Lightning Blog: Raw Charge
On a night where the Penguins could have extended their Eastern Conference lead over the Lightning by another two points, they instead lost in regulation 2-1 and allowed Tampa Bay to pull within three points of the securing the last opportunity for home ice in the postseason.
Should we be worried?
Nah, relax. They're just trying to keep things interesting.
Since when has anything been easy for the Penguins this season? A laundry list of injuries, a scheduled riddled with a few streaks of losses, not to mention a number of third-period face plants, have all kept the season a bit out of the norm since cracking the Finals three seasons ago. There's still light at the end of the tunnel.
We know the Pens are postseason bound, but home ice would be a great asset to carry into the middle of April. At this point Tampa Bay remains the only real threat to those chances.
The remaining games on the schedule are against teams far from the playoff picture: the Panthers, Devils, Islanders and Thrashers will all watch their seasons end at 82 games. Although I don't have to tell you that no team can be taken for granted in 2011, the odds are certainly in Pittsburgh's favor to close out with four straight wins and seal the deal for home ice (if not potentially better, slim as it may be).
Losing to the Flyers the other night still stings, but it's not the end of the world. But if the Pens are looking for a time to start a losing streak, now is not it. Unless of course they'd rather get the losses out of their system and save the wins for when they "really" count. Joking.
Here's a quick scoring recap of tonight's game:
- Steve Downie's goal: Weak, but somehow effective thanks to the Pens' defense giving up on it.
- Martin St. Louis's goal: Too pretty for Tampa, but he'd have it nowhere else. Kris Letang should get an assist on that one too.
- Mike Rupp: Made Downie's goal look like a Sportscenter Top Play, but whatever cracks the shutout.
- James Neal is killing me. How many more good looks does he need? Such great chances tonight and nothing on the board to show for it. And yes, how quickly I forget the shootouts...
- Does Ryan Malone still play in Tampa?