PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Penguins got off to another poor start and unlike Game 1, the Lightning capitalize scoring 2 goals on their first 3 shots and collecting 3 first period goals on just 8 shots.
The Penguins were undisciplined and haunted by defensive breakdowns as a Kris Letang pinch led to an Eric Brewer 2-on-1 goal just minutes into the game.
Letang who had an awful game was then beat in front of the net by Vincent Lecavalier who gave the Lightning a 2-0 lead before the 7 minute mark.
Pittsburgh fell to Tampa Bay 5-1. The series is tied, 1-1.
Letang was among several key Penguins to have woeful games and what was mind boggling of the Penguins performance in Game 2 was how emotional they played in a bad way.
With emotions brewing after the Penguins were called for just 1 penalty in game 1, the Penguins had to know some calls were going to go against them early on and for some reason they looked like an inexperience team taking several retaliation penalties.
On a night when the Penguins needed Marc Andre Fleury to be dominant due to how bad they played in front of him, he wasn’t and gave up poor goals due to bad angles and poor rebound control.
Fleury made 16 saves on 20 shots in the loss.
A 3-0 first period hole was something the Penguins were not going to be able to overcome but the Penguins changed momentum in the second period playing dominant hockey for a 10-12 minute sequence in the period.
The 4th line was a factor once again and Arron Asham drove to the net and Craig Adams put home a rebound for his first playoff goal at 9:08 of the period.
Following Adam’s goal, the Penguins just kept pushing the play and the Consol Energy Center was rocking. The feeling in the arena was that if the Penguins would get one more goal before the end of the period, Pittsburgh was going to win the game.
The Penguins undisciplined play though would come back to haunt them and a Brooks Orpik cross checking penalty with 21 seconds left in the second period, which appeared to be a retaliation penalty by Orpik on Dominic Moore, took the life out of the Penguins as Marty St. Louis scored 7 seconds later on a poor angle from Fleury.
That did the Penguins in and all of the momentum they began to built in the second period was lost going into the third.
From an individual standpoint, Pittsburgh got awful performances from the likes of Kris Letang, Paul Martin, Jordan Staal (minus-3) and Marc Andre Fleury.
When that amount of the Penguins core players are having an off-night, Pittsburgh is going to come up on the losing end in a big way.
The Penguins were 0-7 on the power play and 0-for-13 in the series.
Despite peppering 36 shots on Dwayne Roloson, they didn’t get enough traffic in front and crash the net.
The Lightning’s big guns came to play: Lecavalier, St. Louis and Simon Gagne combined for 2 goals and 4 assists in the victory.
Eric Brewer was a force, collecting a goal and 2 assists. He was also very strong defensively.
We will see Monday night if Game 2 was a wakeup call for the Penguins. An easy fix for the Penguins is just getting back to the basics defensively.
“Don’t give up 2-on-1s, really,” defenseman Brooks Orpik said. “We kind of left Fleury out to dry and then a power-play goal where we didn’t cover the guy in front….. It’s not really too complicated.”
Game 3 is Monday night in Tampa Bay.
Game 2 Notes
The Lightning have won their last four Game 2’s in the postseason, all coming after a loss in the series opener
Lightning defenseman Eric Brewer scored his first playoff goal since April 17, 2003.
18,507 fans were in attendance. A franchise record for the Penguins.