Not only have the Tampa Bay Lightning been playing games consistently lately, they’d been winning a very high percentage of them. After a ten day absence, they were back at it on the road in Pittsburgh, facing a stiff opponent in the Penguins.
For the Lightning, rust was probably the main concern coming off a lengthy absence due to All Star and bye-week breaks.
Fortunately for the Bolts they dictated the pace and had the puck on a string in the early minutes. That’s what made it all the more frustrating when Riley Sheahan got the Penguins on the board first. Andrei Vasilevskiy lost his footing slightly and Sheahan tucked in a rebound to make it 1-0.
Tougher Few Minutes
As the period wore on, the Lightning’s rust became more apparent. Two turnovers and two goals against in just sixteen seconds. Dan Girardi was the culprit on the first goal by Phil Kessel. Sidney Crosby made it 3-0 a Brayden Point turnover behind the net.
Despite a solid overall period, where the Bolts outshot Pittsburgh 16-5 and outhit them 23-16, their poor puck management had them in a big hole.
Slowing the Bleeding
After surrendering the 3-0 lead, the Lightning had some good shifts in which they were able to establish a little momentum. However, the majority of the second period was controlled by the Penguins. Kris Letang gave Pittsburgh a four goal lead on a feed from Kessel. Following the goal, the Bolts were able to create a few shifts of solid zone time but seemed to lose their legs in the latter half of a period they were outshot 10-6 in.
Too Little Too Late
Tampa Bay continued to be physical in the third period and again controlled the pace. This time they were rewarded. JT Miller got the Lightning on the board, ending Matt Murray’s shutout bid. Unfortunately for the Lightning, though they dictated play through much of the period, this tally came with just 4:10 to play. Steven Stamkos made things interesting when he fired home a power play goal just over two minutes later. Ultimately, the Lightning fell short, and were unable to shake off the rust in a 4-2 loss in Pittsburgh.
Our Three Stars of the Game
- Matt Murray- Murray made 33 saves to keep this one out of reach most of the night.
- Kris Letang- Despite taking a beating from the Lightning, Letang recorded a goal and an assist.
- Phil Kessel- Kessel was dynamic, scoring a goal and adding an assist.
The Lightning will be in Long Island Friday night to take on the Islanders at 7PM.
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