Penguins 4, Lightning 3 (overtime)
Some news and notes, facts and quotes from the Penguins’ 4-3 overtime victory against Tampa Bay at Consol Energy Center Saturday:
*** James Neal converted an Evgeni Malkin feed at 1:27 of overtime, beating Tampa Bay goalie Anders Lindback over the right shoulder from the right side to give the Penguins the victory.
*** The Penguins scored on three of six chances with the extra man after failing to get a man-advantage goal in four of their previous five games. “You can’t take six penalties against them,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “That’s the bottom line. They’ve got the best [power play] in the game. You watch the five guys they roll out there, it’s not just class. It’s world-class.”
*** Neal’s goal was his 23rd of the season, but his first in his past eight games. “He was so mad,” Malkin said. “He had lots of scoring chances, but didn’t score. It was a big goal for him.”
*** The Penguins swept the series and have won nine games in a row against the Lightning, their best-ever run against Tampa Bay.
*** The Penguins have scored on 10 of 20 power plays in their past four games against the Lightning.
*** Malkin, who set up the Penguins’ first and last goals and scored the two in between, has had four or more points in 19 games over his career. Three of the past six have been against Tampa Bay. “He was flying,” center Sidney Crosby said. “He just dominated the whole night. … He was on fire. It’s nice to see you teammates play like that, and get rewarded.”
*** Rookie goalie Jeff Zarkoff’s assist on Crosby’s power-play goal was his first point in the NHL. He is the 28th goalie to record an assist with the Penguins.
*** Penguins right winger Craig Adams appeared in his 276th consecutive game, tying Nick Harbaruk for the third-longest ironman streak in franchise history. He trails only Jordan Staal (302) and Ron Schock (313).
*** Neal’s overtime winner was his third of the season, giving him a share of the franchise record with Colby Armstrong, Crosby, Ryan Malone Aleksey Morozov and Jaromir Jagr.
*** The Penguins have won 26 home games, tying the fourth-highest single-season total in franchise history.
*** Neal, on the Penguins having an overtime power play in consecutive games. “It’s definitely a little unusual, but we’ll take that.”
*** Filppula’s goal was his 24th, a personal best, and extended his points streak to eight games.
*** Crosby, who opened the scoring, has five goals in his past five home games and an eight-game scoring streak against Tampa Bay.
*** Lightning center Steven Stamkos, who had been shut out in five of nine games after returning from a broken right leg, scored one goal and set up another. “He looked really good,” Crosby said. “Didn’t look like a guy who’s missed as much time as he did. He was dangerous out there, generated a lot for them.” Stamkos has a give-game points streak against the Penguins, and four goals in his past three games at Consol Energy Center.
*** The Lightning forced overtime when Ondrej Palat went around rookie defenseman Olli Maatta and beat Zatkoff at 18:38 of the third period. “It’s always deflating when a team scores late, but I like the way we didn’t let it affect us,” Neal said.
*** Crosby, on his one-timer, slap shot goal to open the scoring: “If you get an open shot, teams block shots so well now that you don’t want to pass them up. Part of it is knowing when to shoot, and also being ready to shoot.”
*** The Penguins will face St. Louis Sunday at 1:08 p.m. at Consol Energy Center, and most of their remaining 12 games will be against clubs either in the playoffs or in serious contention for a spot. “All these games are going to be a good tune-up, to get ready,” Zatkoff said. “There are some desperate hockey teams.”