-Hey guess where we are:
-No. Not quite:
-Kudos to EN reader Dean Gethring for once again sending in an on-locale picture.
-The Penguins will look for a rebound tonight against the Lightning after being flattened by the Panthers last night. They'll do it with Marc-Andre Fleury in net. This game will be his best test of the young season thus far as the Lightning have quite a bit of firepower on offense. Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis are two of the best offensive forces in the NHL.
-There's no guarantee the Lightning will do it tonight, but they had former Penguins forward Ryan Malone on the left wing with St. Louis and Stamkos. Malone isn't as much of a physical force as he was when he had that strong line with Evgeni Malkin and Petr Sykora a few years ago, but he's a nice compliment as a net-front presence to Stamkos and St. Louis.
-We're eager to see Valtteri Filppula as the Lightning's No. 2 center. He was always kind of overshadowed by the likes of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk as well as others with the Red Wings. He has a slightly larger role with Tampa Bay. He's a very talented and versatile player.
-Goaltender Anders Lindback is scheduled to start in net for the Lightning. Like the goaltender the Penguins faced last night in Florida's Jacob Markstrom, Lindback is a 6-foot-6 Swede. But that's where the comparisons stop when it comes to the Penguins. Markstrom has a .920 save percentage against the Penguins in three career games against them. Lindback has an .821 save percentage in two career games against the Penguins.
-If you recall, Evgeni Malkin scored this dazzling goal against Lindback last season:
-The Lightning's other goaltender is 6-foot-7 Ben Bishop. Bishop, who is out tonight due to an injury, and Lindback are intriguing prospects due to their height but they haven't every really put it together when it comes to getting results at the NHL level. It's odd that Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman hasn't ever seemed to pursue a different option in net.
-Thursday, Dan Bylsma indicated that a goaltender's size doesn't really impact how his team approaches offense. He worries more about their individual tendencies. He did indicated that 10 or 15 years ago, the book on all big goaltenders was pretty much the same but the position and how it is evaluated has evolved.
-Speaking of tall, the Lightning have rookie defenseman Andrej Sustr (6-foot-8) in the lineup on the third pairing with Eric Brewer. Sustr was in the Penguins' rookie development camp as an invitee a few years ago. We're eager to see how he looks in a real NHL game.
-Deryk Engelland is expected to make his season debut tonight after being a healthy scratch for the first four games. He figures to replace Robert Bortuzzo who didn't have a strong game. That said, none of the Penguins defensemen looked like Norris Trophy candidates last night. Engelland can fight and the Lightning may have a few tough guys in the lineup in the form of Pierre-Cedric Labrie as well as B.J. Crombreen.
-We're eager to see Lightning defenseman Radko Gudos simply because of his intense beard:
(Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
-Another reader on-site spotted some sort of Josef Melichar jersey:
-The Penguins' starters are Craig Adams, Tanner Glass, Evgeni Malkin, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Robert Bortuzzo and James Neal.
-The Lightning's starters are Ryan Malone, Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Sami Salo and Anders Lindback.
-Its scratches are Keith Aulie, Mark Barberio and Ben Bishop.
19:56: Right off the opening faceoff, Craig Adams and Ryan Malone drop the gloves. They lock up at center ice and go at it fiercely. Malone uses his superior size to through some punches form a distance. Adams has a little success trying to fight from in tight. Ultimately, Adams takes a tumble and the fight is halted. Both players give each other a tap on the side in acknowledgement.
19:33: The Penguins' wounded penalty kill will get an early test as Chuck Kobasew is nabbed for interference against Stamkos. Pascal Dupuis, Brandon Sutter, Martin and Orpik take the ice.
18:44: Tyler Johnson whacks a slapper from the left circle. Fleury boots it out.
17:47: Sami Salo whips a wrister from the right point towards the cage whic his partially blocked.
17:35: St. Louis tees up a wild one-timer from the right circle which sails wide to the far side and ends up clearing the offensive zone. The Kobasew minor expires.
16:54: Off a faceoff win by the great Joe Vitale in the Lightning's right circle, Engelland booms a one-timer from the right point wide of the cage.
16:29: A sneaky one-timer by Filppula is blocked by Olli Maatta.
15:37: Off a feed by Sidney Crosby from the back of the net, Dupuis sweeps a one-timer on net from the slot. Lindback gets a piece of it.
15:32: Crosby has a chance with a loose puck in tight but Lindback's big right leg kicks it out.
