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Pens Can't Hold Off Bolts, Lose 5-3

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Lightning blog: Raw Charge

It was a sloppy game all around.  In the first period alone, Tampa goaltender Mike Smith gave up three goals on four shots.  Marc-Andre Fleury gave up two on six shots.  There was a combined 30 minutes of penalty time dished out on seven penalties, and yet somehow both teams had time to score enough goals to send it into the second period with the Pens leading 3-2.

And then the wheels came off for the remainder of the game, as Tampa scored three more unanswered goals and the Pens spent more time stepping into the penalty box than putting pucks into the net.  The three-game road trip comes to an end at 1-1-1, handing the Pens their first regulation loss on the road against the Bolts.

More after the jump...

Normally when you see guys like Craig Adams, Matt Cooke and Pascal Dupuis lighting the lamp, you have to feel that the big guns are bound to follow soon enough.  Although the grinders struck gold early on, Sidney Crosby finished with only one point (assist on Dupuis's goal) and Evgeni Malkin was held scoreless by the time the final horn blared through St. Pete Time's Forum. 

If Fleury could somehow find a way to convert his goals against average to a batting average in baseball, he'd be a first ballot Hall of Famer for sure.  A batter hitting .341 is beyond good.  A goaltender giving up 3.41 goals per game is...something else.

If I had to guess I'd say Brent Johnson gets the nod on Friday against the Flyers. 

Kris Letang left the game in the second period with an injury and/or equipment problem, but quickly returned to the relief of everyone in the game thread.  In Arron Asham's first game with the Pens, he notched one shot and led the team with four hits over 11 minutes of ice time.  A solid effort for a first game, but it's safe to say there's more to come.