's a seven-game series. They're a good team," Pittsburgh's James Neal said. "We've played them hard all series long. It comes down to one now."

Pulled after yielding four goals on 14 shots in Game Five, Fleury couldn't protect an early lead and struggled again when Pittsburgh looked like it had regained momentum.

The Pittsburgh goalie was spectacular in Game One, delivering an acrobatic 32-save performance that produced his fifth career postseason shutout. He's struggled in the Penguins' three losses and allowed the Lightning to rally from two-goal deficits in two games Pittsburgh went on to win.

Still, Fleury expects the Penguins to regroup and win Game Seven.

"We know we can play," Fleury said. "I'm still positive and think we can do it."

Downie's go-ahead goal came moments after Roloson rejected point-blank shots by Maxime Talbot and Pascal Dupuis. The Tampa Bay goalie also was at his best in the second period, when the Lightning killed four penalties and Pittsburgh's Chris Conner failed to score on a penalty shot that would have tied the score.


Canucks' GM irate

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Chicago Blackhawks are a win away from making history. For the Vancouver Canucks, it feels as if they're repeating it.

If the Canucks are going to get bounced from the playoffs by the Blackhawks for a third straight season -- and enter the NHL history books for blowing a 3-0 series lead -- they'll do it with their general manager blasting the officiating and their franchise goalie stopping shots.

Faced with a decisive Game Seven tonight (10 p.m., Versus) and the possibility of becoming just the fourth team in NHL history to lose a series after winning the first three games, GM Mike Gillis claimed the calls have been one-sided and coach Alain Vigneault declared Roberto Luongo his starter one game after benching him.

The first part may have been designed to take the focus off the second, though Gillis claimed he was just pointing out a discrepancy in penalties and what he believed were "six or seven" missed calls in Sunday's 4-3 overtime loss in Game Six.

Gillis cited a number of different statistics, but Chicago has a 27-16 series advantage in power plays -- 22-12 over the last four games.

Chicago will have to complete the comeback without forward Bryan Bickell, who has two goals and two assists in five games but is out six to eight weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a wrist tendon that was lacerated in Game Two.

At least they'll still have Dave Bolland, whose Game Four return from a concussion coincided with the disappearance of Canucks forwards Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Since Bolland came back the Sedins have three points, a minus-13 rating, and were on the ice for Smith's Game Six winner. Bolland has two goals, six points and a plus-6 rating.


Bruins, Canadiens keep it clean

BROSSARD, Que. -- With Boston holding a 3-2 lead in the first-round series heading into tonight's game (7 p.m., Ch. 5, Versus) in Montreal, play between the two Original Six rivals has been so close that neither team is willing to risk giving the other a needless power-play opportunity.

"It's playoff hockey," Canadiens forward Travis Moen said following the team's practice Monday at its suburban rink complex. "No team wants to put their team down, you know, spend a lot of time in the penalty box, so it's physical but it's clean."

Now five games into this 33rd playoff series between the Bruins and the Canadiens, there is little to separate the margin of play between the two bitter rivals. Each team has scored 12 goals in the series, making Boston's one-game lead that much more valuable.

With so much at stake, the focus is squarely back on the ice.

Montreal has converted two of 16 power-play opportunities. Boston is 0 for 15 with the man advantage.

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