14:37: Malkin hooks up Johnson in the Lightning' zone. Johnson falls to his knee with little resistance. Malkin is sent off for hooking. Crosby, Adams, Orpik and Martin take the ice.
13:14: Off a feed by Matt Carle, Radko Gudas booms a onetimer from above the left circle. Fleury stretches out and gloves it with a tough save.
12:31: As Malkin's penalty expires, Gudas whips a wrister from the left half wall which clanks off the side of the cage.
12:16: Off a dish by Crosby, Kunitz snaps off a wrister from the left circle. Lindback snags it.
11:26: Gudas slides a backhander form the left wing on net. Fleury steers it away.
10:48: After some strong work by Bennett down low to maintain possession of the puck, he deals a pass from the Tampa Bay end boards to Malkin in he right circle. Malkin then taps it to Jokinen in the slot but Malone does a nice job to tie up Jokinen's stick and prevents a clean shot.
9:50: After Fleury fumbles a puck behind his own net, Richard Panik has a chance in the left circle but his shot is blocked by a sliding Martin. Martin tries to play the puck out of danger with his hand. Play is halted. Martin is called for holding Panik. It's another power play for the Lightning. Rob Scuderi, Orpik, the great Joe Vitale and Adams take the ice.
9:19: Also booms a slapper from the right point. Fleury kicks it out.
7:50: The Martin minor is killed. Another strong effort by the Penguins.
7:43: Nate Thompson flings a wrister from the left half wall. Fleury kicks it out of play.
7:21: Off a feed from Crosby, Kunitz flings a blind backhander from the left circle. Lindback gets a piece of it.
6:35: The Lightning takes advantage of an icing call against the Penguins and strike first. From the left point Hedman deals a pass to Panik deep on the left wing wall. He one touches it to Killorn above the left circle. Killorn whacks a one-timer at the cage. Filppula is in front on a moving screen and deflects it just slightly behidn Fleury. A brief video review confirms the goal. The Penguins trail first for the second consecutive game. A missed pass by Engelland caused the icing. Killorn and Panik get assists. Lightning 1-0.
5:54: Kunitz has a chance with a puck in tight to the left of the cage but can't beat Lindback.
4:29: Malone air-mails a wrister from the neutral zone. Fleury kicks it out.
4:03: A slapper by Orpik from the left point hits Malone's stick and sails out of play.
3:38: Crosby whacks a backhander from the left circle wide of the cage.
3:22: Off a feed by Crosby, Dupuis booms a slapper from right circle. Lindback eats it up. Kunitz jabs at Lindback hoping for a rebound but no dice. Gudas takes exception and punches Kunitz in the shoulder. Officials cal him for roughing. The Penguins will get their first power play. Kunitz, Jokinen, Crosby, Martin and Niskanen take the ice.
3:00: Off a cross-ice pass from Crosby, Niskanen chops a one-timer from the left circle.
2:49: Crosby deals another cross-ice pass from the right half wall to Niskanen above the left circle. Niskanen's one-timer is blocked this time.
2:09: Malkin dances in off the right wall and snaps off a wrister which Lindback fights off.
1:27: Maatta chops a slapper from the right point. It hits a body in font and the rebound kicks out to Martin above the right circle. Martin whips it on net. Lindback eats it up.
1:22: The Gudas minor expires. The Penguins put some quality shots on net.
0:44: Kobasew appears to get away with a trip on Sustr in the right corner of the Lightning zone.
0:00: End of period. Lightning 1, Penguins 0.
-That was a better opening period for the Penguins compared to last night but not by much.
-The Penguins generated several strong offensive chances but just couldn't figure out Lindback. Maybe there's something about tall Swedish goaltenders in Florida?
-The Penguins took way too many penalties that period. Putting any team, let alone one as dangerous as the Lightning, on the power play three times in a period is dangerous.
-If anything good came out of the Penguins taking so many penalties, it was that their penalty kill probably rebuilt a little confidence by killing all three Lightning chances.
-The Bennett-Malkin-Jokinen line looked fairly bottled in. They saw a pretty fair amount of the Hedman-Salo defensive pairing.
-Filppula has four goals in five games now this season. He had nine goals in 41 games last season.
-The Penguins have a 9-8 edge in shots.
-Gudas and Kunitz each lead the game with two shots.
-Martin leads the game with 9:43 of ice time.
-Filppula leads the Lightning with 8:03.
-The Lightning controls faceoffs, 15-12 (56 percent).
-Filppula is 6 for 9 (67 percent).
-Malkin is 3 for 5 (60 percent).
