Posted February 24, 2012 on
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Tampa Bay Lightning
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Evgeni Malkin and Steven Stamkos are tied for the NHL lead with 73 points, but when the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning have met lately, only one has had any offensive success.
Malkin has had a hand in seven of the Penguins' 10 goals in a pair of recent victories over the Lightning, who will hope for more from Stamkos when they visit Consol Energy Center on Saturday for the second time in less than two weeks.
Pittsburgh (34-21-5) gave up 10 goals while splitting a weekend road swing in Philadelphia and Buffalo, but shored up its defense Tuesday upon opening a three-game homestand. Marc-Andre Fleury made 27 saves for his first shutout in three months and Malkin had a goal and an assist in the Penguins' 2-0 win over the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers.
Pittsburgh is tied for fifth in the East with 73 points.
"I think that was our first complete 60-minute game in a long time," said forward Steve Sullivan, who scored a power-play goal. "We got something from everybody."
Malkin's assist on Sullivan's goal was the 300th of his career and gave him a three-point lead over Stamkos in the race for the Art Ross Trophy.
That lead didn't last long. Stamkos, who headed into Winnipeg on Thursday with five goals and three assists during Tampa Bay's three-game winning streak, responded but couldn't lift his team. Stamkos scored his league-leading 43rd goal and added a pair of assists, but the Lightning's attempt to rally from a late four-goal deficit came up short in a 4-3 loss.
"We're fighting for our playoff lives here, and to come out flat like we did for two periods is just disappointing and it's not good enough," defenseman Brendan Mikkelson said.
Tampa Bay (27-27-6) is just two points removed from the East basement and in fourth in the Southeast Division, but it's also just seven points behind division-leading Winnipeg - with three games in hand.
Getting out of Pittsburgh with a positive result won't be easy - especially if Tampa Bay can't contain Malkin. The 2009 Conn Smythe Trophy winner, who missed last spring's seven-game playoff loss to the Lightning with a torn ACL, had a hat trick and two assists in a 6-3 win in Tampa on Jan. 15, then scored twice in a 4-2 home victory Feb. 12.
That latest performance left Lightning coach Guy Boucher wondering what it would take to stop Malkin.
"Well, we certainly didn't have the answer, that's for sure, so you have to ask somebody else (other) than me," he said.
Stamkos, meanwhile, has been limited to two assists and six shots in three games against Pittsburgh this season. The Lightning have won only eight games in which Stamkos hasn't scored a goal.
The Penguins are 3 for 9 on the power play in the last two meetings with Tampa, a stark improvement after going 1 for 35 in the postseason and 0 for 7 in a 4-1 loss Nov. 17. Pittsburgh is 22-7-3 when it scores with the man advantage this season.
The Lightning, an East-worst 10.5 percent on the power play away from home, shouldn't count on turning that around Saturday. The Penguins have the league's best penalty kill on their own ice (90.4 percent).
Pittsburgh defensemen Brooks Orpik (upper body) and Matt Niskanen (illness) are day to day, while Tampa captain Vincent Lecavalier is at least two weeks away from returning from a broken right hand.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Yesterday, the Pittsburgh Penguins cruised to easy home win against the Tampa Bay Lightning by the score of 8-1.
The most memorable goal from the game came from star Evgeni Malkin who sped past the entire Tampa Bay Lightning defense to score:
(Courtesy of Red Light District Hockey)
Once Evgeni Malkin got angry, the game really got out of hand.
Malkin had his ninth career hat trick, Jordan Staal added two goals and the Pittsburgh Penguins won for the fifth time in seven games by routing the Tampa Bay Lightning 8-1 on Saturday.
Chris Kunitz, Matt Cooke and Pascal Dupuis also scored and Marc-Andre Fleury made 34 saves for Pittsburgh, which has won eight of nine...
To set the stage Dwayne Roloson suckered punched Evgeni Malkin in the face early in the second period. Here was Malkin's response:
Evgeni Malkin had his ninth career hat trick as the Penguins won for the third time in the past four games, topping the Tampa Bay Lightning, 8-1, today at Consol Energy Center.
Doing their best to make up ground in the NHL, the Ducks cannot afford to lose a single game. On a long, two week road trip, Anaheim has done a superb job at earning points in every game. That ended when they met up with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday. The 3-2 loss in regulation was their first regulation loss on the road in seven games.Jonas Hiller has limited opponents...
Is it safe to say Evgeni Malkin’s wrapped up the Hart Trophy for this year? 4 more points against the Tampa Bay Lightning for the Pittsburgh Penguin star, including this beauty goal.
This doesn't require a lot of narration but check out this sweet goal by Evgeni Malkin. This is a classic end to end rush blowing by everyone on the ice and then he fakes the Tampa Bay goalie Dwayne Roloson out of his jock.
Evgeni Malkin had his ninth career hat trick, Jordan Staal added two goals and the Pittsburgh Penguins won for the fifth time in seven games by routing the Tampa Bay Lightning 8-1 on Saturday.
PITTSBURGH (AP) Evgeni Malkin had his ninth career hat trick, Jordan Staal added two goals and the Pittsburgh Penguins won
for the fifth time in seven games by routing the Tampa Bay Lightning 8-1 Saturday.
The Tampa Bay Lightning learned a valuable lesson in Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh: don’t make Evgeni Malkin mad.
After Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson hit Malkin in the face during a net-front ruckus, a motivated Malkin respon...
Evgeni Malkin had his ninth career hat trick, Jordan Staal added two goals and the Pittsburgh Penguins won for the fifth time in seven games by routing the Tampa Bay Lightning 8-1 Saturday. Chris Kunitz, Matt Cooke and Pascal Dupuis also scored and Marc-Andre Fleury made 34 saves for Pittsburgh, which has won eight of nine home games and leapfrogged the New Jersey Devils in the crowded...
Every other week, we’ll bring you an updated look at the candidates for the major awards around the NHL…Tracker archive:Nov. 17Dec. 2Dec. 16Dec. 30Jan. 15Jan. 27Feb. 12HART TROPHY1. Evgeni Malkin, PITStats: 54 GP, 36 G, 41 A, 77 Pts, +12There really isn’t much more to say about Malkin at this point. Just watch and enjoy...2. Henrik Lundqvist, NYRStats: 25-11-4, 1.81 GAA, ...