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Game Preview: Pens-Lightning

by Michelle Crechiolo @PensInsideScoop / Penguins Team Reporter

The Penguins finish a back-to-back set in the Sunshine State tonight against Tampa Bay. 

MATCH: Penguins vs. Lightning

TIME: 7 p.m. EST

PLACE: Amalie Arena

TV: AT&T SportsNet

RADIO: 105.9 FM, the X


1. Tampa Bay has an impressive 6-1-1 record, including a 4-0 mark at home. Overall, the Lightning have collected points in a season-high 6 straight games. That includes a 5-4 win over the Pens on Oct. 12 at PPG Paints Arena, where Slater Koekkoek scored his first 2 NHL goals and Alex Killorn recorded 4 assists.

2. Their first line has been lethal, as Vladislav Namestnikov (3G-5A-8P), Steven Stamkos (2G-12A-14P) and Nikita Kucherov (8G-5A-13P) are all averaging at least a point per game. Stamkos and Kucherov enter this game on 8-game point streaks, becoming just the third pair of NHL teammates to begin a season with simultaneous 8-game scoring stretches.

3. Speaking of lethal, that's an apt description for Pittsburgh's power play. The Pens went 3-for-4 on the man-advantage in their 4-3 win over Florida on Friday, with goals from Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary. They have scored at least one power-play goal in 5 straight games, going 9-for-21 (42.9 percent) over that span.

4. With so much skill and talent on both teams, the last meeting turned into what Mike Sullivan called a track meet. He said there were a lot of scoring chances on both sides and it seemed like a game where there wasn't a whole lot of defense played on either side. We'll see if things tighten up tonight.

5. This concludes the third set of an NHL-high 19 back-to-backs for the Pens. They haven't fared well on the back ends thus far, as they are 2-0-1 the first night and 0-2-0 the second night, one of those losses being to Tampa Bay, who got ahead early. After that game, Evgeni Malkin said they needed to focus on playing more simple in the first 20 minutes.


PIT - Matt Hunwick (concussion)

TBL - Cedric Paquette (upper body)


The Pens did not hold a morning skate. Sullivan will speak to the media at 5 p.m.

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