-Martin leads the game with four blocked shots.
-No one else has more than one.
18:26: Malone deals a pass off the left wing to Sustr trailing. Sustr whips a wrister on net which Fleury eats up.
A scrum develops in the Penguins' left wing corner. Brewer is going after Kobasew. Kobasew hit St. Louis from the side into the right wing boards and that sparked things. Brewer gets a roughing minor while Malone is given a 10-minute misconduct. We're not sure if Kobasew deserved a minor but we've seen hits like that end up in penalties. Jokinen, Malkin, Crosby, Martin and Kunitz take the ice.
17:46: The Penguins take full advantage. Off some perimeter passing, Kunitz deals a pass from the left wing to Jokinen above the left circle. Jokinen swats a one-timer on net. Lindback fights it off but Crosby is positioned right in front of the blue paint and is able to punch in the rebound. A nice garbage goal. Jokinen and Kunitz get assists. Lightning 1, Penguins 1.
15:25: Off a turnover by Bennett at the Tampa Bay blue line, St. Louis races up the left wing and cranks a slapper on the near side. Fleury's blocker punches it out.
14:49: The Lightning's star players get the lead back. Hedman gains the offensive zone on the right wing and deals to St. Louis. St. Louis deals it back and forth with Stamkos. Eventually, Stamkos lifts a wrister over the knee of kneeling Orpik and above the glove hand of Fleury. What a release by Stamkos. St. Louis and Hedman get assists. Lightning 2-1.
13:11: Kobasew snaps off a wrister from the slot. Lindback kicks it out.
13:05: Off a Orpik booms a lsapper from the left point. Lindback makes the save but Kunitz pokes it loose. He backhands the rebound wide of the cage. The puck eventually ends up on the stick of Dupuis at the left point. He chops a shot. Orpik is in the left circle and deflects the puck downwards with his stick. It bounces off the ice and flutters by the blocker of Orpik. What a deflection by Bobby Orrpik. It's his first regular season goal in 111 games. Kunitz create that chance by poking a rebound loose from Lindback. Dupuis and Kunitz get assists. Lightning 2, Penguins 2.
12:14: Dupuis booms a slapper form the left circle. Lindback steers it away.
9:57: Off a partial two-on-one against Salo, Sutter moves in off the left wing with Jeffrey driving to the cage. Sutter elects to shoot and is rejected by Lindback. The net is dislodged. Officials call Killorn for delay of game.
9:47: Malkin lifts a big shot from the left circle. Lindback fights it off.
7:57: Two minutes later, the Penguins did little with that power play.
6:12: Maatta is called for interference. The Lightning tried to chip and chase a puck into the Penguins' right corner. Maatta looks to his left and skates in front of Killorn in an attempt to hold him up. Officials send Maatta to the box. We wonder if that penalty is called if Maatta doesn't look back at Killorn. Orpik, Martin, Adams and Sutter take the ice.
5:58: Off a pass by St. Louis from the left circle, Teddy Purcell chops a one-timer. Orpik blocks it.
5:37: Stamkos cranks a slapper from the right half wall. Fleury gloves it.
5:31: Panik bobbles a pass in the slot, settles it then lifts a wrister. Orpik is able to get in position and block the shot.
4:35: Malone tries to jam in a forehand chance from the right of the cage. Fleury's left leg holds it out.
4:18: Salo takes a pass at the right point, winds up and booms a rising slapper which blows through traffic and hits twine. It appears to be deflected by Purcell in the right circle and behind Fleury. What a deflection. Salo and St. Louis get assists. Lightning 3-2.
3:48: Off a neutral zone turnover by Jokinen, Johnson lifts a wrister from the left circle. Fleury fights it off.
3:01: A quick shot by Brewer from the left point is fought off by Fleury.
2:16: Stamkos chops a loose puck from the slot wide to the right of the cage.
0:37: Kunitz takes a pass at the right point, winds up and booms a slapper wide on the near side.
0:24: Off a feed by Crosby from the left corner, Malkin has a chance in the left circle but falls and sends his partial slapper wide of the cage.
0:18: After an icing, the Lightning calls a timeout to get a breather.
0:12: Off a faceoff win in the Lightning's right circle by the great Joe Vitale, Martin sends a slapper from the point wide of the cage.
0:00: End of period. Lightning 3, Penguins 2.
-Things opened up quite a bit that period. Both teams traded a lot of chance.
-This game has really become a special teams battle.
-Malkin continues to be bottled up for the most part. The Lightning hasn't allowed him many chances.
