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game recap

Murray makes 33 saves, Penguins defeat Lightning

Malkin, Letang reach milestones for Pittsburgh

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

Murray's pad save on Point

TBL@PIT: Murray denies Point with solid pad save

Brayden Point makes a nice move into the slot before firing a wrister and Matt Murray drops down to deny him in the 2nd period

  • 00:45 •

PITTSBURGH -- Matt Murray made 33 saves for the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 4-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning at PPG Paints Arena on Wednesday.

Murray is 11-2-0 and has allowed two goals or fewer in nine of 13 starts since returning from a lower-body injury that caused him to miss nine games. He was 0-4-1 in six starts before the injury after beginning the season 4-1-0.

"We knew coming in [the Lightning] were going to be a really good test for us," Murray said. "They're so dynamic. They're at the top of the League for a reason, so I thought we played a solid game and did a pretty good job, I think, throughout."


[WATCH: All Lightning vs. Penguins highlights]


Kris Letang and Phil Kessel each had a goal and an assist for the Penguins (27-17-6), who lost four of their previous five games.

J.T. Miller and Steven Stamkos scored for the Lightning (37-11-2), who have lost three of five. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 18 saves.

The Penguins scored on three of their five first-period shots to take a 3-0 lead. Riley Sheahan scored at 3:25 of the first before Kessel and Sidney Crosby scored 16 seconds apart.

Video: TBL@PIT: Sheahan buries rebound to open the scoring

"We made three mistakes and they all end up in our net," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "It's tough to come back from that hole. But you leave that first period and the guys, obviously down 3-0, weren't dejected. ... Clawed back a little bit, but still you're down four. It's tough."

Garrett Wilson recovered his own rebound and skated behind the net before passing under Vasilevskiy to Sheahan near the left post. Sheahan scored on a wrist shot to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead.

Kessel made it 2-0 at 8:05 after Bryan Rust drove to the net and attempted to go forehand to backhand. The puck slipped off Rust's stick, and Kessel tapped it in while drifting past the left post for his third goal in four games.

Video: TBL@PIT: Malkin notches 600th assist on Kessel's goal

Evgeni Malkin got his 600th NHL assist on the goal. 

Crosby extended the lead after Dominik Simon intercepted a pass from Brayden Point intended for Erik Cernak. Simon set up Crosby for a one-timer from above the crease that made it 3-0 at 8:21.

"Just didn't look," Point said regarding his turnover. "Threw it blind, right on [Simon's] tape. He makes a good play. No chance for [Vasilevskiy]. So tough one, for sure. Just trying to use the speed of the game a little bit. Sometimes it takes a little bit. Hopefully the next one is a little better."

Video: TBL@PIT: Crosby slams Simon's feed past Vasilevskiy

Letang made it 4-0 at 6:02 of the second period with his 12th goal of the season. It was his 108th goal in 730 games, all with Pittsburgh. That tied Paul Coffey (108 goals in 331 games) for the most by a defenseman in Penguins history.

"It's pretty surreal," Letang said. "Growing up watching him, never thought I would have my name next to his, so it's still surreal. I can't believe it."

Miller cut Pittsburgh's lead to 4-1 with 4:10 remaining in the third period before Stamkos made it 4-2 on a power-play goal with 2:04 left.

Video: Clutch Performance: Malkin records 600th assist


They said it

"To have a first period where we did a lot of good things but the score didn't indicate that, it's just, what are you going to do? We had some looks. We had some offensive-zone time, for sure, in the first. It would've been nice to get one." -- Lightning captain Steven Stamkos


"I know from being around this group of players for as long as I have that when we have some personality on our bench then we usually bring it to the ice. We had it tonight. There was some chatter on the bench. There was a little bit of swagger that I think is important." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan

Video: TBL@PIT: Letang ties Coffey with a perfect wrister


Need to know

Lightning forward Tyler Johnson returned after missing their 6-3 win against the San Jose Sharks with a lower-body injury on Jan. 19. ... Stamkos has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in a seven-game point streak. ... Point played his 200th NHL game. ... Penguins forward Derick Brassard did not play because of an upper-body injury and is day to day. ... Penguins forward Teddy Blueger, who was recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League on Tuesday, made his NHL debut at fourth-line center. He was plus-1 in 6:22. ... Malkin got his 601st NHL assist on Letang's goal. He is the fourth player in Penguins history to reach 600, joining Mario Lemieux (1,033), Crosby (741) and Jaromir Jagr (640), and the fourth Russia-born player in NHL history, joining Sergei Fedorov (696), Sergei Zubov (619) and Pavel Datsyuk (604). ... The Penguins went 16:41 without a shot on goal after Crosby scored. Letang ended the drought with their first shot of the second period at 5:02.


What's next

Lightning: At the New York Islanders on Friday (Nassau Coliseum; 7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, MSG+, SUN, NHL.TV)

Penguins: Host the Ottawa Senators on Friday (7 p.m. ET; ATTSN-PT, TSN5, RDS, NHL.TV)

Video: Letang ties Penguins record in 4-2 win over Lightning

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