PITTSBURGH — The sense from the Lightning players is that Game 1 was a more balanced game than some in the media are letting on.
Even Penguins forward Max Talbot pointed that out on Thursday as Talbot said if the Lightning were to get that first goal early on it would have been a much different game.
“There were enough scoring chances,” Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said. “We know we’re encountering an amazing goaltender, who can win a game by himself. But we also know there’s a lot of instances where our guys weren’t in the right place to make something happen.”
Lightning forward Dominic Moore celebrating what he thought was a first period goal when the puck was laying right in front of the net is one of those instances Boucher was likely pointing out as guys not being in the right place.
Going into game 2, a major concern for the Lightning was how Pittsburgh’s punishing style wore them down as game 1 progressed and upfront the Penguins were able to neutralize the Lightning’s top unit of Steven Stamkos.
Don’t be surprised to see some changes with Stamkos wingers.
In Game 1 Boucher ran three scoring lines using Ryan Malone for the most part on the third line. Stamkos and Gagne lacked a player to create them space and be a front net presence.
The vibe out of Lightning circles is that Malone will see a more prominent role on that line to help combat Brooks Orpik who pushed that line around.
The Penguins for one are expecting adjustments from Tampa Bay, not just with lines but with tweaks to their system.
The Penguins scouting department heavily scouted the Lightning coming into the series and the Penguins coaching staff appears prepared for some different things that won’t surprise them, Bylsma hinted at on Thursday.
Lightning forward Marty St. Louis will play after having a double root canal following Wednesday’s game. St. Louis had just 2 shots on goal and said that he let his emotions get the best of him.
“I’ve moved on. “It’s an emotional game, ” St. Louis said. “At a certain point in time, you get to a boiling point I guess.”
“I’m not going to let my emotions get the better of me and hurt my team,” St. Louis said. “We’ve talked among ourselves. We know what we have to rectify. And I know we’ll come out and play a strong game.”
Tonight is a pivotal game for Tampa Bay. A loss and Pittsburgh takes a commanding 2-0 series that the Lightning will be difficult to overcome.