-Lindback continues to just eat up most of the space available for the Penguins to shootout.
-Fleury has been strong. He probably could have made a save on the second Lightning goal but that is Steven Stamkos, one of the best pure goal scorers in the NHL.
-Perhaps its because of all the special teams play, but the Penguins' bottom-two lines have been quiet.
-The Penguins have an 18-16 edge in shots.
-Malkin and Malone each lead the game with three goals.
-Martin leads the game with 18:08 of ice time.
-Carle leads the Lightning with 16:16.
-The Lightning has a 25-22 edge in faceoffs (53 percent).
-Stamkos is 7 for 13 (54 percent).
-Malkin is 5 for 7 (71 percent).
-Martin leads the game with four blocked shots.
-None of the Lightning's players has more than one blocked shot.
19:42: Dupis gains the offensive zone and flings a wrister from above the left circle wide to the far side. Crosby recovers the rebound on the right wing wall and deals to Kunitz above the right circle. Kunitz one-touches it to Niskanen at the right point. Niskanen slides a point-to-point pass to Scuderi. Scuderi flings a wrister at the cage. Crosby is in front of the blue paint and re-directs the puck by the blocker of Lindback. Tie game. Great puck movement by the Penguins. A video review confirms the goal. Scuderi and Niskanen get assists. Lightning, 3, Penguins 3.
19:12: The Lightning nearly get it back. Off a cross-ice pass by Hedman off the right wing, Stamkos booms a one-timer from the left circle off the cross bar.
16:20: A slapper by Hedman from the left point is wide on the near side.
14:45: Adams blocks a slapper by Thompson at the Penguins' right point. Adams is hobbled a bit after the shot. As noted by Penguins broadcaster Bob Errey, Olli Maatta is not on the Penguins' bench.
12:50: Kunitz has some space to work with on the right wing and rips a wrister on net. Lindback fights it off. There's a scramble for the rebound but Lindback is able to smother it.
11:32: Jokinen drives the puck up the right wing, gains the offensive zone and leaves a drop pass on a cross-over play with Malkin. Malkin picks it up, fends off Killorn and lifts a wrister from the right circle. Lindback eats it up. Killorn is called for holding Malkin. Niskanen, Martin, Kunitz and Crosby take the ice.
10:20: Hedman chases down loose puck in his own left corner. He fakes a move and forces Kunitz to peel off a bit on the forecheck. Hedman then calmly spins an whips the puck down ice fo ra clear. What a nice subtle move to create some space.
9:34: Hat trick. Crosby hounds Brewer into a turnover from his own right corner. Maatta collects it at the Tampa Bay blue line and calmly deals it to Niskanen at the right point. Niskanen sneaks it up the right wing wall to Malkin. Malkin taps it to Jokinen in the right circle. Jokinen then deals a little forehand pass to Crosby at the top of the right circle. With space, Crosby is able to rip a slapper by the blocker of Lindback on the far side. What a series of passes to set that up. Jokinen and Malkin get assists. Penguins 4-3.
8:16: Off a brutal turnover by brewer, Adams has a point blank chance in front of hte blue paint but Lindback smothers his shot. Brewer owes Lindback a beer.
7:17: Salo tees up a slapper from the right point. It sails through traffic and goes wide to the far side.
6:34: Kobasew is getting plenty of shifts with Jokinen and Malkin. he was on the ice when Malkin drew a penalty against Killorn. Bennett hasn't recorded a shift since 15:46 was remaining in the third period. Kobasew has has three shifts since then.
4:45: The Penguins are in chip-and-change mode. They're getting the puck in deep and changing lines.
4:34: Kunitz hooks Panik in the hands in front of the scorer's booth. This is a big two minutes. Adams, Sutter, Orpik and Martin take the ice.
4:06: Stamkos is set up for a one-timer in his office of the right circle but his stick breaks and he loses the the puck.
3:02: Tie game. The Lightning takes advantage of some space and cashes in. Johnson controls the puck at the left point and snaps off a cross-ice pass to Panik in the right circle. Panik whips a slap-pass to the slot where Killorn is all alone and he taps a forehand shot by the right skate of a stretched out Fleury. Some pretty passing. The Penguins were way too loose in their own zone on that one. Panik and Johnson get assists. Lightning 4, Penguins 4.
1:21: Hedman rips a wrister from above the left circle. It gets blocked by Orpik
1:15: A wrister by Filppula from the right win is blocked partially by Martin.
