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Lightning Steal Penguins Thunder, 5-1; Pens First Regulation Loss

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Pittsburgh Penguins game, Tampa Bay Lightning, Mike Matheson

No team will go 82-0, not even the star-less Pittsburgh Penguins (3-1-2), who frequently rally to play desperate hockey without their star players. The Tampa Bay Lightning took advantage of a disallowed Penguins goal and scored twice in 10 seconds midway through the second period to steal the Penguins thunder 5-1 at PPG Paints Arena on

The list of absent Penguins reads more like a Hall of Fame ballot. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jeff Carter, Kris Letang and Bryan Rust (OK, Rust isn’t in the Hall of Fame conversation, but you get the idea).

Carter should exit COVID protocol later this week, according to head coach Mike Sullivan. However, the Penguins coach also said Letang is symptomatic.

With Evan Rodrigues as the Penguins first-line center for the second consecutive game, the Penguins fought Tampa Bay to a draw, but a couple of bounces made the difference between two points and looking ahead to the next game.

The first period was a wild back and forth with a few line scrums. Late in the first period, the Penguins inexplicably had a goal waved off, and a line brawl nearly erupted. It was that type of period as the shot clock reflected the even exchanges.

Brock McGinn’s shot hit Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy and rolled over his shoulder into the crease. While it was never still, or contained, officials assumed the goalie had it and blew the whistle just as the puck dropped into the crease behind Vasilevskiy and the Penguins plugged it into the net.

That was the closest the Penguins got to a goal, unless you include an even exchange of hit posts, too.

Tampa Bay slightly outshot the Penguins 13-11, but everything attested to the even exchange.

Penguins winger Sam Lafferty may have had his heel turn as an agitator. He had a fighting major and a roughing penalty in the first period, but his roughing cal precipitated a Penguins power play when Tampa Bay defenseman Ryan McDonagh took a double minor in response.

However, Tampa Bay gained their first lead of the young season early in the second period.

With fresh ice in the second period, Brayden Point was the end recipient of a razor-sharp tic-tac-toe breakout. Point raced past John Marino, who was caught out of position and roofed a backhand over Tristan Jarry.

“They were stretching three guys and Point obviously had a ton of speed,” Marino said. “Kind of caught us by surprise there and (I was) stepping up, trying to get a piece of him. Overall, we just have to do a better job of staying on top of them.”

Then \midway through the period, Tampa Bay scored twice in 10 seconds.

After a pounding shift with several offensive chances by the Penguins fourth line, Tampa Bay counter attacked just after the line change. Ondrej Palat again victimized the Penguins top defensive pairing and raced past Brian Dumoulin for a clear look at Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry.

Palat (3) snapped it short-side.

Just 10 seconds later, the Penguins chased the puck in the defensive zone and lost. Ryan McDonagh (1) took advantage of lapsed positioning to rip a one-timer past Jarry.

Tristan Jarry, who was 16-1-2 in his last 21 regular-season appearances, lost his first regulation regular-season game since April 27, 2021, against Boston. Jarry began the game with a .943 save percentage and a 1.47 GAA.

Kasperi Kapanen had four assists in his first five games, but the Penguins aggressive winger had not lit the lamp. He didn’t get close on Tuesday.

Mikhail Segachev put an end to the suspense with an unassisted empty-net goal later in the third period. Penguins winger Jason Zucker broke the shutout (3) when he finished Jake Guentzel’s rebound with just over two minutes remaining.

And Alex Killorn (4) scored another empty netter

However, the Pittsburgh Penguins fourth line brought the crowd to its feet on multiple occasions with extended offensive zone time. Brian Boyle, Dominik Simon, and Lafferty didn’t earn the statistical praise, but the eyes told a different story.

Marino led the Penguins with five shots. Zach Aston-Reese set a career-high with 10 hits on Saturday. He led the Penguins with five hits Tuesday.

The Pittsburgh Penguins were one of the final six teams to have not lost in regulation.

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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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