Pittsburgh Penguins (30-10-0) @ Tampa Bay Lightning (17-20-2)
ROOT, NBCSN, TSN – 7:30 pm/et
Tampa Bay Times Forum – Tampa, FL
Season Series: 2-0-0
Last meeting that counted: March 4, 2013. Penguins won 4-3.
What we said in our recap:
Two years ago, Sidney Crosby returned from a concussion against the Lightning, and it set back the Penguins for a long time. Last night, Evgeni Malkin returned from a concussion against the Lightning, and it may elevate the Pens to a different level. It may not even be a "different" level. It could simply be the level the Pens are supposed to be at.
71 and 87 turned the tide on consecutive shifts in the third period. Can't even remember the last time they did something like that. Poor coaching, poor personnel decisions, and still some flawed play be damned; when the big boys are rolling, they can change the game just like that.
Know Your Enemy: Raw Charge
What they're saying:
The Pens have clinched the Atlantic division (where they lead by 16 points over the 2nd place New York Islanders). They've also lost Sidney Crosby to a broken jaw. He'll be back for the playoffs (if not sooner) but it puts his would-be Art Ross trophy up for grabs in the NHL. The guys closing in on Crosby's league-leading 56 points are fellows like Crosby teammate Chris Kunitz (46 points); Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane (46 points) and the Lightning's own Martin St. Louis (49 points) and Steven Stamkos (50 points).
While Stamkos and goalie Ben Bishop talked playoffs post-game on Tuesday, the fact of the matter is that one of the true remaining benchmarks to play for in Tampa is getting Stamkos some hardware.
And it's not going to be an easy feat, Especially for Stamkos to repeat as Rocket Richard trophy winner, leading the league in goals. Alex Ovechkin has tied (and briefly exceeded) Stammer's goal total. They're tied with 26 goals in at current, with both teams in action tonight and facing off head-to-head on Saturday. While the Lightning play the juggernaut of the Eastern Conference, the Capitals play the failing, flailing Hurricanes.
That's quite a bit of opportunity for Washington's #8 to take control of the Richard race.
Pittsburgh Penguins Lines:
Kunitz – Malkin – Iginla
Orpik – Letang
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines:
Pouliot – Stamkos – St. Louis
Carle – Salo
Lightning lines from Daily Faceoff