I give up. Just when we thought we had it all figured out, the Game 4s happened and reminded us all that the Conference Finals are still very much undecided. After looking dominant in their respective Game 3s, both the Penguins and Sharks put up underwhelming efforts to lose Game 4. What happens next is anyone's guess.
LAST GAME'S RECAP
San Jose apparently decided to go all "Jaws" last night, getting their faces blown off by the Blues in a 6-3 loss that wasn't even as close as that score makes it seem. St. Louis jumped out to a 4-0 lead before the Sharks even thought about putting up points, and even when they scored the Blues just kept tacking on to their lead. Apparently, after going more than 120 minutes without scoring, the Blues found their way to a bigger boat as they sailed away with the win to tie this series at 2 games each.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Tampa Bay Lightning (Game 5), 8:00PM EDT - NBCSN
Game 4 was supposed to be the boot on the Lightning's throat, but a stellar Tampa starting performance put the kibash on that. Jumping out to a 4-0 lead (sound familiar, Blues fans?), the Lightning used that momentum to hold on despite a 3rd period surge by Pittsburgh for a 4-3 win and a 2-2 series tie. Heading back to Pittsburgh tonight, the Penguins will be without Trevor Daley (missing the remainder of the playoffs with a broken ankle) and will start Marc-Andre Fleury in net over newbie stud Matt Murray.
Why You Care Enough To Watch: This series seems to be all about carrying momentum, and the Penguins seemed to grab some of that back at the end of Game 4. With Steven Stamkos ruled out for Game 5 and still no exact timetable for his return, despite skating in practices without the "no contact" jersey, any Tampa response to Pittsburgh's efforts to grab momentum will have to come from within. The Tampa kids, including Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, Nikita Kucherov, and Jonathan Drouin, have stepped up big in previous games during the playoffs - albeit against lesser opponents. If they can step up now, against this stacked Pittsburgh squad, it will be worth the viewing.