Trevor Daley #6 of the Pittsburgh Penguins gets helped off the ice after being injured during the second period against the Tampa Bay Lightningin Game Four of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 20, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)
Plus – Malkin breaks through
Evgeni Malkin had 12 shots on goal during the first three games of the series against the Lightning, but he hadn’t scored a goal in eight games. He finally found the net Friday, beating Andrei Vasilevskiy at 11:13 of the third period to pull the Penguins within two goals. They weren’t able to tie the game, but this could be the spark Malkin needed to get rolling offensively. He put six shots on goal and attempted 11 overall. Production like that could turn into more goals or rebound opportunities for linemates in Game 5.
Minus – Slow starters
All of the talk leading into Game 4 was geared towards the Penguins getting a fast start, scoring first and keeping the Lightning from trapping them. Instead, they allowed a goal off of the stick of forward Ryan Callahan just 27 seconds into the game. They were sloppy throughout the first period and allowed 18 shots against Matt Murray and a second goal to Andrej Sustr at 14:28.
Plus – The Flower Blooms
Matt Murray can’t be blamed for all four goals that he allowed, but it was the perfect opportunity to get Marc-Andre Fleury back in net, and coach Mike Sullivan took it. Fleury started the third period and looked comfortable in stopping the seven shots that he faced. His best flurry of saves might have been back-to-back stops against Nikita Kucherov over a span of 17 seconds. The Penguins also looked like a different team in front of him, which helped the cause, but Fleury seems ready to go for Game 5.
Minus – Days without Daley?
Trevor Daley has been a workhorse for the Penguins during the playoffs. He averages the second most minutes on the team behind Kris Letang and the team might have to learn to exist without him. He was lost for the game after suffering a lower body injury after taking a hit from Callahan. His skate appeared to catch Callahan’s following contact. Sullivan had no update postgame, saying only that he hoped to have more information Saturday. He also added the obvious, “he’s a hard guy to replace.”
Plus – HBK strikes again
Phil Kessel scored his eighth goal of the playoffs and Nick Bonino picked up his 11th assist. They and linemate Carl Hagelin combined to roll up nine shots on goal and five hits. They attempted 15 shots and were dominant in the third period when the Penguins were on the comeback trail. The HBK line remains a key for the team moving forward.
Minus – Misfiring too often
The Penguins combined to have 27 shots blocked or miss the net. This has been a trend in the series, as the Lightning have had success getting in shooting lanes. They still managed to put 38 shots on goal, but 16 of them came in the third. Getting more of their early shots to the net could have made a big difference in the game.