– The Penguins look to take a 3-1 advantage in their opening-round series against Tampa Bay. Start time is 7:00 p.m. on Root Sports.
– The Penguins are 21-24 all-time in Game 4’s with a 13-13 mark on the road. They have won five of their past six Game 4s.
During that span (Previous six Game 4’s), goaltender Marc Andre Fleury has posted a 5-1 record with a 2.34 GAA and .927 save percentage
All-time in Game 4’s, Fleury is 6-5 with a 2.20 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are 4-5 all-time in Game 4’s and 0-4 at home in Game 4’s.
– The Penguins will be without the services of Chris Kunitz who received a one game suspension for his elbow on Lightning forward Simon Gagne in Game 3.. Eric Tangradi is expected to replace Tangradi in the lineup.
Like Kunitz, Steve Downie will sit out Game 4 due to his antics in Game 3. Blair Jones is expected to step into the lineup for Downie.
– The Lightning have some injury concerns surrounding Ryan Malone whose bothered by a shoulder injury and still recovering from a groin injury that sidelined him for several months. There has been some question about his availability but he’s expected to give it a go.
Meanwhile, speculation has been rampant that Steven Stamkos is hampered by a minor injury. He did not participate in the Lightning’s optional skate but will play.
– This has been a hard hitting series but the team that has held the hit advantage is 0-3 so far in the series.
– Talk has centered around whether the Penguins can win this series without scoring a power play goal? As long as they keep getting timely goals from their roles players they can but the bigger concern might be stopping the Lightning on the power play.
The Penguins have given the Lightning 11 power play opportunities over the past 2 games.
Pittsburgh has killed off 7 of 11 penalties (63.6%). Since the 2010 post-season, Pittsburgh has given up 16 power play goals in 54 opportunites, a span of 16 playoff games.
The Penguins are 0-for-15 on the power play through three games. Pittsburgh is 0-13 in 5-on-4 situations; 0-1 in 5-on-3 situations and 0-1 in 4-on-3 situations.
In their last 6 games, Pittsburgh is 6-for-81 on the man advantage.
A notable stat: winger James Neal has 0 power play goals in 23 games with Pittsburgh and 0 power play goals in his last 35 games, overall.
The Penguins, as expected, are relying heavily on their top-4 defenseman. Zbynek Michalek leads all Penguins in ice time with 25:48 minutes. Pittsburgh’s top-four of Michalek (25:48 minutes), Kris Letang (24:43), Paul Martin (22:52) and Brooks Orpik (22:36) are each averaging better than 22 minutes a game.
Of the four, Orpik has been dominant in the series, tied for a team lead with three points, team-high seven blocked shots and 2nd on the team with 11 hits.
Kris Letang’s 3 assists in the series also tie him for the team lead in points with Orpik and Arron Asham.
By the Numbers
*Kris Letang’s 24 career postseason points rank fourth all-time in franchise history among defensemen behind Larry Murphy (72 points), Sergei Gonchar (44 points) and Paul Coffey (26 points). He is two points away from tying Coffey for third place in franchise history.
*The highest scoring Penguin in the post-season history projected to be in the lineup tonight is Max Talbot whose 13th in franchise history with 14 goals, 16 assists for 30 points. Talbot is one point away from tying Joey Mullen for 12th place in frachise history. Talbot has 14 career playoff goals in 62 games.
*Alex Kovalev is one point away from his 100th career playoff point. He has 99 points in 119 playoff games. With the Penguins, Kovalev has 12 goals and 17 assists in his career in the playoffs.
*Goaltender Marc Andre Fleury is one shutout away from tying Tom Barrasso’s franchise record.
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