After losing two straight games, the Pittsburgh Penguins have now won two straight as they took down the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-3, on Monday night. The return of reigning Hart Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin was a nice surprise the Penguins received Monday morning, as he passed his ImPACT test and helped lift the Penguins to victory.
Chris Kunitz continued his campaign for the Art Ross trophy in the first period when he took a pass from Sidney Crosby in the slot and slapped it past Mathieu Garon to put Pittsburgh up 1-0. The game started off very physical with Deryk Engelland getting a piece of B.J. Crombeen, followed by Pierre-Cedric Labrie retaliating with a hit on Engelland. At that time, Engelland and Labrie decided to throw down, and both went off for five minutes. The Penguins went into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead on the scoreboard and an 11-7 lead in shots.
Tampa Bay woke up in the second period, and tied the game at one in less than three minutes. Steven Stamkos rose when he storm to the net and tipped in a Victor Hedman shot for his sixteenth goal of the year. The Lightning would later take a 2-1 after Tom Pyatt scored one of the weirdest goals you will see. Nate Thompson was the person who took the actual shot, but it would deflect off of Pyatt’s head and flutter over Marc-Andre Fleury to give Tampa the lead. As the second period came to a close, Tampa Bay led 2-1, but Pittsburgh had the edge in shots, 20-19.
The third period was almost the opposite of the second, with the Penguins answering the call this time around. Less than six minutes into the period, Evgeni Malkin put in his entry for goal of the year when he picked off an Eric Brewer pass then split Brewer and Matt Carle to beat Anders Lindback, who replaced an injured Garon in the second period, to remind us that he is still the MVP. Not to be outdone, Crosby then led a breakout and dished a pass to Kris Letang. Letang would carry the puck behind the net and find an uncover Crosby, who beat Lindback for his eleventh goal of the season and to put Pittsburgh back on top, 3-2. The seemed to be wrapped up after James Neal potted the empty netter, but the Lightning wouldn’t go quietly. With eight seconds left in the game, Stamkos scored his second goal of the game on a somewhat questionable deflection (it was reviewed and called a good goal) to bring Tampa within one of the lead. However, the Penguins would hold off the Lightning in the final .4 seconds for the 4-3 victory.
The Penguins have the next two days off from game-action before they hit the road again for another two-game trip beginning on Thursday night in Philadelphia for a 7:00 p.m./et puck drop with the Flyers.
-Chris Kunitz is in the midst of a career-best six-game point streak. It’s Chris Kunitz’s world, and we’re just living in it.
-Before the game, Zach Boychuk was placed on waivers and Beau Bennett was sent back down to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The demotion of Bennett may be a temporary move to free up a roster spot and see what happens with Boychuk.
1. Sidney Crosby (1 goal, 1 assist)
2. Evgeni Malkin (1 goal, 1 assist)
3. Steven Stamkos (2 goals)