Penguins Stars Shine in Tampa

By on December 10, 2016

Tampa, Fla. –  Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin had two goals each as the Penguins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3.  They also had six minutes in penalties (Crosby two and Malkin four).

The Penguins came into Amalie Arena tonight struggling on the power play at 15th in the league.  Both Malkin’s lamp lighters and one of Crosby’s came on the man advantage.

Evegeni Malkin was the first Penguin to fire a shot on Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, which kind of foreshadowed the night it would be.

The first penalty of the game was against the Lightning, compliments of Nikita Nesterov for holding. The Penguins had the man advantage at 4:43 in the first period. The Penguins only managed to get one shot off on their first power play, and heads up play by Killorn, Johnson and Stralman afforded the Lightning a really good short handed scoring chance.  It looked like the struggles on the man up would continue for Pittsburgh.

 The Lightning looked strong through the first ten minutes but after a fight between Nikita Kucherov and Trevor Daley, the momentum went to the Penguins. There was a defensive breakdown by the Lightning and at 12:03 in the first Sid the Kid wristed one by Andrei Vasilevskiy, the help came from Brian Dumoulin and Kris Letang.

 It was very evident that the Pittsburgh Penguin fans filled the stands as the crowd erupted with cheering when the goal was scored. As the Rocket always says “visiting team determines the draw.” Andrei Vasilevskiy had his work cut out for him tonight, with the roar of the visiting fans and the rapid fire from Pittsburgh. The Penguins were sitting comfortable in their offensive zone.

 At 16:07 in the first with a little help from above Evgeni Malkin inadvertently commits a four minute high sticking penalty on Jonathan Drouin. It was a double edged sword for Drouin, a little cut to the face resulting in a power play goal! After the goal was scored Drouin made his way to the Lightning bench to have his wound attended to at 17:57 in the first period. Very reminiscent of the corner cut man at boxing match. Anton Stralman, along with Nikita Kucherov assisted in the goal. The man advantage continued momentarily, but Alex Killorn committed a two minute tripping minor to end the power play and bring on some four on four hockey for the remainder of the period.

 The second period began with the Penguins on the man advantage but it was short lived as Captain Sidney Crosby committed a two minute slashing minor at 1:01 in the second. The Lightning couldn’t seem to get anything started on the power play, they were getting worked in the corners and beat to the puck all around their offensive zone.

 Just as the man advantage wound down at 16:22 the Finnish Valtteri Filppula rode the puck down the ice and wristed it by Matthew Murray.  The Lightning go ahead 2-1 and the home fans rise above the Pittsburgh fans.

The match-up was heated and the shot count was most definitely in the favor of the Penguins. At the end of the second period the Pens were out-shooting the Bolts 26-14.  Andrei Vasilevskiy was holding his own and giving the boys in Blue a chance to earn 2 points. Jonathan Drouin scored his second goal of the night at 10:19 in the second by fighting for position on the puck as he sped down the ice. Jason Garrison was on the assist.  The house was on fire with tesla coils and goal horns.  Now the Lightning are up by two goals and playing well.  This is the point of the game where the Pittsburgh stars asserted themselves.

 Andrej Sustr of the Lightning committed a two minute minor for holding at 15:52 in the second, another challenge for the penalty killing squad. The odds were stacked against the Lightning with the shot count 24-13 Evgeni Malkin scored the Penguins second goal of the game on the power play, the assist from Phil Kessel and Kris Letang. Now that’s a dream line-up.

The third period was an opening show case for the talented power play unit of the Pittsburgh Penguins as Kessel, Malkin, Letang and Crosby as they took the ice on a two minute minor penalty committed by Nikita Nesterov at 3:41. It only took about :40 into the man advantage for Pittsburgh to wear down the penalty kill unit of the Lightning and notch their third goal of the game to tie the score three. It was Sidney Crosby’s second goal of the evening, and twentieth of the season, assists to Kessel and Letang.  The Penguins had the whole :40 of offensive zone time and the Lightning penalty kill was gassed.

 Cedric Paquette received a game misconduct and fighting penalty, along with Braydon Coburn’s hooking penalty at 8:25 in the third, that lead to the go ahead goal for the Penguins at 8:36. It didn’t take the Penguins long, as Evgeni Malkin muscled one by Vasilevskiy. With just about eight minutes left in the game the Bolts were at one goal deficit, when they were leading by two halfway through the second period.  The Lightning make their way to the Great White North as they will take on Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton and then return home to host Detroit December 20th.

 Listen for me on the show Mondays 1p – 4p ET and follow me on twitter @breezygarden45


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