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Insider Only STATS WATCH: Pens @ Lightning Pre-Game Buzz

Pittsburgh Penguins (11-4-3, 25 pts) @ Tampa Bay Lightning (8-7-2, 18 pts)

When: 7:38 pm | Where: Times Forum
TV: Root Sports
Countdown to Game Time
Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh face off for the first of four total meetings on the year. This is the first meeting between the clubs since the Bolts ousted the Penguins from the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in seven games. Last season the teams split four meetings, with the home side winning each of the two matchups in its respective arena. Tampa Bay is 19-14-2-0 all-time at home against the Penguins.
*The Penguins are likely to dress the same lineup tonight vs Tampa Bay but with the team on their fathers trip, there could be changes upfront. Marc Andre Fleury (10-2-1, 1.96 GAA .929 sv%) will get the start in goal and is 9-9-3 with a 2.37 goals against average and .914 save percentage in 23 career regular season games vs Tampa Bay.
Dwayne Roloson is tonight’s expected starter for Tampa. Roloson is 4-5-2 with a 3.34 goals against average and .893 save percentage in his career vs Penguins.
Fleury enters tonight’s game 7-0-1 in his last 8 starts and during that span has stopped 202 of 214 shots for a .944 save percentage. For the season, Fleury ranks second in the NHL with 10 wins and sixth (tied) with a 1.96 goals against average.
The Penguins enter tonight’s game with the leagues best penalty kill (49-52) unit at 94.2% and Fleury has stopped all 41 shots he has faced on the penalty kill.
*James Neal comes into tonight’s game with a team leading 12 goals and 20 points. Neal has 10 goals at home and 2 goals on the road this season. Neal enters tonight’s game on a seven game points streak with 4 goals and 7 assists during the streak.
Has Jordan Staal (9G-5A-14Pts) been the Penguins best player this season? Staal enters tonight’s game with 8 goals in his last 11 games and ranks third (tied) in the NHL with a career-high 25.0% shooting percentage (9 goals on 36 shots). Staal has also been the Penguins most dominant defensive forward on the team. He currently leads the team in both takeaways (11) and and tied for the team lead with a plus-6.
*Evgeni Malkin (5G-9A-14Pts) enters tonight’s game with a three game points streak. Malkin ranks fourth in the NHL with a 1.27 PPG average.

*The Penguins enter tonight’s game with the 5th ranked power play (16-78, 20.5%
Last season the Penguins were the only NHL team that failed to record a win when trailing after two periods. Through the first 18 games of this season they already have two such wins following their 6-3 come from behind win vs. Colorado on Tuesday night.
*The Penguins have outshot its opponent four games in a row by an average margin of 34.5 to 24.8. They have a 3-1 record during that stretch.
TB LAST GAME
The Lightning fell for the second straight game, dropping a 5-2 contest to the Winnipeg Jets Monday night. Martin St. Louis and Steven
Stamkos had goals for the Bolts, who went 0-6 on the PP and 1-2 on the PK. Dwayne Roloson started in net but was pulled after allowing four goals on 22 shots in 32 minutes of action. Mathieu Garon stepped in and stopped 16 of 17 shots faced on the night.
LIGHTNING STORYLINES
Despite dropping two straight, Tampa Bay comes into tonight having won seven of its past 11 games…The Lightning are currently riding
a five-game home win streak and have won all but one game played at the Times Forum this season…The Bolts come in with the top ranked home power play in the Eastern Conference at 26.3 percent, which also ranks second overall among all 30 NHL clubs.
Stamkos Struggles vs Pens
Entering tonight’s game, Steven Stamkos has 130 career goals in 260 games (0.5 avg. per game), including a NHL-high 107 since the
beginning of the 2009-10 season. However, he has just three goals in 12 career regular-season games. The fewest number of goals he’s scored against any Eastern Conference opponent.
Projected Lineups
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Steve Sullivan – Evgeni Malkin – James Neal
Chris Kunitz – Jordan Staal – Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke – Richard Park – Tyler Kennedy
Arron Asham – Joe Vitale – Craig Adams
Brooks Orpik – Kris Letang
Paul Martin – Deryk Engelland
Alex Picard – Matt Niskanen
Marc-Andre Fleury in goal
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Martin St. Louis – Vincent Lecavalier – Brett Connolly
Steve Downie – Steven Stamkos – Teddy Purcell
Ryan Shannon – Dominic Moore – Adam Hall
Tom Pyatt – Nate Thompson – Blair Jones
DEFENSEMEN
Victor Hedman – Eric Brewer
Marc-Andre Bergeron – Pavel Kubina
Brett Clark – Matt Gilroy
Dwayne Roloson in goal

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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