Lightning (5-2-1) vs. Penguins (5-3-1)
Season Series: Tonight’s game between the two Eastern Conference clubs is the first of four meetings this season. The teams split last season's series, each with a win and a loss in each of their home venues. Both clubs are off to a strong start, as each enter tonight’s contest as leaders in their respective divisions.
|Mar 31, 2010||TBL@PIT||TBL, 2 - 0|
|Mar 14, 2010||PIT@TBL||PIT, 2 - 1|
|Jan 2, 2010||PIT@TBL||TBL, 3 - 1|
|Oct 17, 2009||TBL@PIT||PIT, 4 - 1|
The Big Story: Two of last season’s Rocket Richard Trophy co-winners face off against each other tonight, as tonight’s game makes this season just the second in the Rocket Richard Trophy era to feature a matchup between the previous year’s co-leaders in goals. Both teams also look to be in an early standings race, while both of their superstars, Steven Stamkos and Sidney Crosby, are competing to out-perform each other for his second straight goal-scoring title.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay plays its final home game before heading on a big four-game road trip that begins in Phoenix over the weekend and wraps up on California’s west coast. The Lightning have gained points in three of the last four, with the lone exception coming in the team’s last game on Sunday against Nashville. Martin St. Louis and Adam Hall scored 57 seconds apart to spark a late scoring flurry, but even a third goal by Sean Bergenheim couldn’t overcome a 42-save effort by Predators rookie net minder Anders Lindback.
PENGUINS – Tonight’s game at the St. Pete Times Forum wraps up a three-game road swing for Pittsburgh, who comes in as having won four in a row prior to a loss at St. Louis in the team’s last game on Saturday. The Blues’ Jaroslav Halak made 31 saves to earn a 1-0 shutout, as St. Louis extended its reputation as just one of five NHL teams that has never allowed Sidney Crosby a goal.
Who’s Hot: Steven Stamkos is riding a four-game point streak with nine points in that span, while teammates Martin St. Louis, Sean Bergenheim and Victor Hedman are also enjoying four-game point streaks. Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang has six points in his last four and Mike Comrie has four points in as many games as well. Evgeni Malkin has registered two goals and five assists in his last six contests, while captain Sidney Crosby has 10 points in his last six games.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – Dominic Moore (lower body, day-to-day), Simon Gagne (neck, day-to-day) and Brett Clark (wrist contusion, day-to-day). PENGUINS – Jordan Staal (foot, day-to-day), Zbynek Michalek (shoulder, out 2 weeks).
Quotable: “I think we are on the right path to being a good team. Now, we haven't done anything yet and we are a work in progress and we are not satisfied. We know we can get better. We are still working on getting off to a better start and we know Pittsburgh is going to be a good test because that is a team that comes out flying and we are going to have to match that, if not be better.” – Goaltender Mike Smith
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