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Lightning shut down Penguins 4-1

by Lonnie Herman
TAMPA -- Dwayne Roloson still has the magic touch against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Roloson, whose goaltending fueled Tampa Bay's comeback victory against the Penguins in the playoff last spring, stopped 33 shots on Thursday as the Lightning beat Pittsburgh 4-1. It was the teams' first meeting since the Lightning beat the Penguins 1-0 in Game 7 last spring.

While his teammates were quick to credit him for the win, the 42-year-old goaltender gave the credit to his defense -- Tampa Bay blocked 25 shots, including five by Victor Hedman, and the Lightning went 7-for-7 against the Penguins' power play.

"Everybody did what they were supposed to do," Roloson said. "Guys were blocking shots, getting pucks in deep, and it sounds cliché but that's what you have to do to win a hockey game. That's all we did, was the little things.

"Last year is last year," Roloson said. "We're focusing on this year."

The Lightning generated only 18 shots on Marc-Andre Fleury, but that was more than enough for the win as Roloson extended his St. Pete Times Forum winning streak to four games -- he's allowed one goal or less in three of those games.

"Roloson was at his best tonight," coach Guy Boucher said. "If your goalie isn't at his best you will not beat this team, and tonight he was."

Boucher was also enthused about his team's efforts in front of Roloson.

"What we know about our team is guys buy into blocking shots," Boucher said. "Whether it's (Nate) Thompson, (Adam) Hall, or our entire defensive team, we know how important it is and we're prepared to take the physical punishment for success."

Vincent Lecavalier scored a pair of unassisted goals for the Lightning, which has won six in a row at home.

Pittsburgh held the Lightning without a shot for the first eight-plus minutes, but Lecavalier made Tampa Bay's first shot count when he stole the puck from Jordan Staal in the Penguins zone, went in alone on goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and slid the puck through the five-hole at 8:38 for his seventh goal of the season.

Rookie Brett Connolly made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 4:08 of the second period, and Steve Downie scored again with the man advantage 2:04 into the third. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma pulled Fleury early and Lecavalier hit the empty net with 4:11 to play.

Tyler Kennedy spoiled Roloson's shutout bid a minute later.

Although his League-best penalty-killers allowed two goals, Bylsma said that, in several ways, he liked how his team played.

"Clearly the special teams battle was the difference," Bylsma said. "Two power-play goals for them and us not cashing in on our opportunities. A lot of them came late and we were pressing at that point in time, but they won the battle 2-0, and that's pretty much the difference in the game."

Although they have played exceptionally well at home, Tampa Bay has struggled on the road, losing four of their last five; a situation that has frustrated Boucher and his club

"I'd love to give you something about that so then we could get the coach away from us about it," Lightning defenseman Eric Brewer said. "That would be nice, but I really don't know. I just have no answer for it."

No answer was needed Thursday, as Tampa Bay has two more home games before its next road game.

This one belonged to Roloson.

"He was huge," Connolly said. "He made some great saves for us, so that's why he's here and that's why he's a great goalie."

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