A game that featured a handful of star-studded names last night, the Pittsburgh Penguins kept the momentum going by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3 and extending their winning streak to two games.
Pittsburgh now improves their overall record to 12-6-0 (26 points) and sits tied atop the Eastern Conference with the Montreal Canadiens. But, they sit alone atop the conference with the most wins (13), one more than Montreal.
Biggest storyline that came out of the game was prized prospect Beau Bennett potting his first NHL goal on the power play and his goal would also go on to be the game-winning tally.
Bennett, 21, has played in five games for Pittsburgh since being called up and had yet to record a single point since being recalled. But since Malkin is now out indefinitely, Bennett saw his time on the power play last night, and low and behold buried a tape-to-tape pass courtesy of one Sidney Crosby, 12:20 into the second period.
Congratulations to Bennett.
Because Crosby assisted on Bennett first NHL goal, Crosby (28 points) now sits one point behind Steven Stamkos (29 points) for the NHL lead in that category. Crosby was able to give Pittsburgh its first two tallies of the game, giving him nine goals and 19 helpers on the season.
Marc-Andre Fleury was in net once again and netted a win–once again.
Stopping 27 of Tampa Bay’s 30 shots on goal, Fleury improved his overall record to 10-3-0 and now sits tied with Montreal goalie Carey Price for the league lead in wins. He also now has a 2.28 goals against average and a .916 save percentage on the season.
Matt Cooke and Paul Martin each had one goal and one assist, while Kris Letang was able to record a pair of helpers that now puts him one point behind Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall for points among defenseman. Chris Kunitz, James Neal and Brandon Sutter each recorded an assist as well.
The Pens have had their way with the Southeast Division this year going 5-1 and they get a chance to improve that record tomorrow when they take on the Florida Panthers again.
With Malkin being out, it must be comforting for Pens fans to witness their team prevail (at least for last night) without their Russian dynamo.
Pens play the Panthers tomorrow in Florida at 7:30 p.m.