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Penguins vs. Lightning Game Preview

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins

Home: 2-5-0-4
Road: 5-3-1-11

WHEN: Nov. 12, 2010 - 7:00 pm   |   WHERE: CONSOL Energy Center
FSN  |  LISTEN: Pens HD Radio, 105.9 FM
Tampa Bay Lightning
Home: 4-1-1-9

  Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning 
Adam Hall
F  -  #18
  2 Goals
  3 Assists
  5 Points
• The former Penguin leads the Lightning with a 64.3 success rate on draws and has won 38 of his last 60 faceoffs (63.3 percent).

• Back with the Lightning this season after spending 69 games last season with Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate in Norfolk.

• Was one of the Penguins’ top performers during the 2008 Stanley Cup Final, scoring goals in Games 3 and 5 to help lead the Penguins to a pair of victories.
Sean Bergenheim
F  -  #10
  3 Goals
  3 Assist
  6 Points
• An offseason free agent signee from the New York Islanders, Bergenheim is a good two-way player who ranks second on the team with a plus-4 rating.

• Never one to shy away from physical contact, he ranks third on the team with 19 hits through 14 games.

• Further bolstering his reputation as a strong defensive player, he leads the Lightning with eight takeaways.
Victor Hedman
D  -  #77
 0 Goals
6 Assists
6 Points
• Second-year blueliner leads all Lightning defensemen in assists (6) and points (6) while logging a team-best 22:49 time on ice.

• Has developed into a solid defensive defender, ranking third on the team with 19 blocked shots through 13 games.

• Enjoyed a solid rookie campaign, recording four goals and 20 points in 74 games after being selected No. 2-overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
Hockey fans are in for a treat on Friday night at CONSOL Energy Center as arguably the two best hockey players in the world right now square off as Sidney Crosby and the Penguins play host to Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Crosby and Stamkos rank 1-2 in the National Hockey League in points (Stamkos, 24; Crosby, 22), goals (Stamkos, 13; Crosby, 10) and power-play goals (Stamkos, 6; Crosby, 5). Last season, the two tied for the league-lead with 51 goals, earning them a split of the ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy.

But this game will be more than just Crosby and Stamkos, as these two teams feature some of the top offensive talent in the Eastern Conference.

Tampa Bay enters this game locked in a tight battle with the Washington Capitals, whom they play on Thursday night, for first place in the Southeast Division. Leading the way for the Lightning in addition to Stamkos has been offensive dynamo Martin St. Louis and the hot goaltending of Dan Ellis.

St. Louis, who always seems to play well against the Penguins, including the Oct. 27 matchup between the teams when he scored twice and added an assist, ranks second on the Lightning behind Stamkos with six goals and 15 points through 14 games. St. Louis is a threat to score every time he touches the puck, especially with his speed to get behind the defense.

Ellis, who was signed as a free agent by the Lightning over the summer to add stability between the pipes, is riding a 3-0-1 stretch that includes a pair of shutouts. His hot stretch began with his 24-save relief appearance against the Penguins on Oct. 27, when he picked up the victory after relieving Mike Smith 12 minutes into the game.
  • Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is currently in the midst of one of his patented hot stretches. Crosby has recorded multiple-point games in four of his past five contests, including a season-high three points (1G-2A) on Wednesday against Boston. During his past five games, Crosby has recorded four goals and five assists.
  • Pittsburgh’s power play has really sprung to life, scoring in three consecutive games. During that stretch, the Penguins have gone 3-for-11 on the man-advantage (27.3 percent). Crosby, who tallied Pittsburgh’s man-advantage score on Wednesday, ranks second in the league with five power-play goals.
  • Prior to the Nov. 6 game at Phoenix, Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma spoke about wanting to see the team send more shots on opposing goaltenders. The players have responded by firing 114 shots on goal the past three games for an average of 38.
  • Although Tampa Bay won the first meeting between the two teams on Oct. 27, the Penguins have played well against the Lightning the past three seasons. Over the course of the past 13 meetings between the teams, the Penguins have posted an 8-5 record.
  • Forward Arron Asham continues to play good hockey for the Penguins since coming off the injured reserve list on Oct. 26. Asham, who scored his first goal as a Penguin on Wednesday, has three points (1G-2A) over his past five games. He has 27 hits in seven games for an average of 3.9 hits per game.


Defending St. Louis: As great as Steven Stamkos has been the past year and a half, the key to a Pittsburgh victory on Friday night could come down to how well the Penguins are able to stop Martin St. Louis, something that at times has proven difficult throughout the years. In 38 career games against the Penguins, St. Louis has 16 goals and 22 points.

Keep Malkin Skating Strong:
The move back to center seems to be paying dividends for Evgeni Malkin, who is back to skating with authority and dancing and weaving in and out of defenders since his move back to the middle last week. Malkin is coming off two of his strongest performances of the season the past two contests.
C Jordan Staal, broken right hand (up to 5 weeks)
F Mike Comrie, illness (day-to-day)
F Vincent Lecavalier, broken right hand (3-4 weeks)
F Steve Downie, back/upper-body (day-to-day)
F Simon Gagne, neck (indefinitely)
Crosby (10) Stamkos (14)
Crosby/Letang (12) Stamkos (12)
Crosby (22) Stamkos (26)
Engelland (40) Downie (58)
Letang (+6) Stamkos (+8)
Crosby (5) Stamkos (6)
Cooke (2)
Johnson (6-2-1) Ellis (4-3-2)
Johnson (2.11) Ellis (2.47)
Johnson (.927) Ellis (.910)

Matt Cooke - Teams with championship aspirations need consistent production from role players. The Penguins are a team with big goals in mind, and Matt Cooke has done his part to help the cause, recording seven points (3G-4A) over his past 13 games. He leads the team with two shorthanded goals.
Martin St. Louis - Pittsburgh is going to have its hands full trying to stop St. Louis, who has posted five points (1G-4A) over his past five contests. St. Louis had two helpers in the Lightning's loss to Washington on Thursday.

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