Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning falls to Penguins

TAMPA — Even without Sidney Crosby, out with a broken jaw, the Penguins, atop the Eastern Conference, are a formidable team.

So, there was no shame in Tampa Bay's 6-3 loss Thursday night in front of a sellout, though Penguins-friendly, crowd of 19,204 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

It's just the Lightning felt it could have been — and perhaps should have been — at least a little closer.

"It's just a little frustrating because you look up there (at the scoreboard) and think, 'My gosh, we're that far behind,' " coach Jon Cooper said. "But it didn't feel like it was that type of game. It's too bad."

What is too bad is how the Lightning (17-21-2) sabotaged itself despite three power-play goals, two by Teddy Purcell and one by Brett Connolly, that upped its surge with the man advantage to 6-for-13.

But the Penguins also had three power-play goals. Goaltender Ben Bishop, in his fifth straight start, looked ordinary despite 35 saves. And Tampa Bay, which lost at home in regulation for the first time in seven games, shot itself in the foot at the worst time.

Down 3-2, Alex Killorn's terrible back-pass giveaway to Evgeni Malkin led to a back-breaking goal 1:24 into the third period on a shot Bishop should have stopped. And what had been a hotly contested game became a rout.

Most egregious for Cooper, though, were the opportunities to shoot passed up by the Lightning, which was outshot 41-19, including 14-4 in the third period.

"You can't go into a game against this team and think we're just going to tic-tac-toe and go back door for the highlight goal of the night," Cooper said. "I thought we passed up a lot of shots. We had time and possession in their zone for extended periods and came up with zero shots on goal."

It doesn't help when Vinny Lecavalier has zero shots and Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis have one each.

But bigger picture, Cooper added to a lament heard constantly from former coach Guy Boucher: "We have an A opportunity and we're passing it up for a B opportunity. That's the mentality we have to get out of our heads."

Say this for the Lightning, it met the physical challenge in a chippy game that had 60 minutes in penalties, including Radko Gudas' 10-minute misconduct and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Stamkos.

Still, the bad overshadowed the good.

"We know we have to play a certain way to have results, especially against a top team like that," right wing B.J. Crombeen said. "We obviously didn't do that."

At least not enough.

Penguins 2 1 3 6
Lightning 1 1 1 3


First Period1, Pittsburgh, Jokinen 8 (Morrow, Pa.Dupuis), 4:07. 2, Pittsburgh, Pa.Dupuis 20 (Kennedy, Niskanen), 6:02 (pp). 3, Tampa Bay, Purcell 9 (Stamkos, Salo), 16:00 (pp). PenaltiesLabrie, TB (hooking), 4:30; Malkin, Pit (tripping), 15:38.

Second Period4, Pittsburgh, Kunitz 21 (Iginla, Letang), 1:48 (pp). 5, Tampa Bay, Connolly 1 (Panik, Killorn), 5:46 (pp). PenaltiesMalone, TB (high-sticking), 1:00; Bennett, Pit (hooking), 4:13; Niskanen, Pit (roughing), 5:59; St. Louis, TB (hooking), 12:24; Engelland, Pit (roughing), 20:00; Gudas, TB (roughing), 20:00.

Third Period6, Pittsburgh, Malkin 8, 1:24. 7, Pittsburgh, Jokinen 9 (Murray, Pa.Dupuis), 4:45. 8, Pittsburgh, Glass 1 (Jokinen, Iginla), 16:40 (pp). 9, Tampa Bay, Purcell 10 (St. Louis, Carle), 19:42 (pp). PenaltiesEngelland, Pit (roughing), 4:16; Malkin, Pit (cross-checking), 4:16; Gudas, TB, double minor (roughing), 4:16; Murray, Pit, minor-major (unsportsmanlike conduct, fighting), 5:19; Crombeen, TB, minor-major (roughing, fighting), 5:19; Orpik, Pit (roughing), 6:09; Malone, TB (roughing), 6:09; Stamkos, TB (unsportsmanlike conduct), 6:09; Gudas, TB, misconduct, 14:02; Aulie, TB (interference), 15:02; Thompson, TB (slashing), 16:00; Engelland, Pit (roughing), 18:30. Shots on GoalPittsburgh 13-14-14—41. Tampa Bay 8-7-4—19. Power-play opportunitiesPittsburgh 3 of 6; Tampa Bay 3 of 4. GoaliesPittsburgh, Vokoun 11-4-0 (19 shots-16 saves). Tampa Bay, Bishop 10-8-0 (41-35). A19,204 (19,204). T2:36. Referees—Chris Rooney, Gord Dwyer. LinesmenDarren Gibbs, Matt MacPherson.

Lightning falls to Penguins 04/11/13 [Last modified: Friday, April 12, 2013 3:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa Bay Downs full of high-paying races this season


    OLDSMAR — Tampa Bay Downs is green like never before.

  2. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series


    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  3. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.
  4. Quarterback Jameis Winston will start Sunday for the Bucs


    TAMPA — Jameis Winston hadn't thrown in practice since he injured his right shoulder in Sunday's loss at Arizona, and with that uncertainty, a wide line of TV cameras and reporters' cellphones were all out Friday morning, recording the moment as Winston tested his shoulder with his first throws early in …

    Despite a sore shoulder, Jameis Winston will be making his 38th consecutive start since being drafted first overall in 2015.
  5. Bucs journal: LB Kwon Alexander ready to return from injury


    TAMPA — LB Kwon Alexander, sidelined by a hamstring injury since the second quarter of the Bucs' season opener against Chicago, will finally make a healthy return Sunday against the Bills.

    Linebacker Kwon Alexander needs “to get my stats back up” after being out since the opener.