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Lightning hopes to close out Penguins in tonight’s Game Six

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The Tampa Bay Lightning hopes to close out the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight.

Otherwise, the Eastern Conference Finals could get dicey yet.

The Lightning is home against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. But if the Penguins win, then Game Seven is in Pittsburgh. True, the Lightning won the last meeting between the teams there, but it’s not adviseable to try to make a living. Pittsburgh was 26-11-4 at home this season.

Then there is this. If the teams were to play a Game Seven, then coach Jon Cooper would have a decision to make in goal. Would he go with Ben Bishop, the team’s MVP this season? Or would he stay with Andrei Vasileskiy, who has played for most of this series. Obviously, much of the decision would be based on whether Bishop was healthy enough to offset the time he has missed.

The Lightning again will face the high-powered Penguins’ offense featuring Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel.

A year ago, the Bolts were in a similar position. They had a chance to close out the Rangers, but they lost badly. And they had to find a way to win a Game Seven.

If the Lightning were to win tonight, they would reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the second straight year (the third in franchise history).

Game time is 8 p.m. At Amalie Arena.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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