The last time the Penguins left Tampa, they had momentum tucked snuggly in their suitcases. This time they leave the Sunshine state reeling with no more room for error.
Following Saturday afternoon’s embarrassing 8-2 shellacking, the Pens hoped to reverse course and capture their third win on the Lightning’s ice sheet. Despite scoring the game’s first goal, this night would belong to the Bolts.
Pascal Dupuis took advantage of a Dwayne Roloson miscue to put the visitors in front, but Teddy Purcell scored the equalizer before the first period ended.
Sean Bergenheim put Tampa in front 2-1 with a goal mere seconds after Pittsburgh killed a penalty in the second period. With the game hanging in the balance, the Pens anemic power play ruined any chance to take command. Pittsburgh went 0-for-4 in that stanza AND Chris Conner flubbed a penalty shot. The Pens’ pathetic power play finished 0-for-5.
Jordan Staal temporarily gave Penguin nation a thrill when he snuck a wrister in short side early in the third, but just 1:07 later the Lightning took the lead for good when Steve Downie powered the puck under a sprawling Zbynek Michalek and Marc-Andre Fleury, who finished with 17 saves in a shaky performance. Ryan Malone squashed the drama and capped the scoring at 4-2 midway through the third.
As many predicted it would, this even battle boils down to game seven on Wednesday night. The Pens are 1-2 on home ice in this series and certainly don’t have many of the ever-so-important intangibles in their skates.