Morning Buzz: Roloson stymies Pens Again
The Pittsburgh Penguins (11-5-3, 25pts) outshot Tampa Bay Lightning 34-18 but goaltender Dwayne Roloson stymied the Penguins once again.
Roloson made 33 saves, and Vincent Lecavalier had two goals and the Lightning beat the Penguins 4-1 on Thursday night, extending their home winning streak to six games.
“There’s no way you can beat that team if the goaltender is not at his best,” Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said after the game. “They’ve got everything, basically. We’ve got to play almost perfect defensively.”
Roloson has won four straight versus Pittsburgh dating back to Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series last post-season. During that span, he has stopped 127 of 132 shots he faced.
He was sharp once again against the Penguins, who had no issues in getting pucks behind the Lightning’s 1-3-1 trap.
Brett Connolly and Steve Downie also scored for the Lightning, who have now won eight of their last twelve games.
Pittsburgh got a third-period goal from Tyler Kennedy, his second of the year and first since returning from a concussion.
Power Play Struggles: Coming into the game ranked 5th in the NHL on the power play, the Penguins were 0-for-7 on the man-advantage in the loss. It was a night highlighted by the Penguins inability to capitalize on a 5-on-3. The Penguins were unable to get many high percentage shots during the 5-on-3 and of note, Kris Letang was off on nearly every one-timer pass to Evgeni Malkin, not getting the puck on Malkin’s stick in an ideal situation, a set play the Penguins lean towards when up two skaters on the power play.
Overall, Pittsburgh’s struggles to finish plays in around the net on the power play was their downfall vs Tampa.
Not to pin anything on him, but for as good as Steve Sullivan has been on the power play as a playmaker and zone presence, he doesn’t get enough on his shot to be a shooting option down low on the left side in around the net. He’s been unable to finish on several opportunities, that hurt the Penguins tonight, and it might be more than just bad luck.
The Penguins should look to get Tyler Kennedy a little more playing time in that spot down low. Kennedy scored seven power play goals last season. He had just 1:24 of ice time on the power play vs Tampa.
Road Woes? The Penguins have now lost four of their last five road games and have a 5-4-2 road record on the season.
Streaks End: James Neal’s seven game points streak came to an end……Evgeni Malkin’s points streak ends at three games….
By The Numbers
27: Career goals Vincent Lecavalier has against Pittsburgh. Lecavalier netted his 7th and 8th goals of the season in the victory. Levavalier was 12-for-21 (57.1%) on draws, leading Tampa Bay with 12 faceoff wins.
1-for-19: The Penguins on the power play in their last three games.
4: The number of consecutive games the Penguins have given up the first goal.
5: Pittsburgh has outshot its opponent five games in a row. They have a 3-2 record during that stretch.
8: The Penguins have collected 32 or more shots on goal in eight straight games.
10: The number of power play goals (10-33, 30.3%) Tampa Bay has scored in their last 8 games vs Pittsburgh dating back to Game 1 of last years playoff series. The Lightning were 2-for-6 on the man-advantage in Thursday’s 4-1 win.
1:42: The amount of ice time for enforcer Steve MacIntyre who had just 3 shifts in the game. MacIntyre has appeared in five games this season and has never played more than 5:10 in a game.
34-18-4: The Penguins record in their last 60 games without Sidney Crosby
— Defenseman Zbynek Michalek injured on October 22nd, is on the mend and could be cleared to play by late next week. Michalek (broken finger) went through his first practice with his teammates on Thursday and due to the type of injury, Michalek has been able to skate for weeks and go through normal cardio to stay in hockey shape. Once he receives clearance from doctors, he will go right back in the lineup.
— A team source says Sidney Crosby did not have a special appointment with his team of doctors before the Penguins left for their road trip, in regards to getting clearance to play on this trip. As of Thursday, he hasn’t been officially ruled out for Saturday night, for what it’s worth.
— Richard Park was a healthy scratch for the first time since October 8th. He had played in the Penguins previous 16 games.
— Alexandre Picard was a minus (-1) for the first time in five games with the Penguins. Picard came into the game with a +4 rating in four games.