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Lightning loses a chance to take hold of NHL Playoff series

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Perhaps the Tampa Bay Lightning are still in good shape in the NHL Eastern Conference Finals.

After all, they split their two games in Pittsburgh, and the next two games will be in Tampa Bay. After all, they got a good performance from Andrei Vasilevskiy, who had 38 saves.

But, man, would this one have been sweet.

The Lightning lost a 3-2 overtime game to the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night. Playing without Ben Bishop, without Ryan Callahan and, once again, without Steven Stamkos, the Lighting rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game before losing.

Pittsburgh outshot the Lightning 41-21 in the game, but had to extra time before Sidney Crosby scored 40 seconds in.

It is an easy strategy for the team on the road to talk about winning one of the two games. However, Jon Cooper said: “we came here to win two.”

“We may not have been the better team tonight,” Cooper said, “but we were one shot away. We’ve got to up our game.”

Cooper said the Lightning had too many “one and done” shots in the third period.

Tampa Bay fell behind 2-0 in the first 10 minutes of the game on goals by Matt Cullen and Brad Kessell. The Lightning pulled even with goals by Anton Stralman – who returned to play for the Bolts – and Jonathan Drouin.

Wednesday night’s game begins at 8 p.m.

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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