The Tampa Bay Lighting came into Pittsburgh with a minor league roster and defeated Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4. Petr Sykora tied the game at 3-3 midway through the third period and Sidney Crosby put the Penguins up 4-3 late in the third period. Crosby‚Äôs shorthanded tally wasn‚Äôt enough as Tampa Bay’s Brandon Bochenski sent the game to overtime and the Lightnig won in a shootout 5-4. For Inside Analysis on tonight‚Äôs game read more.
Tonight‚Äôs game was a very physical one and the Lightning came to play. They showed a lot of tenacity and were not scared to mix things up.
The big news of the night was Sergei Gonchar leaving the game with an injury. I received an email early in the second period that he suffered a shoulder injury. I haven‚Äôt heard anything since.
Jordan Staal played well and got the Penguins on the board 51 seconds into the game. Staal had numerous chances throughout the game and could have ended up with 3-4 pts tonight. He is getting very comfortable on wing and is playing with a new brand of confidence. The special work he put in the off-season is paying off right now. Staal’s linemate Petr Sykora had two goals on the night and is primed for a 30 goal season
Crosby‚Äôs line was making things happen. Pascal Dupuis had some nice plays in the offensive zone but couldn‚Äôt bury. Satan continues to show he will score a lot of goals around the net. The biggest difference between Hossa and Satan will be the skating ability of both players. Satan does not have the wheels anymore to be a dominant one-on-one player. He will be most effective moving the puck very quick in the neutral zone and letting Crosby set him up in the slot and around the net.
Border Line Players
Jeff Taffe was strong in the defensive zone. He has really improved his game in that department
Bill Thomas was effective on the fore-check. I was talking to a source tonight who said Thomas reminds Therrien of Chris Thorburn. He is getting strong consideration to make this team
Janne Pesonen was moving his feet well tonight. He had a power play goal but it was disallowed. He is gradually showing some improvement every day. Tonight wasn‚Äôt a great barometer because ¬æ of the Lightning lineup were minor leaguers.
Ryan Stone was working hard and throwing the body around. The past two days he is playing like a player who knows his job is on the line. He also got in fight although it seemed like he didn‚Äôt really want to drop the gloves. What stood out to me was his back-checking.
The Penguins have been very high on the play of Kris Beech since camp opened up. The issue with him is his speed. He just doesn‚Äôt have the speed to be successful in the NHL
I will give some praise to Eric Godard in tonight‚Äôs report. The guy can‚Äôt play at all but he will stand up for his teammates. He had a great fight with Dave Koci. What was good to see from him was he‚Äôs always trying to stir things up. He was sticking players all game. Even putting a stick into talented players like Stamkos. That is good to see.
Alex Goligoski made the most of his opportunity. When Sergei Gonchar went out of the game, Goligoski‚Äôs ice time increased. He was solid on the breakout and was moving the puck very well. On the powerplay he showed a lot of confidence carry the puck into the zone but he was tentative to shoot the puck. He will get better at that once he becomes more accustomed to playing with stars like Crosby and Malkin
Ben Lovejoy had some difficulties moving the puck tonight. His passes were off and some of it might have been nerves. He is among a few players the Penguins are showcasing. More on that in tomorrows report
Brooks Orpik was in top form tonight hitting anything that moved. He is becoming a leader on the ice and the front runner to named an Alternate captain
More to Come