NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh
(Thursday, March 20th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 4, Tampa Bay 2
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Evgeni Malkin posted a goal and an assist, as the Pittsburgh Penguins doubled up the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-2, at Mellon Arena.
Jarkko Ruutu, Jordan Staal and Petr Sykora also scored for the Penguins, who have won four of their last five games. Marc-Andre Fleury made 19 saves for his 14th win of the season.
"It was big, we were not happy with the way we played in the first two periods," Ruutu said about the two goals in the third period. "We were playing sloppy and it's not acceptable. We have to learn that the little things make a difference. We could have buried them early on in the 1st period, we didn't do it. Those are things we talk about."
Pittsburgh also moved into a tie with idle New Jersey for first place in the Atlantic Division with 91 points -- good for second in the Eastern Conference behind Montreal, whose win over Boston on Thursday puts the Canadiens at 92 points.
Filip Kuba registered a goal and an assist for the Lightning, who were coming off Wednesday's 7-4 debacle against Buffalo in which they surrendered six third-period goals to blow a 4-1 lead. Vincent Lecavalier also scored and Jussi Jokinen collected two assists, while Mike Smith allowed four goals on 23 shots in defeat.
"Last night, we played two good periods, obviously the third didn't go the way we wanted," Lecavalier said. "We stuck to the positive and I thought we defended well for two periods. The chances we gave them were pretty good ones and they took advantage."
The Penguins jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Ruutu's fourth tally of the season. Maxime Talbot threaded a rink-wide pass to Brooks Orpik, who uncoiled a low, hard slap shot from the right point that Smith kicked out with the right pad.
Ruutu followed up the play and buried the juicy rebound in the back of the net, while being chopped in the face by Dan Boyle, with 5:40 remaining in the first period. Boyle was called for high sticking on the play, but the Penguins couldn't convert on the ensuing power play.
Tampa Bay tied the score on the power play at 4:18 of the second, as Lecavalier ripped a shot past Fleury for his 40th marker of the season.
Malkin's 42nd tally of the season restored the lead for Pittsburgh with 9:55 remaining in the frame. The Russian phenom corralled Ryan Whitney's pass at the left side of the net and lifted a backhander on goal that was blocked by a sliding Kuba, but the puck came back to Malkin, who roofed the disc high over a fallen Smith.
The Penguins tallied twice in the opening minute of the third period to grab a three-goal lead. Thirty-five seconds into the stanza, Staal cradled a bouncing puck and buried it behind Smith, who was out of position. Sykora then lit the lamp 16 seconds later, as he took a feed from Malkin in slot and snapped a wrister through the legs of Smith to extend Pittsburgh's margin to 4-1.
Shortly after his goal, Sykora was assessed a two-minute minor for slashing and Tampa Bay wasted little time on the man advantage, as Kuba buried a shot behind Fleury at the 1:51 mark.
The Penguins won the season series (3-1-0) for the first time since the 2002-03 campaign. Prior to this season, Pittsburgh had lost 12 straight to the Lightning...Tampa Bay lost in the Steel City for the first time since November 2, 2002...Pittsburgh has won four in a row on home ice and have earned at least a point in seven straight home games (5-0-2)...Tampa Bay's Martin St. Louis appeared in the 600th game of his NHL career...With his assist on Ruutu's goal, Talbot equaled his career high in points (24)...Tampa Bay finished 2-for-5 on the power play. Pittsburgh went 0-for-2...Tampa Bay falls to 0-23-2 when trailing after two periods.
03/21 00:05:01 ET