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Blowout! Penguins Dominate Tampa Bay in 7-3 Win



Pittsburgh Penguins game, 7-3 win over Tampa Bay Lightning

The Pittsburgh Penguins were just 2-7-2 in the second of back-to-back games and faced a three-time conference winner with a pair of Stanley Cups in 2020 and 2021.

If you have a Bible, you may want to hold it tight.

Beleaguered Penguins Teddy Blueger, Jeff Carter, and Brian Dumoulin got goals during a second-period onslaught, as the team scored six times in a 7-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at PPG Paints Arena. They scored five goals in 4:27 which, according to the team’s Twitter account, was the second-fastest five goals in franchise history.

The Penguins were playing their second game in two days, but Tampa Bay had even less rest. They were solidly in the game until everything went sideways midway through the second.

Despite having just 22 hours rest, Tampa Bay scored a pair of first-period goals, once benefitting from a fluky carom off an official’s skates and away from the Penguins’ defenders late in the period.

The Penguins had a good start. A few minutes into the game, their fourth line worked the puck around the offensive zone and Drew O’Connor (4) deflected a point shot past Tampa Bay goalie Brian Elliott.

It was Marcus Pettersson’s third point in two games. He also assisted in the second-period rampage to record back-to-back multiple-point games.

The Penguins turned momentum in their favor early in the second. While killing an Evgeni Malkin tripping penalty, Bryan Rust would have finished a two-on-one, if not for a sparkling save by Elliott.

Rust’s chance was only a prelude. As Malkin’s penalty expired, Josh Archibald sent a head-man pass to spring him on a breakaway. A little deke later, Malkin lit the lamp and tied the game, 2-2.

Later in the second, Sidney Crosby (26) scored a power-play goal after Rickard Rakell intercepted Elliott’s clearing attempt. Jake Guentzel made a slick little pass to the side of the net, and Crosby tapped it in.

Just 52 seconds later, Blueger scored his second of the year and first since Dec. 6. The fourth line again pinned Tampa Bay in the offensive zone. Pettersson’s wide shot bounced off the back boards into the crease, and Blueger put it into the net.

Exactly 90 seconds after Blueger broke his slump, Jeff Carter did the same. The Penguins’ top line had several chances before Carter joined the play after a line change. Rakell snapped a pass across the slot to the uncovered Carter (9), who went bar-down.

The Penguins struck again 47 seconds later. Malkin spotted Jason Zucker a glorious chance as Zucker charged full-speed to the net and buried a backhand beneath the crossbar for his 16th.

After Blueger and Carter hit the scoresheet and Pettersson had a multi-point game, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin removed the goose egg after his name.

In the waning seconds of the period, Dumoulin’s (1) slapper from the point whistled through traffic and past Elliott.

Only the second-period horn ended the Penguins’ barrage, which began with Malkin’s breakaway goal and didn’t let up until Dumoulin’s goal with five seconds remaining. The period began with the Penguins trailing, 2-1, but ended with them holding a 7-2 lead.

It was just the third time in 2023 the Penguins have won consecutive games. They have not yet won three in a row since December.

In the first period, offense from the Penguins’ bottom-six should have been cause for celebration, but Tampa Bay scored twice in the final four minutes before the intermission.

Late in the first, Anthony Cirelli (9) was the lucky recipient as Casey DeSmith made the initial save on Zach Bogosian’s point shot. However, the rebound hit Cirelli’s knee and ping-ponged behind DeSmith.

Two minutes later, the Penguins squandered a power play after just 23 seconds, as Rickard Rakell had to hook Cirelli to prevent a breakaway chance. Playing 4-on-4, Sidney Crosby passed instead of shooting. His errant pass became a 3-on-2 rush for Tampa Bay.

Nikita Kucherov (23) got behind Jeff Petry and Pettersson and poked a rebound past DeSmith.

Midway through the third period, Brayden Point scored a power-play goal to close out the scoring.

The Pittsburgh Penguins scored seven goals on 29 shots through 40 minutes and finished 36 shots. The Tampa Bay Lightning had only 17 shots after two periods, and DeSmith finished with 24 saves on 27 shots.