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RECAP: Penalties cost Penguins big time in 4-3 loss to Lightning.

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A quick start put the Penguins in front 2-0 early, but the Lightning score four power play goal to comeback and win 4-3 on Thursday night.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pregame

No Sidney Crosby for tonight’s game but Tanner Pearson does make his Penguins debut after being acquired from the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday. Matt Murray returns to the crease after Casey DeSmith started the last three contests.

Tonight also marks the debut for the Penguins new third jerseys, an ode back to the 80’s with the yellow sweaters complimented nicely with new yellow helmets.

For the Lightning, Louis Domingue gets the start in net in place of the injured Andrei Vasilevskiy .

First Period

Tampa Bay controlled most of the early going but were unable to create any dangerous chances on Murray. Nikita Kucherov was able to get off a sharp angled shot but Murray was able to knock it away with his glove to keep the game scoreless.

Just past the seven minute mark of the first period, the Penguins claim the first power play of the game as Kucherov is whistled for tripping against Jamie Oleksiak. Without Crosby, Jake Guentzel takes his place on the top power play unit for the Penguins.

Evgeni Malkin was teed up with a glorious chance early in the power play but his shot was blocked by the glove of defenseman Ryan McDonagh and the Lightning were able to kill off the rest of the Kucherov minor.

Seconds after Kucherov was freed from the box, it was teammate Steven Stamkos taking his place and this time the Penguins made it count. Patric Hornqvist delivered the game’s opening goal with a brilliant deflection off a shot from Phil Kessel for a 1-0 Penguins lead.

Kucherov came close to drawing the game back even but Matt Murray made a good glove side to keep the Penguins in front. Moments later the Penguins went back to the power play for a third time when Mikhail Sergachev sent the puck over the glass resulting in a delay of game.

Back on the power play, the Penguins doubled their lead after a loose puck found Phil Kessel in the slot and he fired it over Domingue’s shoulder for a 2-0 lead with just over six minutes remaining in the period.

Jake Guentzel came close to making it a three goal lead but Domingue came up with a sparking glove save to keep the puck out and keep the Lightning deficit at only two late in the first period.

In the waning moments of the first period, the Penguins were called for two penalties on the same play with Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin both heading to the box. Ten seconds into the 5-on-3 advantage for the Lightning, Matt Cullen was whistled for tripping and sent to the box as well.

Now up two men, the Lightning cut the Penguins lead in half with just 2.7 seconds remaining in the first period of play. Brayden Point roofed a shot from in tight on Murray to pull the Lightning within 2-1 heading into the first intermission.

Second Period

Tampa Bay began the second period with 1:38 of carry over 5-on-3 power play time and quickly even the score at two apiece off a second goal from Brayden Point just 41 seconds into the period.

The Lightning remained on the power play after tying the game and Point was able to complete a natural hat trick to give the visitors a 3-2 lead less than a minute later.

All three of Point’s tallies came on the power play and were scored in 91 seconds of game time.

Trailing for the first time on the evening, the Penguins settled down and found a way to recover rather quickly. A mistake by Domingue behind the net eventually led to a tying goal for the Penguins. Patric Hornqvist brought the game level at 3-3 from his office directly in front of goal, sliding a loose puck under the goaltender.

Garrett Wilson collided with Domingue behind the goal and went to the box for goaltender interference. Tampa Bay cashed in once again with the man advantage off a slap shot by Yanni Gourde past Murray for a 4-3 lead.

Malkin was booked for his second infraction of the evening midway through the second period but this time the Penguins flipped the script and killed off the mand advantage with no further damage done on the scoreboard.

After five consecutive penalty calls against, the Penguins went back to the power play when Mathieu Joseph was called for high sticking. The Penguins had a few looks at a tying goal but nothing got behind Domingue as the Lightning killed off the penalty.

The parade to the penalty box continued as Jamie Oleksiak was called for boarding, sending the potent Lightning power play back on the ice. Like the previous power play, however, the Penguins were able to successfully kill off the man advantage but not before a desperation poke check by Kris Letang saved a sure fire goal from Steven Stamkos.

Following the kill, the Penguins pushed back but ran out of time as the horn sounded to bring the second period to an end with the Lightning in front 4-3.

Third Period

Trailing by a goal to begin the third period, the Penguins pushed for an equalizer but were met with a stiff resistance to begin the final period of play.

Neither side could create anything in the way of a dangerous chance as the clock ticked past the midway point of the third period but the Penguins began to ramp up the pressure in the search for a tying goal.

A few long bombs only found glass behind Domingue but Zach Aston-Reese had the first real chance when he broke free for a breakaway. Aston-Reese had a step on the defense but his shot was calmly stopped and pushed to the corner by Domingue to keep the Lightning lead intact.

Matt Murray was pulled for the extra attacker with a little over two minutes left but the Penguins were never able to find that elusive tying goal and the Lightning hung on for a 4-3 victory.

With the loss, the Penguins fall to 7-7-3 on the season. Their next game is Saturday against the Ottawa Senators.

Final Thoughts

  • The Penguins dominated the first 19:30 of the game then took three penalties in the span of 14 seconds to end the first period. Those three penalties turned into a hat trick for Brayden Point.
  • Still nothing in terms of offense from the bottom six. Without Crosby in the lineup for at least the next week, the Pens will need these guys to step up or it could get really ugly.
  • Matt Murray returned to the net and was fine for the most part. He had no chance on the three Point goals then Gourde placed his goal perfectly far post out of Murray’s reach.
  • Overall the Penguins played a good game at even strength, scoring a goal and keeping the Lightning off the score sheet 5-on-5. Special teams was a different story.
  • Everyone knows how potent the Lightning power play can be so giving them chance after chance with the man advantage is not a winning strategy. Doing it while up 2-0 and controlling the game is borderline unacceptable.
  • The Penguins currently sit in last place of the Metropolitan division.