Friday, November 29, 2013

Penguins Blank Lightning

Chris Kunitz scored twice and Marc-Andre Fleury earned a shutout as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0 late Friday evening. The Penguins had won 7 straight games against the Lightning, a streak that started on November 11, 2011. The win tonight brought the streak up to 8 games. After struggling on the road, the Lightning returned home this week and won two straight games. However, the loss to the Penguins snaps a 7 game home winning streak for the Lightning.

The matchup between these two teams was predicted to be a high scoring one. Both the Penguins and the Lightning rank amongst the top 10 teams in the NHL in goals per game. Of course, the Lightning are without star center Steven Stamkos. The two big offensive guns for the Penguins, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, did not score. However, while Malkin was held completely scoreless, Crosby assisted on all 3 goals for the Penguins.

The Lightning managed to hold Pittsburgh to just one goal through most of the game. Kunitz finished off a great passing play by him and Crosby for a goal early in the first period, and the Penguins were held off of the score sheet after that until the third. The Lightning applied plenty of pressure to Penguins' goaltender Fleury, but were unable to get a puck past him. The goalie ended up stopping 21 of 21 shots thrown at him for the shutout.

Lighting goaltender Ben Bishop was solid in net despite receiving the loss. Bishop made 26 saves in 28 chances. He was beaten early in the game by Kunitz and early in the third period on a Penguins powerplay. Pittsburgh center Brandon Sutter flipped the puck from behind the net off a Lightning defender and into the net for a 2-0 lead. Later on in the period, with Bishop on the bench in exchange for an extra attacker, Kunitz scored his second into an empty net to bring the score to 3-0 in the final frame.

The Lightning are off until Tuesday, when the play on the road against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Penguins will travel to Sunrise to take on the Florida Panthers tomorrow night.

IMAGE from Chris Kunitz #14 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his first period goal with his teammates against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Tampa, FL.  (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

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