Tampa Bay Lightning
7:30 p.m., Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa, Florida
The Last Penguins Game
April 9, 2013 - Pittsburgh 5, Carolina 3 [Recap]
After a satifying win over Carolina on Tuesday night where the Penguins captured the Atlantic Division and at least the number two seed in the playoffs the Penguins look to pad their lead over Boston and Montreal for the top seed in the East when they stroll into Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay went froma team that had a decent chance to make the playoffs early (then again who didn't) to a team that has been in a free fall as they only have 17 wins on the season and sit well below the .500 mark despite scoring a good bit of goals.
The key to the Tampa Bay team is first line center Steven Stamkos. Heading into the game he tied for the lead in goals with 26 and is only six points behind Sidney Crosby in the scoring race. Stamkos is scary good but he has been relatively quiet in the month of March with only one goal and three assists in the Lighting's five games. Nonetheless the Penguins are going to be focusing in on Stamkos and the top line for the Lightning that includes Martin St. Louis.
On the season the Tampa is third in the entire leage averaging 3.15 goals per game and in the two previous games against the Penguins they have six goals and have come close to beating the Penguins on a few occasions.
Kris Letang makes his return to the Penguins lineup tonight after not playing a game since he broke his toe agianst Montreal on March 26. For as good as the Penguins defense has been through the season this is goign to be a huge boost. They don't really have anyone on the ice on the backend that can jump into the offensive play consistently and even if we are talking just on the power play that is huge. I don't think anoyne really appreciated just what Letang brought to the table until he was out of the lineup but if he can come back (and stay healthy) this is a pretty big deal going forward.
Tomas Vokoun in net for the Penguins tonight. Can't really complain either way as both goaltenders were going to play over this week before some significant off time. In his last start he gave up four goals to a pretty poor Buffalo team which resulted in him getting the early hook but before that he was playing really well in net. I expect Vokoun to be strong tonight.
Chris Kunitz - Evgeni Malkin - Jarome Iginla
Brenen Morrow - Jussi Jokinen - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Brandon Sutter - Tyler Kennedy
Tanner Glass - Craig Adams - Beau Bennett
Brooks Orpik - Mark Eaton
Matt Niskanen - Douglas Murray
Kris Letang - Deryk Engelland
Tampa Bay (17-20-2) (via Penguins website)
Benoit Pouliot - Steven Stamkos - Martin St. Louis
Alex Killorn - Vincent Lecavalier - Teddy Purcell
Tom Pyatt - Nate Thompson - B.J. Crombeen
Brett Connolly - Tyler Johnson - Richard Panik
Matt Carle - Sami Salo
Keith Aulie - Eric Brewer
Mark Barberio - Radko Gudas
Season Series (Penguins lead 2-0)
March 4, 2013 - Pittsburgh 4, Tampa Bay 3
February 24, 2013 - Pittsburgh 5, Tampa Bay 3 The Stats