0:56: Wow. A big moment here. Panik tripped up Orpik in the Penguins' right circle. He kicked out the skates of Orpik. The Penguins can win the game here. They call a time-out to get organized. Niskanen, Martin, Crosby, Kunitz and Malkin take the ice.
0:45: Crosby tees up a slapper from the left half wall. Kunitz is positioned in front of Lindback and deflects the puck off the cross bar and out of play.
0:18: The Penguins strike. Malkin controls the puck on the right half wall. He holds, holds, holds, looks to the right point and deals a pss to Niskanen above the right circle. Niskanen drops the hammer on a one-timer which sails by the blocker of Lindback on the near side. What a shot. Malkin and Crosby get assists. Penguins 5-4.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 5, Lightning 4.
-If you paid money to watch this game, you were probably very entertained. THere was lot of offense and the star players on both teams came through. If you were a coach of either team, you are probably pretty mad. This was a very sloppy defensive game. Neither coaching staff should be happy.
-This game really turned into a special team's battle. Officials called a pretty tight game and there were a lot of power plays. The Penguins were one power-play goal better than the Lightning and got the win as a result.
-Sidney Crosby was dominant tonight as he had a hat trick and an assist. How bizarre is it that a performance like that almost seems normal?
-Before he was traded to the Penguins in 2011, Matt Niskanen thought he was close to washing out as an NHLers. He seriously thought his career was about to come to an end. Being dealt to Pittsburgh saved him. He worked extensively with assistant coach Todd Reirden and as a result, virtually every aspect of his game has improved. He has confidence in every area of his skillset, including his shot which produced the game-winning goal tonight.
-The Penguins used two defensemen quite a bit on the power play with Niskanen and Paul Martin manning the points. In the postgame interview on television, Bylsma said that allowed them to set up a few more one-timers from the point.
-Marc-Andre Fleury was okay tonight. It's probably not easy to dissect of either goaltender tonight given all the special teams play tonight. Either way, he was one goal better than Anders Lindback tonight.
-The Penguins bottom-two lines were quiet for the most part but again, the special teams play limited both of those units.
-Beau Bennett did not play in the final 15:46 of regulation and only had four shifts in the final two period. We're not sure if that was a coaching decision or some other factor. Chuck Kobasew picked up a lot of his minutes as the game wore on in terms of five-on-five play and he seemed to fit in well with Evgeni Malkin and Jussi Jokinen.
-That line seemed to find a little more free space to work with with Kobasew on the ice.
-Much was made of Jokinen getting a hat trick last week against his former team, the Hurricanes, while they are paying part of his salary. The Lightning is another team which gave up on Jokinen. Tampa Bay dealt him to Carolina in 2009 in exchange for Josef Melichar, Wade Brookbank and a fourth round pick. Ouch.
-The Penguins only allowed two shots in the third period. One of them just happened to be off a perfect passing play on a power-play which led to a goal by Alex Killorn.
-It would be a stretch to say Deryk Engelland stood out. He had a missed pass which was called for icing. The ensuing faceoff in the Penguins' zone led to a Tampa Bay goal.
-The Penguins led in shots, 26-18.
-Malkin led the game with five shots.
-Ryan Malone led the Lightning with three shots.
-Fire Ray Shero.
-Brooks Orpik led the game with 25:50 of ice time.
-Valtteri Filppula was right behind him with 25:32.
-The Penguins had a 37-33 edge in faceoffs (53 percent).
-Brandon Sutter was 10 for 17 (59 percent).
-Steven Stamkos was 9 for 18 (50 percent).
-Orpik and Martin each led the game with four blocked shots.
-Malone and Stamkos each led the Lightning with two blocked shots.
-Fire Ray Shero.
-Crosby's hat trick was the 201st in franchise history and the eighth of his regular season career. His last hat trick came in a 3-2 win against the late great Atlanta Thrashers, Dec. 2, 2010:
-Orpik's last regular season goal came in a 5-0 win against the Islanders, Nov. 21, 2011 (AKA Crosby's "comeback" game):
-Scuderi's last assist for the Penguins of any type came on Maxime Talbot's series-winning goal in a 2-1 win against the Red Wings in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, June 12, 2009:
-Crosby has scored in each of team's first five games. His best season opening scoring streak is six games during his rookie season of 2005-06.
-Crosby is now tied with Rick Kehoe for fifth-most hat trick in franchise history with eight. He trails Mario Lemieux (40), Kevin Stevens (10), Jaromir Jagr (nine) and Malkin (nine).