The Tampa Bay Lightning dropped Saturday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 6-2 after their first win of the season a night before against the Blue Jackets. The Lightning head back to Florida for their home opener against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night.
Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point both scored in the loss, with both Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov coming away with two points. Brian Elliott struggled in his first game of the season, allowing five goals on 44 shots for a .889 save percentage.
Sidney Crosby had a three point night for the Penguins as six different forwards scored (Crosby, Heinen, Guentzel, Carter, Rust, and Rakell (ENG)). Tristan Jarry stopped 34 of 36 shots the Lightning threw at him for the win.
The Lightning went 1/4 on the power play (Stamkos) whereas the Penguins went 2/4 (Heinen, Rust).
The Lightning’s new top line of Hagel-Point-Kucherov had a good night at 5v5, controlling 55% of the chances despite one goal against. The bottom six continued to struggle with pushing the game up the ice and got hemmed in their own zone a lot. Jon Cooper’s line shuffling helped a bit but there is still plenty of work that needs to be done to keep this team sturdy defensively after losses in the offseason.
The Lightning had a strong start to the game with several early chances leading to the game’s first power play. Stamkos scored on his first chance with a big shot (number 485 on his career), but unfortunately it was going to be downhill the rest of the way for the team.
The Penguins captain tied it up a while later after a fairly even period in terms of chances off the rush. Hedman lost the battle along the boards in the offensive zone, Namestnikov wasn’t there to back him up, Cernak was unfortunate to see the puck go through him on a smart dive, and 37-year-old Perry was no match for 35-year-old Crosby up the ice before Sid made a move past Elliott at full speed.
The Penguins were all over the Lightning in the neutral zone, disrupting passes and creating turnovers. This was a hardworking shift by them at the offensive blueline to turn the puck over, get deep in the Lightning’s zone, and get the puck across for the goal.
Guentzel won the faceoff against Point, moved to the net, and deflected the long shot from the point between the legs of Elliott for an early goal in the third after getting poorly outplayed throughout the second.
Backchecking was poor at the Lightning didn’t get back down the ice as fast as the Penguins after a faceoff loss, allowing Carter a rush chance in tight. His goal came less than two minutes after the Guentzel goal.
Bryan Rust padded the lead on the power play, tipping Crosby’s point shot in front of the net. Cernak didn’t tie up the stick, leaving the forward all alone.
Point somewhat lessened the embarrassment with a rush goal from Kucherov. Stamkos got the puck up the ice through the neutral zone with some good stick work, something that wasn’t common for the team on the night.
Rickard Rakell ended the game with an empty netter.