Did Thursday's loss to the Lightning feel like last year's best-of-seven series to anyone else? Tampa Bay is slowly but surely putting themselves on that short list of teams that Pittsburgh experiences some issues with. And while it wasn't the prime example of a 1-3-1 stalemate that the Flyers and Lightning experienced a week or two ago, it wasn't exactly the most exciting game either (that could of course be based more on the final outcome than the actual flow of the game).
One of the first, and perhaps the biggest mistakes the Pens made, came in the form of allowing Tampa way too many opportunities with the man advantage. We saw first-hand in postseason that the Lightning has way too many weapons to work with. So why give them an even bigger advantage than they might have in a mismatched 5-on-5? Out of six chances on the power play, the Lightning scored twice, one of which came from everyone's favorite player Steve Downie.
Highlight of the night? I guess you have to go with Tyler Kennedy's goal late in the game. Not only was it a guarantee that Pittsburgh would halt Tampa's attempt for a shutout, but it's also a good sign when a guy who'd been out of the lineup for a bit can come back and pick one up early into his return.
With the exception of Downie's goal, most of Tampa's opportunities came on horrible defensive miscues on Pittsburgh's part. The turnover in their own end led to the first Lecavalier goal, Brett Connolly could've parallel parked an 18-wheeler in the space the D gave him on his rebound goal and Kris Letang simply tripped over the blue line while in the Tampa zone that resulted in the puck squirting loose and Lecavalier dropping in the empty netter.
Not the greatest game of the season, but let's put it behind us. No road trip needed for the next one, as Pittsburgh will remain in Florida for Saturday's game against the Panthers.