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Lightning Strikes Again, Penguins Fall in OT 2-1



Pittsburgh Penguins

The Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Pittsburgh Penguins last Thursday in Tampa Bay. The teams combined for six goals in the 4-2 Tampa Bay win that night. Tuesday night the Penguins and Tampa Bay wore the blades off their skates but failed to score more than one goal for most of the 60 minutes. Each team scored a power-play goal but none at 5v5 even strength.

Late in overtime, Tampa Bay forward Yanni Gourde beat Penguins goalie Matt Murray top-shelf for the 2-1 Tampa Bay win.

The Pittsburgh Penguins power play which has recently struggled but snapped an 0-for-11 string on Saturday in Florida scored on its first chance Tuesday night. After 40 seconds without a shot, including a couple of passed-up opportunities, Sidney Crosby’s slap shot from the right-wing circle caromed to the left-wing circle. Evgeni Malkin (18) blasted a bardown shot over Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

However, the Penguins yielded 17 shots in the first period but didn’t generate much offense at even strength. The Penguins had just six shots 5v5.

Penguins head coach Mike Sulivan and Tampa Bay bench boss Jon Cooper engaged in a battle of wits thought the second period, though neither messed with a Sicilian when death was on the line (Princess Bride reference).

The Penguins tightened their structure and skated with Tampa Bay instead of trying to ensnare them in the neutral zone. The Penguins best scoring chance was a two-on-one and Bryan Rust squarely hit the post.

Newly acquired Jason Zucker tied Jared McCann with a team-high five shots in regulation.

“I thought he had a good first game. I’m sure he had a lot of emotions,” head coach Mike Sullivan.

Tampa Bay scored its own power-play goal after Zach Aston-Reese earned a questionable interference call early in the second period. After a couple of stellar saves, Penguins goalie Matt Murray didn’t see a point shot from Mikhail Sergachev (9). The shot eluded a few bodies in the way and Tampa Bay tied the game.

The Penguins also took a pair of undisciplined penalties. Evgeni Malkin traded gloves with Tampa Bay defenseman Luke Schenn and both earned roughing penalties. Late in the second period, Penguins defenseman Kris Letang tagged himself with an unsportsmanlike conduct minor for a few tray words towards referees who may have shorted the Penguins a power play.

Like the play, the shots were even almost through the second period as the Penguins edged Tampa Bay 11-10.

The Penguins reversed the Tampa Bay first period edge in shots and fired 16 shots at Vasilevskiy but a couple of shots which struck posts were as close as the Penguins got to the go-ahead goal.

Each team finished regulation with 35 shots, despite the large Tampa Bay edge after the first period. Each team was also 1-for-4 on the power play.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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