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Lightning falls to Penguins in OT

PITTSBURGH — When considering their 4-3 overtime loss to the Penguins on Saturday at the Consol Energy Center, Lightning players and coaches preferred to focus on the big picture.

Tampa Bay finished its three-game road trip with five of a possible six points and has points in eight straight games, its longest streak since December 2010.

That's a much more pleasant story than how the Lightning (39-24-8) created the circumstances for its demise against Pittsburgh by giving six chances to the league's No. 1 power play, which scored on three, including James Neal's winner 1:27 into the extra period.

"That's the main thing, to keep getting points," center Valtteri Filppula said. "It's always tough to lose, and it hurts for a little bit of time. It could have gone either way. To get points in this type of game is always good."

Filppula scored his 24th goal, a personal best. Steven Stamkos got his 20th, and sixth in nine games since his return from a broken right tibia. And goaltender Anders Lindback, in only his third game since Jan. 13, played well with 25 saves.

There also was Ondrej Palat's dramatic goal with 1:22 left in the third period that earned the point for the regulation tie.

The rookie left wing skated from his blue line, deked to his backhand to beat defenseman Olli Maatta and to his forehand to beat goalie Jeff Zatkoff.

"I saw they were changing and their D was flat-footed," Palat said. "I used my speed and went around him."

"He's a gem, that one," coach Jon Cooper said of Palat. "Big-time players make big-time plays like that. A wonderful individual effort."

But the Lightning could not stay out of the penalty box, a bad practice against Pittsburgh, which has converted 30 percent of its power-play chances.

"Watch the guys they roll out there," Cooper said. "It's not just class. It's world class. If you're going to take penalties, you're going to put yourself in trouble, and that's what we did."

Tampa Bay also shot itself in the foot on the only even-strength goal it allowed. Tyler Johnson's defensive-zone giveaway led to Evgeni Malkin's second goal and a 3-2 lead with 3:17 left in the third period.

Johnson was unlucky in overtime, too, as he touched the puck on a line change to cause a penalty for too many men on the ice. Neal's goal gave the Penguins its ninth straight win over the Lightning and seventh straight at Pittsburgh.

"Is it extremely frustrating how that game ended up? Clearly," Cooper said. "But we went on the road and got five of six points. That's how I look at it."

Penguins 0 1 2 1 4
Lightning 0 1 2 0 3
Penguins 0 1 2 1 4
Lightning 0 1 2 0 3

First PeriodNone. PenaltiesMalone, TB (boarding), 3:51; Bortuzzo, Pit (tripping), 13:05.

Second Period1, Pittsburgh, Crosby 34 (Malkin, Zatkoff), 5:29 (pp). 2, Tampa Bay, Filppula 24 (Stamkos, Hedman), 16:44 (pp). PenaltiesJohnson, TB (hooking), 4:32; Stamkos, TB (holding), 7:36; Hedman, TB (hooking), 13:53; Salo, TB (tripping), 14:19; Neal, Pit (tripping), 14:19; Goc, Pit (interference), 15:26.

Third Period3, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 20 (Killorn, Gudas), 8:17. 4, Pittsburgh, Malkin 22 (Niskanen, Crosby), 11:07 (pp). 5, Pittsburgh, Malkin 23 (Jokinen), 16:43. 6, Tampa Bay, Palat 19 (Gudas, Carle), 18:38. PenaltiesKillorn, TB (slashing), 10:33.

Overtime7, Pittsburgh, Neal 23 (Malkin, Crosby), 1:27 (pp). PenaltiesTampa Bay bench, served by Kostka (too many men), 1:11. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 8-8-8-0—24. Pittsburgh 6-13-9-1—29. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 1 of 2; Pittsburgh 3 of 6. GoaliesTampa Bay, Lindback 5-12-2 (29 shots-25 saves). Pittsburgh, Zatkoff 12-4-1 (24-21). A18,668 (18,387). T2:29. Referees—Dan O'Halloran, Dan O'Rourke. LinesmenDarren Gibbs, Brian Mach.

Lightning falls to Penguins in OT 03/22/14 [Last modified: Saturday, March 22, 2014 11:03pm]
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