TAMPA, Fla --
Don't look for the Pittsburgh Penguins
(11-4-3) to try any controversial stall tactics when they meet the 1-3-1 defense of the Tampa Bay Lightning
(8-7-2) tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum. It's just not their style.
"We won't be doing that tonight," Penguins forward James Neal
said. "You can't score just standing with the puck back behind the blue line."
And scoring is something that has been coming easily to the Eastern Conference-leading Penguins of late.
In their previous game, Tuesday night at home against the Colorado Avalanche
, Pittsburgh ripped four goals in the third period to pull out a 6-3 come-from-behind win, and they've pumped 32 or more shots on goal in seven straight games.
That production has certainly gotten the attention of Lightning coach Guy Boucher
, who will coach in his 100th regular season game tonight.
"What is there to watch out for against Pittsburgh?" Boucher said. "My answer is everything. How's that? They are just well built. Sidney Crosby
isn't there and their lines are still scary. Their defensemen are extremely smart and difficult to forecheck. If you forecheck too hard, the puck is gone and their forwards are gone and you've forechecked for nothing. But if you never forecheck, you never get the puck in their zone. It's really difficult. I think they have the best defensive core in the NHL."
There will be a few interesting streaks on the line tonight. Among them, Neal is riding a season-high seven-game points streak and Marc-Andre Fleury
takes the crease tonight with a personal eight-game unbeaten streak.
The Lightning will be putting a five-game home win streak on the line, their longest at the St. Pete Times Forum since October 2007.
One other streak to keep an eye on: Thursday night begins the sixth annual two-game Dads Trip. The Penguins have swept the fathers' trip each of the past two seasons.
One thing for certain, the dads and everyone else in attendance will likely see an up-tempo game.
"We're a fast-paced team," Jordan Staal
said. "And we don't want to slow the game down at all."