Thursday, November 17, 2011

Game #19 - at Tampa Bay Lightning

2011-12 Game 19

Pittsburgh Penguins (11-4-3, 23 points) at Tampa Bay Lightning (8-7-2, 18 points)

Connolly has started to score a few goals.  He has a promising future.
Why does it matter?
It's the first meeting of the year with the team that bounced the Pens from the playoffs last year.  Please don't talk to me about "extracting a small measure of revenge" or anything silly like that - it is just a regular season game.  The real reason it matters is that the Pens have had problems scoring goals against Tampa Bay.  This is a chance to push the envelope and put some pucks in the net.

What has been happening lately?
  • Pens - A roaring comeback with four goals in the third against Colorado.
  • Lightning - A two game road trip led to two straight losses.  They were out-scored 8-2 over the two games (in St Louis and Winnipeg).
Questions to be answered
  • What will the Pens do against the 1-3-1?  I can't see them pulling the Flyers' stunt, though I'd love to see them do it.
  • Will anyone stay awake if the Lightning take the lead?  Watching them with a lead is worse than watching the Devils or the Wild when they were trapping with the best of them.  It's deadly for a viewer (and that's the biggest reason for the NHL to find a way to get rid of it).
  • What is wrong with Steve Downie?  As much as I don't like the guy, he's better than 3 points and a -12 in 17 games...
Keys to the game
  • Stop Martin St. Louis.  That could be the only key for this one.  Seriously.  He always seems to save something extra for the Pens.
  • Be careful on the power play.  The Lightning will look to attack if they see a forward on the point.
  • Roll the lines.  The Bolts play everyone a significant number of minutes.  Their lowest average time-on-ice guy is Adam Hall at 11:12.  The Pens have been much more top heavy lately.  That won't work against the Bolts, who will be fresher in the third if the Pens try that tonight.

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