PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 13: Alexei Kovalev #72 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his third period goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Penguins defeated the Lightning 3-0. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Lightning Vs. Penguins, Game 1: Pittsburgh Takes Control, Grabs Series Lead With 3-0 Win

The Pittsburgh Penguins took control of Game 1 following a dismal first period, scoring two goals 18 seconds apart en route to a 3-0 win and a 1-0 series lead. For full series coverage, click here.

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Lightning Vs. Penguins, Game 1: Pittsburgh Scores Two In 18 Seconds, Takes Series Lead 3-0 Win

After 20 minutes of play in Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Pittsburgh Penguins probably went back into the locker room at CONSOL Energy Center with a good deal of anger brewing under their helmets.

They came out after the break and uncorked all of that emotion. 40 minutes, 30 shots and three goals later,  the Penguins left the building with a shutout victory over the Bolts and 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. 

After a lengthy stretch of action, stretching across the second intermission, where the Penguins completely controlled possession and offensive zone time, Alexei Kovalev finally beat Tampa goaltender Dwayne Roloson. Roloson had been brilliant until that point, holding the Pens off the board with a few fantastic stretches of multiple saves. But once Pittsburgh cracked the armor once, that was all they would need.

Arron Asham scored just 18 seconds later and the Lightning completely imploded, only applying minimal pressure on Marc-Andre Fleury and the Pens end throughout the remainder of the game. Chris Kunitz added an empty netter in the final minute to seal the victory, as Pittsburgh successfully held off the potent Lightning attack for the first 60 minutes of the series.

For more on this one, be sure to check in with SB Nation's Penguins blog, Pensburgh, as well as our Lightning blog, Raw Charge. We also have full coverage of this series here at SBNation.com.

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Lightning Vs. Penguins, Game 1: Dwayne Roloson Stands On Head As Pittsburgh Takes Control

The first period was penalty-filled but controlled by the Tampa Bay Lightning, who didn't score thanks to the greatness of Marc-Andre Fleury. In the second period of Wednesday night's Game 1 between the Bolts and Pittsburgh Penguins, Dwayne Roloson took his turn at being fantastic. 

Roloson made 18 saves (!) in the period as the Penguins completely turned the game on its head, taking control and simply dominating the Lightning. Without the brilliance of Roloson, who was certainly up to every challenge he faced, this game could potentially be out of hand now. 

But it's not, and through two periods, we've yet to see a goal. It's starting to seem like the first team that gets on here is going to be the team that wins this one, as these teams are both extremely good when holding leads. It could be determined by the goaltenders, or it could be determined by the special teams.

The Pens had a horrible power play during the regular season, but they look good with the extra man tonight. Unfortunately for them, Roloson looks much better. Tampa, meanwhile, can certainly score with the man advantage. With the amount of penalties that have been taken in the game so far, it wouldn't be shocking if a power play ended this one. 

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Lightning Vs. Penguins, Game 1: Tampa Controlling Play To Start, But Penalties Dominate Scoreless First

When settling into a playoff series, the last thing you want to do is take a bunch of penalties and give the special teams a lot of work. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins are not settling in to this first-round series as planned.

The teams combined for 10 minutes of penalty time in the first 20 minutes of play -- six for the Lightning, four for the Penguins -- as the physical play dominated things early on. Neither team was able to capitalize with the man advantage, so we're still scoreless. 

In terms of five-on-five play, the Lightning are certainly dictating things. They're getting more scoring chances, getting the cycle going and controlling the puck in the offensive zone. Shots are in their favor, 14 to 10, and most of those Pittsburgh shots have come on the power play. 

It's been a nice start, overall, for Tampa, after four years without playoff hockey. Dominic Moore thought he had a goal about midway through the first, but Marc-Andre Fleury somehow kept the puck out. As Moore raised his arms in the air, the puck trickled back out of the front of the crease. Perhaps it was luck or perhaps it was a beauty of a save, but Fleury's been good so far for the Pens.

Now, the rest of the team needs to get on board at even strength. Or, I guess they could just keep drawing penalties. That could work, too. 

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Lightning Vs. Penguins, Game 1: Eastern Contenders Kick Off Playoff Battle In Pittsburgh

It's been four years, but the Tampa Bay Lightning are back in the playoff party. It's been a wild season in Bolts camp, from the new owner, new coach and new general manager a summer ago to the complete rebound of the team back into contention for the Stanley Cup.

There have been a lot of steps taken in less than a year, and on Wednesday night, the Bolts take another step towards regaining what they had just seven years ago -- the Stanley Cup. 

It won't be easy, though. Despite all of their injury woes and all of the obstacles they've had in the course of the last seven months, the Pittsburgh Penguins enter the postseason with home-ice advantage and a hope that, with a little hard work to start and a bump from a refreshed, healthy Sidney Crosby a bit down the road, they too could win the whole thing this year. 

These are two of the elite teams in the Eastern Conference this year, and they face off in this first round. It's going to be a hell of a series. For the Penguins, the key is to get out to an early lead.

When the Lightning get ahead, they're able to fall into the defensive shell (ok, let's just call it the trap) that coach Guy Boucher employs, and if they take the lead in the last 30 minutes of the game, it might be over. Pittsburgh is not a good team when coming from behind, and they're going to need to hold leads of their own to win this series. 

Marc-Andre Fleury is Wednesday's Game 1 starter, of course, and he'll need to continue as the Penguins MVP. He's known for stepping up his game this time of year and Pittsburgh needs him. For Tampa, it's all about the offensive firepower getting on a roll. The Pens defense will have their hands full, especially with the lethal Lightning power play. Shutting down the trio of Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos will be vitally important to win the series.

For now, it's about winning Game 1, which can be seen Wednesday in local markets in the U.S. and on CBC in Eastern Canada at 7 p.m. ET. For more on the game, check in with our Lightning blog, Raw Charge, as well as our Penguins blog, Pensburgh. You can find full coverage from us here at SBNation.com right here

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