Lightning Can't Finish Penguins
One Point Earned In Overtime Loss
The Tampa Bay Lightning appeared enroute to a victory tonight as they opened the third period with a 3-0 lead, but in an amazing turn of events, the Pittsburgh Penguins scored three goals in the third to tie, and one with only seconds left in overtime for the win, as the Lightning settle for one point earned in the loss.
For two periods, the Lightning treated Mike Mckenna, starting for the first time in the NHL, to a great, tight checking, rebound-clearing, diving pass-stopping effort and he returned the favor by stopping the first 18 shots he faced as Tampa Bay meticulously built a three-goal lead.
got the Lightning on the scoreboard first at 15:25 when, with defenseman Paul Ranger pinching in the Pens zone, Malone put the puck past Pittsburgh netminder Marc-Andre Fleury for his 16th goal of the season. Ranger and Mark Recchi earned assists on the goal.
Employing an aggressive forecheck, the Lightning maintained the pressure in the Pittsburgh zone until the period ended. After period one, Tampa Bay had compiled a 14-5 shot advantage over the Penguins.
Pittsburgh began the second period determined to test McKenna but he stood up to every shot the Pens could manage and the defense continued to clear the puck.
The Lightning opened the lead to two goals at the 5:00 mark as Martin St. Louis
, standing unchecked in the right faceoff circle, got all of a Vincent Lecavalier
cross-ice pass and his shot caught the inside of the far post, as Fleury was sliding across the crease to his left. The goal was number 19 for St. Louis and Lecavalier and Steve Eminger assisted.
Lecavalier increased the Lightning lead to three goals at 16:52 when Vaclav Prospal sent a pass cross-crease from behind the goal line which Lecavalier easily put in the empty net. St. Louis also earned an assist on Lecavalier’s team-leading 24th goal of the season.
Despite being outshot 13-5 in the second period, the Lightning had managed to find the twine on two of those shots and skated off with a 3-0 lead with 20 minutes of hockey yet to play.
But it was the final 20 minutes in which the game turned for Tampa Bay.
The Penguins got their first score of the night at 2:25 of the final period when Evgeni Malkin, the NHL point leader, tapped the puck into the net after a shot from the blue line had hit the cross-bar and fallen behind McKenna.
Penguin defenseman Mark Eaton further cut into the Lightning lead when his shot from the point bounced off Eminger’s leg and found the net behind McKenna at 14:06.
Petr Sykora got the tying goal just over two minutes later when he pushed the puck past McKenna after a prolonged goal-mouth scramble.
In the five-minute overtime period, Pittsburgh produced five shots on net to just two for the Lightning, and one of the five for the Penguins made it past McKenna to give Pittsburgh the come-from-behind win.
With just 0:16 remaining in the overtime period, Malkin found the puck on his stick in front of the crease and finished the game with a wrist shot past McKenna. The winning goal was Malkin’s second goal of the game.
Tampa Bay finished with a season-high 44 hits, led by Evengy Artyukhin with nine and Mckenna stopped 31 shots in his debut.
The Lightning will take the point earned and head for home, where they open up a six-game home stand starting Saturday night against the New York Islanders.
|Three star selections