Pittsburgh Penguins (33-18-9, 75 pts) at Tampa Bay Lightning (35-25-3, 73 pts)
Lightning 4, Penguins 3 (OT) on November 8th in Pittsburgh
Lightning 3, Penguins 2 (SO) on January 7th in Pittsburgh
Lightning 3, Penguins 2 on January 9th in Tampa Bay
The Lightning have dominated the Pens lately. They are 11-0-0 against the Pens since January 17th 2003. That's pretty depressing.
The Pens, however, have ended several long droughts this season. Ending streaks against Toronto and Florida come to mind immediately. The Pens also have a chance for an unheard-of 8-0 record against the Flyers. Maybe this is the time to get things rolling against the Bolts.
The Bolts are only 17-14 on their own ice. They have been hot lately, ever since they swept the Pens back in early January. They caught the Thrashers and passed them for the division lead.
The Pens, for their part, managed to rebound with a solid win in Florida on Thursday night. Would there be a better way to keep things going than with a win over Tampa Bay?
The formula for victory is simple: take advantage of your chances. The Lightning are almost Devil-like in their ability to not take penalties. You have to convert your chances when you get them. The Pens aren't so good about converting chances on the road, but they have been better lately (the last time they didn't manage a power play goal in a road game was January 10th).
Jocelyn Thibault will get the start in net again for the Pens. I like this decision. Get Fleury well rested and give Thibault a chance to play back-to-back. You never know when he's going to need to jump in there down the stretch (or in the playoffs, if they make it).
Andre Roy won't be in the lineup for the Bolts - he received a three game suspension for arguing with the referees and feigning a head butt on one of them after a recent game. That seems a little bit crazy, I'd say...
Lightning blog - LightningHockeyCentral
They have a nice article on the recent acquisition of Shane O'Brien. I'm glad he's not going to play today against the Pens. He's exactly the kind of player I don't like watching when he's playing against the Flightless Birds...
Hidden fact - all three times these teams have met this season, they've been within 2 points of each other.
I'm looking for another solid effort from Thibault and an end to the losing streak against Tampa.
Let's Go Pens!