Tampa Bay 5 – Pittsburgh 3
The Pittsburgh Penguins (5-4-1) scored three first period goals but were unable to put together a sixty minute game and slow down the Tampa Bay Lightning (6-2-1) and Martin St. Louis.
St. Louis scored two third period goals and added an assist, leading Tampa Bay to a 5-3 victory over the Penguins at the St. Pete Times Forum.
St. Louis took over in the third period, breaking open a 3-3 tie with a great individual play, blowing past defenseman Ben Lovejoy and avoiding a Marc Andre Fleury poke check and lifting the puck over Fleury to give the Lightning a 4-3 lead at 6:40 mark of the period. St. Louis added an empty net goal with 31 seconds left to seal the victory.
Pittsburgh had control of the game, leading 3-1 mid-way through the first period, chasing goaltender Mike Smith from the net.
Role players fueled the offensive surge for the Penguins as Pittsburgh scored two shorthanded goals on the same power play in a span of 1:01 and veteran forward Craig Adams had a three point (1G-2A) period.
The Penguins though was unable to put the Lightning away when they had the chance.
A turning point in the first period was Tampa Bay killing off a Sean Bergenheim interference penalty at the 16:05 mark and momentum was quickly on Tampa Bay’s side as Teddy Purcell scored 35 seconds later to cut the Penguins lead to 3-2 with 3:20 remaining in the first.
Tampa Bay scored on their first shot of the game, a Dana Tyrell goal just 2:51 into the first period and Marc Andre Fleury’s play early on was poor.
The Penguins inability to put Tampa Bay away when the had them on the ropes and Fleury’s shaky play in the first period, plagued the Penguins in the loss.
Fleury made 26 saves in the loss to fall to 1-4 on the season. Dan Ellis who replaced Mike Smith in the first period, made 24 saves on 24 shots to earn the win.
Pittsburgh’s goal scorers were Craig Adams (1), Matt Cooke (2) and Pascal Dupuis (2). The last time Craig Adams had a three point game was on December 13, 2005, while playing for the Carolina Hurricanes.
NHL points leader Steven Stamkos was quiet in the goal scoring department but had three assists in the game. Stamkos and St. Louis combined for six points in the win.
Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, combined for just one assist. Crosby assisted on Pascal Dupuis first period tally as Malkin was pointless.
The shots were even 31-31. Pittsburgh was 0-for-5 on the power play.
The Penguins finished their three game road trip 1-1-1 and host the Philadelphia Flyers Friday night at the Consol Energy Center. Pittsburgh is 1-1 against the Flyers this season.