Tampa Bay Lightning Game 77: at the Pittsburgh Penguins

The Tampa Bay Lightning shut out the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-0.

The game did not start off well. Matt Lashoff was kicked out very early in the first – less than three minutes into the game. Luckily, Pittsburgh was not able to score during their five-minute power play.

However, the Lightning were down to five defensemen because of that penalty. Mattias Ohlund, who had only been back playing for two games previous, played over 27 minutes of the game. And that was on an ankle that he’s admitted isn’t 100%. Mike Lundin, his defensive partner, played almost 30 minutes – that’s literally half of the game.

In the end, it turned out alright. Steven Stamkos scored his 46th goal of the season, tying him with Alex Ovechkin for second place in the goal scoring race. It was also Stamkos’s 21st power play goal of the season. His linemate Steve Downie scored the second goal of the game, his 22nd on the season.

So, overall, it was a great effort - too bad that it wasn't for a better cause, such as the march to playoffs.

As I was reading the NHL.com game summary, I came across this quote:

"With all due respect to them, there's a handful of guys I haven't even heard of," Pens defenseman Brooks Orpik said.

Despite being down to only five defensemen for almost the entire game, the Lightning played a very tight game defensively. I would say that that was probably one of their best games defensively this season. They managed to keep the leading goal scorer and third overall points leader, Sidney Crosby, off the scoresheet. That’s no mean feat.

I think that this is more of a statement about Orpik than it is about the Lightning. This quote would be completely understandable at the beginning of the season. But at this point, when the teams have played each other four times this season and the Lightning didn’t do much in way of trades at the trade deadline, I think that’s a bit disturbing. Apparently he’s not one for scouting reports.

The next game is Friday, 2 April, against the New York Rangers. Game time is 7:30 pm Eastern. Come out and enjoy hockey while it’s still around to be enjoyed.

Lightning vs Penguins coverage [SB Nation]

PensBurgh [SB Nation Pittsburgh Penguins site]

Lightning vs Penguins recap [TSN]

Lightning vs Penguins boxscore [TSN]