Pens Beat Bolts to Reach Finals
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins will be making their fifth appearance in the Stanley Cup final, and their first since 2009.
Bryant Rust scored twice while the Pens dominated the second period of a 2-1 victory over Tampa Bay in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. Rust opened the scoring 1:55 into the middle period and snapped a 1-1 tie just 30 seconds after Jonathan Drouin tied the game for the Lightning. Evgeni Malkin assisted on both Penguins goals.
Rust has scored five times in the postseason after scoring just four in 41 regular-season games.
The Pens out shot the Lightning 39-17 overall, including a 21-5 margin in the second period. Tampa Bay put just seven shots on goal against Matt Murray in the final period.
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 37 saves, but he needed 39 to send Tampa Bay back to the Cup final for a second straight year.
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos had two shots in his return from a two-month layoff while dealing with a blood clot.
The outcome sets up a final series between the Penguins and San Jose Sharks, which will begin Monday in Pittsburgh. The Penguins will be gunning for their fourth Stanley Cup since joining the NHL in 1967. The Sharks are in the finals for the first time.