Lightning fall to reigning Stanley Cup champion Penguins

BY foxsports • December 14, 2016

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Sidney Crosby had another eventful night.

The Penguins star returned after passing concussion protocol following a first-period hit to get his 20th goal, and that stoked Pittsburgh's rally for its latest victory.

Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both scored their second goals on third-period power plays, helping the Penguins come back to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Saturday.

Crosby was shaken up by Luke Witkowski's check with eight minutes to go in the first but returned for the start of the second period.

"It was just kind of a stinger in my neck," Crosby said. "I got jammed."

It was the first meeting between the teams since the Stanley Cup champion Penguins beat Tampa Bay in a seven-game Eastern Conference final last season.

Pittsburgh, which won its fifth straight game, got three assists each from Phil Kessel and Kris Letang. The Penguins are 6-6-1 when trailing after two periods.

After going 1 for 30 on the power play over the last nine games, Pittsburgh converted 3 of 5 chances Saturday.

"I'm not going to sit here and say it looking pretty early and we knew it was coming," Crosby said. "But (later) we had some really good looks and we put them in."

Tampa Bay's Jonathan Drouin had the first of his two goals shortly after getting cut by a high-stick. Valtteri Filppula also scored for the Lightning, who are 1-6-1 over their last eight games.

"Teams go through these situations," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "There's a lot of hockey left to play."

Matt Murray made 20 saves for the Penguins, and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 33 shots for Tampa Bay.

After Crosby pulled the Penguins even at 3 with his 20th goal at 5:08 of the third, Malkin's right-circle shot with 11:24 left gave Pittsburgh a 4-3 lead.

Malkin has 111 power-play goals, which moved him past Jaromir Jagr (110) and Kevin Stevens (110) into second on Pittsburgh's career list. Mario Lemieux tops the list with 236.

Crosby opened the scoring 12:03 into the game, diving toward a loose put and putting it past Vasilevskiy.

"The first goal he got, for me, personifies his compete level, his willingness to go to the battle area," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said.

Crosby has a goal in three straight games and a seven-game point streak (six goals, 12 points).

Tampa Bay got a 4-minute power play late in the first after Drouin was cut below the left eye by a high-stick by Malkin. Drouin returned soon after and tied it at 1 from the left circle with 2:03 left.

Drouin put the Lightning up 3-1 midway through the second by lifting a backhander past Murray.

"I think we were in it physically and emotionally," Drouin said. "But you can't give that team too many chances."

Murray made a terrific glove save along the goal line on Filppula in the third.

"I think I was pretty lucky," Murray said.

NOTES: Pittsburgh has outscored opponents 39-17 in the third period. ... Malkin has a 13-game point streak against Tampa Bay (15 goals, 30 points). ... Lightning RW Ryan Callahan missed his sixth straight game. He has played in just 15 games since offseason hip surgery.


Penguins: Play Arizona on Monday night in the first of three straight games at home.

Lightning: Start a three-game trip Wednesday night at Calgary.

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