By: Casey Johnston (@CaseyR82)
Last Game for the Penguins: Wednesday, a 6-5 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Chris Conner scored first for the Penguins before the Maple Leafs scored four times. Many fans wrote the Penguins off at this point, but the game was far from over. Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang scored to bring the Penguins to within one goal. Tyler Bozak scored with five seconds remaining in the second period to give the Maple Leafs a two-goal cushion. That would not be enough as James Neal and Evgeni Malkin both scored in the third period. The game went to a shootout where Jeff Zatkoff, in to relieve starter Marc-Andre Fleury, stopped both Maple Leafs shooters. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin sealed the comeback for the Penguins. Fleury and Zatkoff faced 24 total Maple Leaf shots while Jonathan Bernier faced 48 shots from the Penguins.
Last Game for the Lighting: Wednesday, a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. The Lightning got three goals, two from Victor Hedman and one from Ondrej Palat, before Vincent Lecavalier scored a power play goal against his former team. Mark Streit scored his first of the year to bring the Flyers to within one, but Tyler Johnson scored on an empty net less than a minute later to give the Lightning an insurance goal. Anders Lindback faced 21 Flyers shots while the Lightning threw 34 shots at Ray Emery.
Last Time These Two Teams Met: October 12, 2013. The Penguins defeated the Lightning 5-4. Valterri Filppula scored for the Lightning in the first period. The two teams would trade goals twice in the second period. The Lighting entered the third period leading 3-2 before Sidney Crosby scored twice in a ten minute span. Alex Killorn would tie the game for the Lighting at 16:58 on a power play goal. Matt Niskanen scored a power play goal of his own at 19:41 to give the Penguins the win. Crosby scored the eighth hat trick of his career. Marc-Andre Fleury faced 18 shots while 26 Penguin shots got through to Anders Lindback.
Last 10 Games for the Penguins: 5-4-1.
Last 10 Games for the Lightning: 5-4-1.
Story of the Game: Monday’s story of the game was the Penguins’ apparent lack of confidence and their inability to play well when trailing in a game. The last two games suggest a change in attitude for the team. While they lost the game against Boston, the Penguins did not let the Bruins scoring twice in two minutes get them down. Trailing with less than a second remaining did not stop the Penguins from attacking Tuukka Rask, scoring the tying goal and forcing overtime. Likewise, being down 4-1 and 5-3 against the Leafs did not hold the Penguins back from forcing overtime and a shootout.
Last season, the Penguins played a game against the Flyers in Philadelphia on March 7, 213. The Flyers went up 4-1 in the first period before the Penguins scored five unanswered goals. The win was the Penguins’ third in a row. They would go on to win their next 12 games, allowing only 13 goals in the process. This run included four shutouts. If you believe in history repeating itself, maybe this win against the Maple Leafs sparks a shift in the team’s attitude and they go on a nice little run.
Penguins All-Time Record Against the Lightning: 41-28-5-4.
Player to Watch on the Penguins: Evgeni Malkin has a six-game scoring streak against the Lighting where he has 16 points (10g-6).
Player to Watch on the Lightning: Martin St. Louis has a four-game scoring streak against the Penguins where he has six points, all assists.