Rapid Reaction: Pittsburgh Penguins 5, Tampa Bay Lightning 2

TAMPA -- The Pittsburgh Penguins staved off elimination and posted a 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday at Amalie Arena. The best-of-seven series is tied 3-3, with the decisive Game 7 at 8 p.m. ET Thursday at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

How it happened: Evgeni Malkin's guarantee proved true. The big boys showed up to play for Pittsburgh. Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel and Kris Letang were at their best -- or at least close to it -- en route to victory. It all started with coach Mike Sullivan's decision to challenge what appeared to be a Lightning goal when Jonathan Drouin scored at 5:12 of the first period. After review, it was offside, and the goal was disallowed.

It was a major break for the Penguins, and they responded. Pittsburgh took advantage of each opportunity. Kessel scored during a two-man advantage at 18:46 of the first period to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead. Letang, who struggled in Game 5, stepped up and gave Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead at 7:40 of the second period. Crosby proved why he is one of the best in the world when his all-out effort resulted in a goal at 19:34 of the second for a 3-0 lead. Sullivan’s decision to go back to rookie netminder Matt Murray worked too. The 21-year-old wasn’t tested often, but when he was, he made timely saves and finished with 28 stops.

What it means: Game 7! The Penguins live to play another game. What’s at stake? Only a trip to the Stanley Cup finals to face either the San Jose Sharks or the St. Louis Blues. The Sharks have a 3-2 series lead with Game 6 at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday in San Jose.