Mar 4, 2013, 8:03 AM EDT
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)
Apr 21, 2014, 12:01 PM EDT
Just a few storylines heading into this one…
Apr 21, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT
Paul Stastny, Nathan MacKinnon, and Gabriel Landeskog have scored seven of the Avs’ nine goals.
Apr 21, 2014, 11:47 AM EDT
Justin Fontaine also gets in.
Apr 21, 2014, 11:24 AM EDT
Spearing has been a hot topic in the early stages of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Apr 21, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT
First playoff game at Nationwide in five years tonight.
Apr 21, 2014, 11:02 AM EDT
Columbus comes home after a game of franchise firsts in Pittsburgh.
Apr 21, 2014, 10:43 AM EDT
John Gibson and Sami Vatanen on their way down.
Apr 21, 2014, 10:24 AM EDT
Maybe he was a big fan of donuts.
Apr 21, 2014, 9:44 AM EDT
They’re a young team that isn’t intimidated.
Apr 21, 2014, 8:15 AM EDT
Columbus and Dallas host playoff games for first time in years.
Apr 21, 2014, 2:19 AM EDT
This has happened a few times in these playoffs.
Apr 21, 2014, 1:56 AM EDT
Apr 21, 2014, 1:28 AM EDT
This one could’ve gotten uglier than it did.
Apr 21, 2014, 12:47 AM EDT
Took this game over in the second period.
Apr 21, 2014, 12:20 AM EDT
Patrick Roy: “We’re going to be very smart about when he’s going to come back.”
Apr 20, 2014, 11:44 PM EDT
Apr 20, 2014, 11:28 PM EDT
Was shaken up after taking a knee to the head.
Apr 20, 2014, 10:52 PM EDT
Just another game between these two California rivals.
Apr 20, 2014, 10:34 PM EDT
Jon Cooper straddles the line between snarky and careful.
Apr 20, 2014, 10:09 PM EDT
Tough breaks for Tampa Bay.
- Wild hoping last change can help turn the tide versus Avs 0
- Wild changes: Kuemper starts, Brodziak sits, Heatley draws in 2
- No hearing scheduled for Richards after Couture spear 8
- Kings’ Dustin Brown: ‘We got our [expletives] kicked’ 14
- Feeding frenzy: Sharks devour Kings to take 2-0 series lead 25
- Canadiens push Lightning to brink of elimination with 3-2 win 31
- WATCH LIVE: Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks (Game 2) 0
- Bruins handle Red Wings 4-1, tie series 1-1 41
- Flyers overcome two-goal deficit to finally win at MSG 68
- NHL suspends Seabrook three games for charging into Backes 91
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) (152)
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind (116)
- Flyers want to ‘punish’ McDonagh (113)
- Bad luck strikes twice: Lightning goal waved off, Stamkos takes knee to head (112)
- NHL suspends Seabrook three games for charging into Backes (96)