Jan 5, 2011, 11:13 PM EDT
When it comes to hockey, the season seems too long and constantly changing for there to be many “statement games.” Yet when you beat a team by seven goals and not only force a team to pull a goalie but then make them go back to said goalie, maybe it’s safe to call it a statement game.
You can label the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 8-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning however you want, but make no mistake about it: the Pens humiliated the Bolts in this contest. To paraphrase Bruce Boudreau in his post-Winter Classic press conference, it’s ultimately only two points, but Pittsburgh emphatically justified their position atop the East above Tampa Bay (and 13 other teams).
When it comes down to it, Steven Stamkos’ embarrassing penalty shot gaffe was a microcosm of the game itself, with Tampa Bay falling flat and Pittsburgh coasting to victory.
The Penguins can be happy that the rout didn’t depend solely on Sidney Crosby, either. The superstar center earned one assist, but he was upstaged by his hard-hitting linemate Chris Kunitz, who scored a hat trick in the game. It was a great game for the team’s attacking defensemen, as Alex Goligoski scored one goal and three assists while Kris Letang provided three helpers as well.
Dwayne Roloson was pulled after allowing three goals in the first period, then found himself back in net after Dan Ellis allowed three of his own. The 41-year-old Roloson then allowed two more as he produced a polar opposite performance compared to his shutout of the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.
The Penguins gave themselves a small lead over the Flyers for the Atlantic and the Lightning for the top spot in the East. Tampa Bay is still ahead of Washington, but that lead is smaller after this beating.
- Update: Crosby on ice with Penguins teammates Friday, leaves early 4
- Ouch: Wild reportedly suspend Harding for ‘non-hockey injury’ 24
- Keeping Kuemper: Wild sign goalie to two-year deal reportedly worth $2.5M 14
- Selanne regrets harsh words toward Boudreau 7
- Flyers’ Timonen admits chances of playing are ‘really slim’ 7
- Desjardins (a.k.a. not Torts) makes good first impression on Canucks 27
- Leafs deny rift between Kessel and coaching staff 20
- Injured Crosby, Malkin will miss start of Pens’ camp 12
- Selanne rips Boudreau in book 18
- Just how damaging are heated negotiations between Jackets, RFA Johansen? 38
- Heeeeeere’s Johnny! Davidson shreds Johansen’s agent for ‘baffling, nonsensical’ contract demands (62)
- Chiarelli: At some point, I’m going to have to trade a defenseman (56)
- Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal (55)
- Will the NHL publicize divers? (48)
- No icing on the PK? The USHL will see how that looks (43)