PITTSBURGH – Andre Roy recorded a career-high three points and Johan Holmqvist made 27 saves for his second career shutout as the Lightning beat the Penguins 3-0 for their third consecutive road win and seventh straight win in Mellon Arena. The Bolts handed Pittsburgh their first regulation loss in 11 games and gave goaltender Ty Conklin his first regulation loss since being called up from the minors. Despite Holmqvist’s solid play in net, it was former Penguin Roy whole took over the offense and stole the show.
The Lightning opened the scoring less than five minutes into the game with Kyle Wanvig’s first goal of the season. Chris Gratton passed the puck across the crease to Roy, who held the puck and fed Wanvig as he streamed toward the net. Wanvig fired a quick wrist shot to beat goalie Ty Conklin past his right leg pad. It was Wanvig’s first goal in the NHL since Jan. 20, 2006, with the Minnesota Wild.
Minutes later, Penguin fans experienced a scary moment in Mellon Arena as star forward Sidney Crosby collided with the end boards and had to be helped off the ice with 7:37 gone in the first. After being brought down to the ice by defenseman Paul Ranger, who was called for slashing, Crosby slid feet first into the end boards and stayed down on the ice. He was helped off to the Pittsburgh locker room, limping and greatly favoring his right leg. Pittsburgh officials confirmed that Crosby suffered a high-ankle sprain and would not return.
Lightning right wing Kyle Wanvig celebrates his first period goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, Jan. 18, 2008, at Mellon Arena. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Just past the halfway mark in the first, the Bolts’ line of Gratton, Roy and Wanvig struck again to put the team up 2-0. Shane O’Brien passed the puck from the Lightning blue line to Roy across center ice. Roy brought the puck into the offensive zone with a quick move around Penguin defenseman Brooks Orpik and passed the puck to a centering Gratton, who let off a quick backhand shot to beat Conklin through the five-hole. It was Roy’s second assist of the night and helped the Lightning skate to the locker room up 2-0 after 20 minutes.
“The last couple days have been pretty tough and we wanted to get off to a good start, and we accomplished that in the first period,” Gratton said. “Any time we [the secondary scorers] can chip in, we’ll take it.”
Pittsburgh nearly put their first goal on the board with less than five minutes remaining in the second period, but the strong play of Holmqvist kept them scoreless. Evgeni Malkin stole the puck from Filip Kuba deep in the Lightning zone and passed the puck to Maxime Talbot. Holmqvist made a pad save on Talbot off his shot from the left circle. Sykora scooped up the rebound and was attempting a backhand shot when Holmqvist tipped the puck with his pad, causing Sykora to lose possession and get tripped up with the goaltender. Coming into tonight’s game, Malkin had 15 points (12g, 3a) in the previous 12 games.
Despite the extended amount of time Pittsburgh spent in the Lightning zone throughout the second period, the score remained 2-0 through 40 minutes. Holmqvist continued his steady play in net, stopping all 10 shots faced in the period to keep the Penguins scoreless. The Bolts recorded just four shots on net compared to the 16 they put up in the first period to tie the shots at 20 apiece through two periods.
Armstrong opened the final period with a strong shot on net off the face-off win and pass from Jordan Staal only seven seconds into the period. Holmqvist made the save on the low wrist shot to preserve the two-goal Lightning lead. It was the closest the Penguins would come to netting a goal for the rest of the game.
The Bolts regained the momentum shortly after and kept pressure on the Penguins in their zone before Roy fired a shot home for his third point of the night. Roy gathered the puck from behind the net and passed it off to Brad Richards, who skated around the right face-off circle before feeding the puck back to Roy for the quick-release shot. The shot was blocked by Orpik but came directly back to Roy between the circles. He fired it home high glove-side on Conklin for his fourth goal of the season. Richards and Martin St. Louis earned assists on the goal just past the five-minute mark in the third for the finally goal of the night.
“I feel good,” Roy said. “It’s a big win for the team, too, especially on the road like this. Every time you get a goal or point or something against your old team, it always feels good.”
The Lightning had the assist of a two power-play opportunities in the final 11 minutes to help preserve the three-goal lead and shutout for Holmqvist. It was his second career shutout and first since Feb. 1, 2007, at Carolina. Tampa Bay out-shot the Penguins 14-7 in the final frame and 34-27 overall. Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier was held without a point for his fourth consecutive game. It’s his longest scoring drought since Nov. 22-27, 2005.
Winning Goaltender: Johan Holmqvist
Losing Goaltender: Ty Conklin
1 - 0 TBL
2 - 0 TBL
Martin St. Louis