Steve Downie Does It All as Penguins Beat Tampa Bay 4-2


Pittsburgh Penguins’ right winger, Steve Downie , had perhaps his best overall game of the season in Monday night’s 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Without Sidney Crosby in the lineup for the third straight game, the Penguins needed their role players to step up an make an impact, and Downie did just that, contributing to the win in every conceivable way.

Downie, who played over 200 games in a Lightning uniform, wasn’t kind to his former teammates, registering a team-leading six hits, including a bone-jarring check that absolutely flattened Tampa Bay winger, Jonathan Drouin as he carelessly drifted into the slot.

The Lightning, an up tempo, puck possession team, used their skill and speed to get the better of the Penguins in the first period. Indeed, it looked as though they were on the verge of breaking the game wide open as they continued to pepper Penguins’ goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury with a multitude of tremendous scoring chances. Fortunately, on this night, Fleury was up to the challenge, performing brilliantly in goal, taking his team into the locker room with he game still intact.

The next two periods were all Pittsburgh, as Mike Johnston decided to have his team get rough with Tampa Bay. After all, just Saturday night, the Lightning had their puck possession scheme completely disrupted by the physical play of the Washington Capitals.

Taking a page out of Washington’s playbook, the Penguins went to the body and made a concerted effort to deprive the Lightning skaters of time and space. Needless to say, this style of play is right in the wheelhouse of a guy like Steve Downie.

For the remainder of the game, Downie did it all. He was a shot blocker. He was an enforcer, coming to the aid of his teammates. He helped establish a much needed net presence. He even won 60% of his faceoffs.

In the second period, he alertly drove to the net, scoring a goal off of a rebound. In the third period, he fed a beautiful pass to the point for defenseman, Brian Dumoulin to notch his first NHL goal.

If only he could have picked himself a fight, he would have registered a Gordie Howe  hat trick. It’s funny, because a fight usually comes easy for Downie.

Steve Downie was enlisted by Jim Rutherford in the off season to help the Penguins win the tough hockey games. With grit, determination, and skill he did just that on Monday night.

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Dec 15, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Steve Downie (23) checks Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) during the third period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports