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Malkin & Penguins complete season sweep of Lightning

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After dropping their last game in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings, the Pittsburgh Penguins found themselves on the winning side of the extra period of play, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-3.

The opening period saw little action with zero scoring, but did see former Penguin, Ryan Malone, deliver a somewhat controversial hit on Robert Bortuzzo. Malone was given a two-minute penalty for boarding, but the Penguins couldn’t cash on the man advantage. The first period ended with both teams scoreless, but Tampa led in shots, 8-6.

After a scoreless first period, the Penguins didn’t waste too much time changing the look of the scoreboard. About five and a half minutes into the second period, Sidney Crosby gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead after one-timing an Evgeni Malkin pass past Anders Lindback for his thirty-fourth goal of the season, and eleventh on the power play. The Lightning answered back later in the period when Marcel Goc got whistled for interfering with Michael Kostka. On the ensuing power play, Valterri Filppula kept his scoring streak alive with a snap shot that beat Jeff Zatkoff to tie the game at one. The second frame ended with the Penguins and Lightning tied at one, and the Penguins led in shots, 13-8.

Through two periods, only two goals were scored between Pittsburgh and Tampa. However, the third period saw the offense get kicked up a notch. The scoring didn’t pick up until about halfway through the period when Steven Stamkos gave Tampa a 2-1 lead when he found a loose puck and shoveled it behind Zatkoff for his twentieth goal in only his twenty-sixth game. Following Stamkos’ goal to give the Lightning the lead, Evgeni Malkin stepped up and took over. At 11:07, Malkin gave Pittsburgh their second power play goal of the day with a chip shot over the pad of Lindback off a point shot from Matt Niskanen to tie the game at two. About five minutes later, Malkin gave the Penguins the lead when he beat Lindback with a wicked backhand shot following a turnover created by Jussi Jokinen in the Tampa Bay zone. After losing the lead in a five minute span, Tampa refused to lie down. With less than two minutes remaining in regulation, Ondrej Palat brought the Lightning back with his nineteenth goal of the year. Palat absolutely owned Olli Maatta on his way to the net. The third period came to a close with the score tied at three.

The overtime period was a short one. A little over a minute into the period, the Lightning were called for too many men on the ice, which was served by Michael Kostka. Seconds later, James Neal ended the game with a one-timer off a pass from Malkin to give Pittsburgh the 4-3 victory.

The Penguins have no time to bask in their victory as they welcome the St. Louis Blues to Consol Energy Center for another 1:00 pm/et puck drop (Root Sports, FS-MW, NHL Network).

Notes:

-Jeff Zatkoff registered his first point of his NHL career with a secondary assist on the Crosby goal in the second period.

-Valterri Filppula’s point-scoring streak is now at eight games.

-Lightning head coach, Jon Cooper, was not too happy about the too many men call in overtime.

Three stars:

1. PIT C Evgeni Malkin (2G, 2A)

2. PIT C Sidney Crosby (1G, 2A)

3. TBL C Steven Stamkos (1G, 1A)

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