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Morning Java: Kings show how it’s done in Game 3

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

BOSTON — Morning, Lunatics, from the newest stop on the tour …

>> No column this morning, as mentioned yesterday. There had been a few days in a row, and we’re about to go with another few days in a row, so the timing was good.

>> There was, of course, a TribLIVE Radio podcast yesterday, featuring my special guest Jarvis  Jones of the Steelers, as well as good stuff on the Pirates from Rob Biertempfel in Atlanta.

Here’s video of the opening rant on tonight’s Game 3 …

And on that same note, let me toss out a tap of the stick to the Kings for displaying something more clearly than anyone could through math: Game 3 matters.

Just like that, with one sound, characteristic victory in their mold, the Kings cut the Blackhawks lead in the Western final to 2-1, with Game 4 also set for the Staples Center.

Yes, the Kings won their Game 3 in Los Angeles. But to imply that the Penguins need to be at home to gain some kind of traction — never mind momentum — in this series is to utterly ignore what Consol Energy Center is like in the playoffs anytime the home team faces even a sliver of adversity.

Why would you want the Penguins playing there right now?

Can anyone else who was in the building Monday night attest to how that place died a thousand deaths with Brad Marchand’s first-shift goal?

Can anyone else who has spent any amount of time at Consol ever recall a truly positive vibe in a tight playoff situation there?

I’m not saying the Penguins will take Game 3. That would be a silly forecast to make after what we all saw Monday. But I am saying that, if they do take Game 3, this most definitely is a series again.

Our full Penguins coverage for the day …

>> Five steps to salvaging the series, by beat man Rob Rossi

>> Jarome Iginla is adamant this isn’t over, by Josh Yohe

>> Dan Bylsma promises changes, by Yohe

>> The real deal David Krejci, by Kevin Gorman

>> Complete playoff photo gallery, by our Chaz Palla and Chris Horner

>> More on the Bruins from our news partners at the Boston Herald

dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls>> Another tough loss at Turner Field for the Pirates, one that resulted in 10th-inning-winning-RBI man Andrelton Simmons being carried off by Jason Heyward (seen over there to the right). It’s all described by Biertempfel

>> I brought up the topic of Francisco Liriano’s contract and how it’s been inaccurately portrayed, and Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal nailed the details yesterday: The truth is that Liriano is guaranteed $9.125 million for this season and next if he stays off the disabled list for 120 days specifically as it relates to his non-pitching right arm that was broken in the offseason.

That’s already a non-issue, unless the guy goes banging another door somewhere.

So, if anyone wants to measure what level of bargain Liriano is, do it off the correct number — a $9.125 million figure that still could get higher based on incentives — than the $1 million some had been floating.

>> Get ready for baseball to be rocked yet again by steroids. That could mean suspensions of up to 100 games for Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez and about 20 others.

Braun and Rodriguez already are pretty much loathed in Pittsburgh, especially Braun, but let me ask you this: How would you feel if one of the Pirates showed up on that list?

Only asking, of course. Not like it won’t be crossing everyone’s mind upon reading that.

 >> I’m set to go all Steve McLendon all the time once the Steelers get going, but Alan Robinson takes the topic in moderation from yesterday’s OTAs.

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Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

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