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Lightning hand Penguins fourth consecutive loss, 3-1

by Brian Compton

Happy Birthday, Zenon Kenopka.

The rugged winger scored a rare goal on Saturday afternoon to help the Tampa Bay Lightning earn an impressive 3-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Kenopka put a rebound past Marc-Andre Fleury with 5:34 remaining in the second period for what proved to be the game-winner. It was his sixth goal in 79 NHL games. Mike Smith made 25 saves in the victory.

''I don't know if it's better on your birthday or against the Stanley Cup champs,'' said Konopka, who turned 29 on Saturday. ''Obviously, it would have meant nothing if we lost, so a game-winner on your birthday is pretty cool.''

Bill Guerin scored for the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins, who have lost four in a row. Sidney Crosby, who has one goal in his last seven games, and Evgeni Malkin, without a goal over his past four games, were held off the score sheet, although Malkin did hit the post midway through the third period.

''The urgency level now should be there if it has not been,'' Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. ''And maybe it hasn't been, looking at our record over the last few games.''

Martin St. Louis opened the scoring just 63 seconds into the game when he beat Fleury on a backhander for his ninth goal of the season. Guerin tied the game late in the first as he backhanded a rebound past Smith to make it 1-1 for his 13th goal of the season.

Steve Downie put TampaBay up by a pair at 7:11 of the third period. With the teams at even strength, Downie took a pass from Mattias Ohlund and fired a shot from the right circle past Fleury to make it 3-1. It was Downie's eighth goal of the season.

The Penguins continue to struggle on the power play. They're last in the NHL and have scored just twice in their last 32 chances on the road.

''There's no real excuses,'' Crosby said. ''We're not executing and we're paying the price for it. We've got a group who's got a lot of character and pride in their game, but our focus has got to be on executing.''

Just three nights after allowing Buffalo's Drew Stafford to score on a penalty shot, Fleury made a pad save on Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier's breakaway with 15:16 remaining in the third. But it wasn't enough to prevent TampaBay from winning for the fifth time in its last seven contests.

''We're not there yet just because we won a few games,'' Konopka said. ''Let's not get ahead of ourselves. It's starting to change in the right direction.''

Material from wire services was used in this report

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