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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, February 25th (All times eastern)

Pittsburgh Penguins (33-18-9) at Tampa Bay Lightning (35-25-3), 5 p.m.

(Sports Network) - Two of the hottest teams in the NHL over the past few months meet tonight in Tampa, as the Lightning welcome the Pittsburgh Penguins to St. Pete Times Forum.

The Penguins have been the best team in the NHL since the middle of January, posting an amazing 15-1-2 mark in their last 18 games. As a result, Pittsburgh comes into Sunday with 75 points and a hold on the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

Pittsburgh's latest triumph came in Thursday's overtime decision at Florida. Colby Armstrong's goal with 2:21 left in the extra session gave the Penguins a 2-1 win over the Panthers.

Jordan Staal also scored for Pittsburgh, which bounced back after having its 16-game (14-0-2) point streak snapped by the New York Islanders on Monday.

Jocelyn Thibault stopped 32 shots for the Penguins, which also got the 70th assist of the season from Sidney Crosby. The 19-year-old Crosby has registered a point in six straight games, notching one goal and nine helpers during that span.

Meanwhile, the Lightning are 16-4-1 in their last 21 tests and their 73 points on the year give them a one-point edge over Atlanta for the Southeast lead. Tampa also comes into Sunday as the third-place team in the Eastern Conference.

Tampa Bay did begin its three-game homestand on a down note Friday, as the Boston Bruins handed the Bolts a 6-2 setback. Brad Boyes scored two goals as the Bruins continued their domination of Tampa Bay with the 6-2 romp. Boston has won all four contests against the Lightning this season and has taken eight of the last nine games in the series.

Filip Kuba and Dan Boyle each scored a goal for the Lightning, who had won five of six coming into the game.

Marc Denis started the game in net, but was pulled after allowing two goals on seven shots. Johan Holmqvist finished the game in net and allowed four goals on 16 shots.

The Lightning are 17-14-0 as the home club this year.

The Penguins have lost all three games (0-1-2) against Tampa Bay this year and was swept in a home-and-home series by the Bolts on January 7 & 9. Tampa Bay has taken 11 straight against Pittsburgh, including five in a row on the home ice of St. Pete Times Forum.

02/25 10:50:42 ET


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