Penguins snap losing streak
Pascal Dupuis (17) and Sergei Gonchar (10) each scored third period goals and Marc Andre Fleury made 21 saves leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday afternoon.
The win snapped Pittsburgh’s two game road losing streak and Pittsburgh improved to 22-6-3 in one goal games.
Pittsburgh dodged a bullet early in the game when Lightning winger Steve Downie took out Sidney Crosby’s knee’s and Crosby immediately went down awkwardly and was in serious pain.
Crosby though returned to action shortly after, recording an assist on Sergei Gonchar’s game winning goal.
Crosby indicated after the game that he was lucky the ice was fresh and that his blade did not get caught in the ice.
Pittsburgh though did not leave the game unscathed. Evgeni Malkin suffered a right foot injury near the end of the second period after taking a slap shot off of his foot. Malkin did not return to the game in the third period.
Trailing 1-0, Pittsburgh took the game over in the third. Pascal Dupuis tied it up 2:20 into the third and Sergei Gonchar scored 2:57 later on the power play to give Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead.
Gonchar fired a slap shot past Lightning goaltender Antero Niittymaki from just inside the blue line while Bill Guerin and Alex Ponikarovsky provided a net-front presence causing a screen on Niittymaki.
Special teams came up big for Pittsburgh as the Penguins showed great puck movement in the third period on the power play and the penalty kill was 3-for-3 and killed off a Jordan Staal penalty with less than 4 minutes remaining in the game.
Pittsburgh was extremely aggressive on the penalty kill which has dictated their success under assistant coach Tony Granato this season.
Meanwhile, the Penguins power play was at its best with a top unit of Bill Guerin-Sidney Crosby-Alex Poniarovsky upfront and Jordan Leopold and Sergei Gonchar at the points.
Guerin was a presence in the slot and Ponikarovsky won a key battle on the boards, leading to Gonchar’s game winner.
The Penguins improved to 41-23-5 on the season and have moved 4 points ahead of the New Jersey Devils (83 pts) in the Atlantic Division. The Devils have two games in hand.
The Penguins will fly back to Pittsburgh this evening and travel to New Jersey on Tuesday afternoon. The Penguins are scheduled to practice on Monday.
1. Sergei Gonchar — PPG (10), 5 shots on goal
2. Sidney Crosby — 1 assist, 6 shots on goal
3. Antero Niittymaki — 37 saves
TB: 1. Vincent Lecavalier (20) Assists: Todd Fedoruk, Victor Hedman
PIT: 1. Pascal Dupuis (17) Assists: Jordan Staal, Matt Cooke; 2. Sergei Gonchar (10, Power Play) Assists: Sidney Crosby, Alexei Ponikarovsky.