No Malkin. No Fleury. No prob.... ah scratch that.
On Friday, Mike Sullivan announced goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury would start in net even though he had struggled this season in the two previous match-ups by giving up nine goals on 39 shots. Then before the game, Penguins announced on Twitter that Jeff Zatkoff would start in goal.
The game started rough as both sides were unable to get much of anything going offensively until a Kevin Porter shot hit the post and resulted in a rush up the ice for Tampa Bay giving Anton Stralman plenty of time and space on the blue line to fake one way and then floated a simple shot through a Alex Killorn screen to beat Zatkoff.
@myregularface gif ---> Stralman goal
Just over two minutes later, Killorn fired another innocent looking shot on goal, Zatkoff against couldn't handle the puck with traffic around him. Steven Stamkos was inexplicably left alone in front of the net. It was the 300th career goal for Stamkos in a game that he was once again barely noticeable.
@myregularface gif ---> Stamkos goal
@myregularface gif ---> Hagelin check
The first period ended with a 17-9 shot advantage for the Penguins but like so often under the Mike Johnston era, quality of the shots were not good enough.
In the second period, Matt Carle, who hasn't scored in 62 games, lofted another weak long shot that deflected by Zatkoff to increase Tampa's lead to 3-0 at 3:14.
@myregularface gif ---> Carle goal
After a J.T. Brown kick of his skate on Trevor Daley somehow resulted in the Penguins being down a man, Tom Kuhnhackl scored a beautiful shorthanded goal for his first NHL goal.
@myregularface gif ---> Kuhnhackl goal
The momentum was minimal as six minutes later, Tyler Johnson scored an easy tap-in goal to make it 4-1.
The battle level for the Penguins didn't wane as Bryan Rust water bugged his way down the right-wing to get a good shot on goal that Ben Bishop deflected the rebound right to Scott Wilson for his second goal.
@myregularface gif ---> Wilson goal
At the end of the period, Penguins had the turkey on the table with a 5-on-3 power play but with Malkin out of the lineup, this team can't do much of anything with the advantage. It doesn't help when Phil Kessel is unable to connect on a one-timer or Letang missed three shots on net.
In the third period, Tampa Bay kept the game at their pace to protect their lead.
Then as only Kris Letang can do, he gets his stick knocked out of his grasp by Brown (blown call) but has to one-up the situation by taking Brown's stick and then playing with it. While the officials blew the call on Brown, Letang's double-minor just wasn't very smart with the team down by two goals.
@myregularface gif ---> Letang penalty
Sullivan pulled Zatkoff under 3 minutes to play but it did little for Penguins as the team falls 4-2 snapping a nine game winning streak at home against the Lightning.