Tampa Bay Lightning
Lightning pushed around by Penguins, 6-3
TAMPA Tampa Bay wants to put up a good fight to close out the season as their playoff chances have all but been closed out.
Thursday wasn't exactly one of those efforts.
The Lightning were pushed around in many ways as the Penguins, with league leading scorer Sidney Crosby, rolled to a 6-3 victory in front of an announced sellout crowd of 19,204 at The Forum.
Former Tampa Bay forward Jussi Jokinen scored twice while Pascal Dupuis had a goal and two assists. Evgeni Malkin, Tanner Glass and Chris Kunitz also scored for Pittsburgh, which swept the three game season-series from Tampa Bay, which dropped it's first home game in regulation under Jon Cooper. The Lightning were 5-0-1 in the previous six home games.
Teddy Purcell scored twice and Brett Connolly scored for Tampa Bay, which managed only 19 shots on Tomas Vokoun. Ben Bishop allowed all six goals on 40 shots as Pittsburgh scored three power play goals.
The Penguins came out flying and put the Lightning in a hole in a hurry.
A slow developing 2-on-1 for Pittsburgh saw Morrow come down the right wing a step ahead of Teddy Purcell before sliding a pass across the crease and past Eric Brewer that deflected off the skate of Jokinen at 4:07. Less than two minutes later with Pittsburgh on the power play, Tyler Kennedy rushed through the neutral zone with speed and around Alex Killorn to fire a shot on goal that Bishop stopped but Dupuis beat Brewer to the rebound and made it 2-0 at 6:02.
The early deficit forced Tampa Bay to use a timeout to try to settle things down. And for a while it worked as Tampa Bay responded with a power play goal as Purcell stood at above the crease and pushed a Steven Stamkos pass through the legs of Vinny Lecavalier and past Tomas Vokoun at 16:00 of the first period.
The Penguins regained the two-goal advantage early in the second as Ryan Malone was called for high sticking 60 seconds into the period, which resulted in Kunitz deflected a rocket one-timer from Jarome Iginla at the left circle at 1:48.
The Lightning responded again, however, thanks to another power play goal and some good puck movement from the second power play unit. Killorn found Richard Panik with a pass as he was drifting toward the bottom of the circle. Panik quickly fed a pass to Connolly for a quick snap shot to make it 3-2 at 5:46. For Connolly, in his fifth game since being recalled from Syracuse in the American Hockey League, it was his first goal in the NHL since Nov. 17, 2011, a span of 55 games between goals with the Lightning.
But in the third the Penguins pulled away with two goals in the opening five minutes. Malkin intercepted a Killorn back-pass meant for Brewer, zipped around and put a short-side shot through Bishop at 1:24, arguably the first soft goal Bishop has allowed since arriving from Ottawa. Jokinen the deflected a Douglas Murray shot past Bishop at 4:45 to put the game out of reach.
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