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NHL Playoff Recap: Lightning send series back to Pittsburgh for Game 7; Sharks eliminate Kings in overtime

Ryan Malone scored his first of the post-season in Game 5. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

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Ryan Malone scored his first of the post-season in Game 5. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

The NHL Playoff Recap gives you our take of what happened in each game of the night and what the consequences will be for the rest of the series.

We also provide our Three Stars of the night, which will be tabulated after each round and kept track of each day in our Playoff Game Day Preview. First Star is three points, Second Star is two points and Third Star is one point. Be sure to vote on who you think the first star was as well.

Of course there's the other side of the coin: The Black Hole is a piece of the lineup that just couldn't get it going on a given night and contributed to a difficult evening for the team.

GAME 6: LIGHTNING 4, PENGUINS 2 - SERIES TIED 3-3

THN’s Take: The Lightning have had a very heavy, almost unhealthy, reliance on their star players, but they’re going to Game 7 against the Penguins because of the outstanding work of their lesser lights. Tampa got a total of one assist from Steven Stamkos, Martin St-Louis and Vinny Lecavalier, but received yeomen’s work from their worker bees and, when he wasn’t going out of his net to play the puck, outstanding goaltending from veteran Dwayne Roloson.

Three Stars
1. Steve Downie - Scored a goal and added two assists to move into third place among Lightning scorers in this year’s playoffs. Downie continues to have a strong series after a so-so regular season.

2. Ryan Malone – The veteran finally got his game going offensively and in the third period scored his first playoff goal since playing for the Penguins in 2008.

3. Sean Bergenheim – Another one of the Lightning foot soldiers who shone, Bergenheim scored his second goal of the series and was very industrious at both ends of the ice.

The Black Hole
Chris Conner – Conner will never be confused with Sidney Crosby when it comes to producing offense, but, dude, you really have to at least get a shot off when you come in for a penalty shot.

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POLL: Who was your first star of the game?

GAME 6: SHARKS 4, KINGS 3 (OT) - SHARKS WIN SERIES 4-2

THN's Take: What a way for the Sharks to close out the series. Continuing the back and forth action that defined this matchup, the Sharks held three leads in regulation, but the Kings found a way to even it up each time. San Jose dominated the play at times, but again Jonathan Quick bailed out his mates and was able to keep them in it beyond regulation. A five-minute major penalty (and a great call) to San Jose's Jamie McGinn in the final minutes of the third period looked like it was going to be Los Angeles' ticket to a seventh game as the host side's power play was money all game long. But it was not to be, as the Sharks killed it off and scored the winner shortly after. It wasn't pretty, but the Sharks showed a lot of fight and, finally, finish in this game. They look like a strong, deep team heading into Round 2, but the big question is in net with Antti Niemi. You know, the exact same question the Blackhawks faced last season.

Three Stars
1. Joe Thornton - Had a nice assist on Kyle Wellwood's opening goal and buried the series-clinching marker in overtime to help get the playoff monkey off his back.

2. Jarret Stoll - Had two assists, including on Los Angeles' last game-tying goal and was one of three Kings who was a plus player on the night.

3. Jonathan Quick - Even though they lost, Los Angeles earns two out of the three stars. Quick was amazing early on to keep his team in the game and was L.A.'s MVP throughout the series.

The Black Hole
Brad Richardson - After such a great series, Richardson came out of Game 6 with a minus-4 rating.

POLL: Who was your first star of the game?

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