Sunday, March 14, 2010

Grinding One Out

The Pittsburgh Penguins needed tough defense and solid goaltending from Marc-Andre Fleury in order to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on Sunday afternoon and receive two all important points in the standings. Fleury made 21 out of 22 saves, including some acrobatic ones near the end of the game to preserve the 2-1 lead for the Pens. Beating Nittymaki was no easy task either, however, as he stopped 37 of the 39 shots thrown at him. The first to do so was Pascal Dupuis early in the third on a wrist shot set up by a touch pass from Matt Cooke by the net. This was the tying goal at the time, and gave the Pens much momentum. Sergei Gonchar scored the go-ahead powerplay goal on a slapshot from the point set up by Alexi Ponikarovsky and Sidney Crosby. There were several "ugly" setbacks to this win, however, with none being bigger than the questionable status of Evgeni Malkin. Malkin did not return to the ice in the third period, and it is unknown what the problem is and how long it will effect him. Another story was former Flyer Steve Downie's attempt to intentionally injure Sidney Crosby. He intentionally twisted Crosby's leg when they were going for the puck along the side boards. Crosby limped off the ice, but returned to the ice several shifts later with no signs of injury. Tampa Bay's lone goal was scored by Vincent Lecavalier midway through the second period. Dan Bylsma also made some key changes to the starting lineup, including playing Jay Mckee over Alex Goligoski and Tyler Kennedy over Maxime Talbot. It is unknown whether he will continue to rotate scratches, especially with the return of enforcer Eric Godard sometime possibly in the near future. The Penguins next game is the all important rematch with the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday night. This is another "4 point game" and the Penguins' last chance to avoid being swept by the Devils in the season series.

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