Here are the key takeaways from this Lightning victory, their 40th of the regular season.
-The Lightning had a strong defensive performance against St. Louis on Thursday during the final two periods, but they struggled at points in this game. However, the Penguins also had a tough defensive night. Both teams committed costly turnovers, errors that led directly to opposition goals. The Penguins forecheck created problems for the Lightning - two d-zone Tampa Bay turnovers resulted in Pittsburgh goals. The Penguins surrendered two odd-man rush goals off turnovers - Yanni Gourde's tally off a two-on-zero rush and Anthony Cirelli's shorthanded tally on a two-on-one.
-Depth scoring was an important component to the win. The two most consistent lines for the Lightning in this game were the Cirelli and Cedric Paquette lines. They each contributed a five-on-five goal (Paquette's line was on the ice for Erik Cernak's goal) and did well in terms of puck possession.
-The Lightning's other two lines also each had a five-on-five goal. Brayden Point and Gourde teamed up on the two-on-zero first period goal. Tyler Johnson, who was moved onto a line with Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat in the third period, scored the go-ahead goal early in the final frame. Not only was depth scoring important, so was a balanced attack.
-The third period was a strong one for the Lightning, who rebounded after surrendering a two-goal lead in the second. They scored two third period goals, held the Penguins to just five third period shots and won 12 of 17 faceoffs in the frame. Once Johnson gave them the lead back (for good) at 4:54, they limited Pittsburgh's Grade-A chances the rest of the way.
-The Lightning entered this game wanting to shoot the puck more frequently than they had in some recent games. They fired 19 shots on net in the first period and did well throughout the night to not pass up opportunities to shoot.
Lightning Radio Three Stars of the Game (as selected by Phil Esposito):
1. Anthony Cirelli - Lightning. SHG and assist.
2. Sidney Crosby - Penguins. Assist.
3. Erik Cernak - Lightning. Goal.