The Tampa Bay Lightning come into CONSOL Energy Center on the heels of taking over first place in the Southeast Division as they defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 last night. The Lightning exploded for four third-period goals after going into the final frame down a goal.
The Penguins will be adjusting after losing last years NHL MVP, Evgeni Malkin to an “upper body injury.” Malkin was slammed into the boards behind Florida Panthers goalie, Jacob Markstrom. The Pens would still go on to defeat the Panthers 3-1 despite losing Geno.
“Hopefully it’s not too big of an adjustment. From watching Sid play a lot, hopefully I have a good feel for him and hopefully we get off to a quick start and build some chemistry.”
Keeping the puck out of their own net has been a problem for the Lightning this season. They are 23rd in goals against, having allowed three or more goals in seven of their last ten games.
Pittsburgh outscored Tampa Bay 12-3 in CONSOL Energy Center last season.
The Penguins come into tonight’s matchup second in the NHL in scoring, averaging 3.28 goals per game.
Tampa Bay has the highest-scoring offense in the league, scoring 3.88 goals per game on average.
The Lightning haven’t won in Pittsburgh since March 31, 2010. Since then they are 0-4-0 and have been outscored by the Pens 25-5.
Tampa Bay has allowed just four power-play goals on the road this season, while the Penguins have at least one power-play goal in each of their last ten games.
Martin St. Louis leads the NHL in assists (19).
Sidney Crosby has collected eight points in his past five games.
Chris Kunitz has registered at least a point in all but one of his past six games.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Penguins: Beau Bennett
With Evgeni Malkin missing tonight’s game, Bennett will likely receive an elevated role on the second line with Brandon Sutter and Pascal Dupuis. Bennett has been settling into his role on the team in his last couple games, coming within inches of scoring his first NHL goal on more than one occasion.
Lightning: Steven Stamkos
Stamkos leads all NHL players with 26 points and has been red-hot as of late, riding a five-game point streak with five goals and nine points during that span.
PROBABLE LIGHTNING LINES
PROBABLE PENGUINS LINES
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