Lightning (8-5-2, 18 Points) at Penguins (7-8-1, 15 Points)
Last 10: Tampa Bay (4-4-2); Pittsburgh (4-5-1)
Season Series: Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh play for the second time of four meetings this season. The two teams met last month at the St. Pete Times Forum with the Lightning overcoming a 3-1 deficit to earn a 5-3 come-from-behind victory. Martin St. Louis had two goals, both in the third period, to lift Tampa Bay.
The Big Story: The Lightning and Penguins come into tonight heading in opposite directions. Tampa Bay has earned points in four of its last seven, while Pittsburgh has dropped six of its previous eight games. Last season’s two Rocket Richard Trophy co-winners face off for the second time tonight as well, as Steven Stamkos and Sidney Crosby come in ranked first and second, respectively, in the NHL’s goal-scoring race.
LIGHTNING – After playing just one game at home following a nine-day, four-game road trip, Tampa Bay plays on the road again tonight in Pittsburgh in the back side of the team’s fourth set on consecutive nights. The Lightning come in with a record of 2-1-0 in the second half of games played on two straight nights, following the team’s 6-3 loss last night at the hands of the Southeast Division rival Capitals. Steven Stamkos, Ryan Malone and Teddy Purcell each had goals, but they weren’t enough to overcome Alexander Semin’s hat trick and an additional three goals in a game in which Tampa Bay outshot and outchanced the opposition through 60 minutes.
PENGUINS – Pittsburgh hosts the Lightning in the final contest of a two-game home stand at the Consol Energy Center tonight. The Penguins have struggled recently, winning just two games in their last 10 and come into tonight having lost five out of seven games played in their home arena this season. The losing trend continued on Wednesday night, as Pittsburgh surrendered a two-goal advantage in the last frame by allowing five third-period goals to the Bruins before falling 7-4. Four different Penguins put goals past Boston net minder Tim Thomas, the most allowed all season, but could not hold on to the late lead as they fell for the second time in their last four.
Who’s Hot: Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos has four goals and two assists in his last three games and Vincent Lecavalier has three assists in his last four contests. Sidney Crosby is also riding a three-game point streak with seven points, while Evgeni Malkin has collected three points in his last two.
Quotable: “The reality is, you're getting all these road games, one after the other, while some other teams are home, and you compare yourself with the points. But the comparison is hard to make now, and it's going to be even harder in the next month. Right now for us is trying to get out of this jungle alive for the next month.” – Head Coach Guy Boucher, on his team’s tough upcoming schedule
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