Mar 4, 2013, 8:03 AM EST
NBCSN’s ongoing coverage of the 2013 campaign will continue tonight when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Consol Energy Center at 7:30 p.m. ET.
If there’s one thing these two teams have excelled at this season, it’s finding the back of the net. Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh rank first and second respectively in goals per game and only one other team, the Anaheim Ducks, even comes close to matching these two offensive titans.
Of course, it helps that Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay also have the top two offensive threats in the league.
Sidney Crosby, with his concussion problems behind him, has only been held off the scoresheet in five of Pittsburgh’s 22 games. He leads the league in points with 34 and has an incredible 27 points in his last 15 contests.
Steven Stamkos is slightly behind Crosby in total points, but there has been no goal scorer more effective than Stamkos this season. The 23-year-old forward has found the back of the net in seven of his last eight games and leads the league with 15 goals in just 21 contests. If this were a full 82-game campaign, then that pace would put Stamkos just shy of his second straight 60-goal campaign.
While Stamkos and Crosby can be counted as elites, only one of their respective teams deserves the same level of praise. The Pittsburgh Penguins rank second in the Eastern Conference while the Tampa Bay Lightning hold the 13th seed with a 9-11-1 record.
After goaltending issues sunk Tampa Bay last season, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman made a major effort to address that need over the summer. The centerpiece of those efforts was his acquisition of Anders Lindback from the Nashville Predators.
24-year-old Lindback had been a solid backup for the Predators for a couple years and seemed ready to take the next step. However, so far he’s struggled and appears to have at least temporarily lost the starting gig to Mathieu Garon, who will make his fourth straight start tonight, according to the Tampa Bay Times’ Damian Cristodero.
Unfortunately for the Lightning, Garon has a 1-4-0 record with a 4.28 GAA in six career games against the Penguins.
Tampa Bay is hungry to end their four-game losing streak, but Pittsburgh isn’t a team that can be easily overwhelmed through offensive might alone. Garon and the Lightning’s defense will need to step up to the daunting task of trying to contain Crosby and the Penguins.
Probable goaltenders: TBL – Garon (2-7-0, 2.86 GAA, .911 SV%) | PIT – Marc-Andre Fleury (10-5-0, 2.40 GAA, .912 SV%)
Top scorers: TBL – Stamkos (15-17-32, 21 GP) | PIT – Crosby (10-24-34, 22 GP)
Tampa Bay – Forwards: Benoit Pouliot (upper body), Ryan Malone (lower body) Defensemen: Mattias Ohlund (knee), Sami Salo (lower body)
Pittsburgh – Forwards: Evgeni Malkin (concussion) Defensemen: Paul Martin (lower body)
Dec 11, 2013, 5:20 PM EST
Only five others have done it before.
Dec 11, 2013, 4:45 PM EST
Petr Mrazek called up from the AHL.
Dec 11, 2013, 4:33 PM EST
It wasn’t plywood. Come on, people.
Dec 11, 2013, 3:55 PM EST
Injury is “coming along slower than we anticipated,” according to coach Noel.
Dec 11, 2013, 3:30 PM EST
“This is not a full body check in which contact to the head was unavoidable,” ruled Brendan Shanahan.
Dec 11, 2013, 3:18 PM EST
Chicago is once again leading the NHL in attendance.
Dec 11, 2013, 2:19 PM EST
Tough call for Glen Sather.
Dec 11, 2013, 2:07 PM EST
All the latest from the crease…
Dec 11, 2013, 1:25 PM EST
37.1 per game, to be exact.
Dec 11, 2013, 1:13 PM EST
Veteran winger might require surgery.
The Chip ‘n’ Chase: Outrage over hockey violence, Gary Bettman is a happy man, Darryl Sutter is awesome, and more!
Dec 11, 2013, 12:59 PM EST
Also, has John Tortorella really changed?
Dec 11, 2013, 12:41 PM EST
He’ll undergo tests when the team returns to Detroit.
Dec 11, 2013, 12:21 PM EST
No word yet if permission has been granted.
Dec 11, 2013, 12:05 PM EST
Former Devils alternate captain speaks his mind.
Dec 11, 2013, 11:47 AM EST
Leaves the AHL as its leading scorer.
Dec 11, 2013, 11:28 AM EST
Morgan Rielly to follow?
Dec 11, 2013, 11:15 AM EST
It’s been quite the goalie carousel since 2010.
Dec 11, 2013, 10:59 AM EST
Minnesota has just five wins from 14 games away from Xcel this season.
Dec 11, 2013, 10:45 AM EST
He’d be a huge get for Team Sweden.
Dec 11, 2013, 10:24 AM EST
His job might be safe despite the team’s struggles.
- Cowen gets two-game suspension for hit on Girgensons 10
- Rangers must consider Callahan’s injury history in contract talks 12
- The Chip ‘n’ Chase: Outrage over hockey violence, Gary Bettman is a happy man, Darryl Sutter is awesome, and more! 24
- Report: Isles coach Capuano not seen as problem 11
- Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Flyers challenge top-ranked Blackhawks 17
- Update: Ryan Callahan out 4-6 weeks with MCL sprain 15
- Four goals: Ovechkin wills Caps to stunning shootout win vs. Bolts 62
- Bettman: No decision on expansion, but they’re listening 13
- Neal admits kneeing Marchand was ‘not the smartest decision’ 78
- Leafs captain Phaneuf suspended two games for boarding 37
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (182)
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (156)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (138)
- Pens put Orpik on IR (132)
- Orpik suffers from concussion, including memory loss (118)