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Lightning Bring Down Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sam Lafferty (18) and Tampa Bay Lightning's Ryan McDonagh (27) fight during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Tampa Bay Lightning finally grabbed a lead and regained some of their swagger in the process.

Ondrej Palat and Ryan McDonagh scored 10 seconds apart in the second period and the Lightning picked up their first regulation victory of the season with a 5-1 win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday night.

A night after a loss to Buffalo that included giving up three goals in the third period, the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions had their most complete performance of the young season.

Brayden Point’s backhand 31 seconds into the second gave the Lightning their first lead in regulation this season. When Palat and McDonagh beat Tristan Jarry twice just past the game’s midway point, the Lightning could exhale a bit for the first time in a long time.

“There’s a lot of talk about back-to-backs and how hard they are,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “Sometimes back-to-backs are needed. We needed a game right after (Monday) night. I had a good feeling the guys would respond. They certainly did tonight.”

Mikhail Sergachev and Alex Killorn added third-period goals for Tampa Bay, and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 shots for the Lightning, who won in Pittsburgh for just the fourth time in their last 17 visits.

The game also gave the Lightning a small measure of revenge after the short-handed Penguins topped them 6-2 in Tampa Bay in the season opener two weeks ago, putting a bit of a damper on a night the Lightning raised their 2021 Stanley Cup banner to the rafters.

Tampa Bay looked a step slow that night and is still searching for its footing early on in their bid for a “three-peat,” but on Tuesday the Lightning did flash the quick-strike ability that’s become their trademark during their run at the top.

Pittsburgh — playing without injured stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin — made an extended push to draw even in the middle of the second period. The Penguins pinned the Lightning deep into their own end for over a minute. Vasilevskiy made a couple of key saves and shortly after the Lightning cleared the zone, they pounced.

Pittsburgh defenseman Brian Dumoulin’s lead pass was intercepted by the Lightning, and Alex Barre-Boulet fed a streaking Palat, who beat Jarry from the slot to make it 2-0 11:18 into the second.

McDonagh broke it open 10 seconds later when the Lightning controlled the ensuing faceoff and Steven Stamkos skated behind the Pittsburgh net, giving McDonagh enough room to get open for a one-timer that gave the Lighting an opportunity to relax.

“They’re a high-powered offense and you give them the opportunity to play offense like that, they’re going to take advantage of it,” Penguins forward Jason Zucker said.


The Penguins saw their hot start minus Crosby and Malkin come to an end. Pittsburgh fell to 3-1-2, the first time in six games they’ve failed to record a point. Zucker’s third-period goal spoiled Vasilevskiy’s bid for a shutout but Jarry wasn’t quite as crisp as usual while making 26 saves.

“I thought our team competed hard,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “I think we put ourselves in a position to win the hockey game. I don’t think the score was indicative of how the game was.”


Pittsburgh appeared to take the lead with 5:16 left in the first period when Brock McGinn followed his shot from the right circle and raced to the net to tap in the rebound. The goal was waved off because officials blew the whistle, even though the puck never stopped moving.

Sullivan said referee Marc Joannette came over and apologized afterward for losing sight of the puck.

“I was appreciative of his honesty,” Sullivan said. “That’s hockey, there’s a human element sometimes to it.”


Crosby participated in an optional skate Tuesday morning and is nearing a return after undergoing left wrist surgery in early September.

Sullivan joked he’s confident his team’s longtime captain will get his spot in the lineup back whenever he’s cleared by medical officials.


The last time the Lightning led in regulation before Tuesday night was Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final on July 7, on their way to a 1-0 victory and the franchise’s third title.

So, yeah, being in front was kind of nice.

“It helps out in a lot of areas,” McDonagh said. “It just creates more momentum for you, makes the other team press a little bit. You keep it simple and keep going north and forecheck, you get more goals that way. It was a good sign for us.”


Lightning: Returns home for two games, starting Thursday against Arizona.

Penguins: Continues an eight-game homestand Thursday night when Calgary visits.


NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Andrew Mangiapane had two of Calgary’s four goals in the first period, and the Flames extended their winning streak to four games with a victory over the New Jersey Devils.

Milan Lucic, Elias Lindholm and Matthew Tkachuk also scored for the Flames. Calgary backup goalie Dan Vladar made 27 saves.

Pavel Zacha had two goals and Dawson Mercer also scored for the Devils.

Nico Daws allowed three goals on seven shots in his second career start before being lifted in favor of Scott Wedgewood, who finished with 20 saves.

The Flames have won all four games on their current road trip, which concludes with a matchup at Pittsburgh on Thursday.


Reilly Smith scored a short-handed goal, Robin Lehner stopped 26 shots and injury-plagued Las Vegas snapped a four-game slide with win over Colorado.

It was Smith’s seventh short-handed goal for Vegas.

Chandler Stephenson also scored and Keegan Kolesar added an empty-netter with 29.9 seconds left to seal the win in the matchup between two of the top teams in the West who haven’t exactly been playing at their best.

Vegas has a valid reason — injuries to big names. But the Avalanche just hasn’t been able to hit its stride so far this season. They dropped to 1-2 at Ball Arena after finishing 22-4-2 in friendly confines a season ago, which was tied for the most wins.

Cale Makar had the only goal for Colorado. Darcy Kuemper settled in after a rough start to make 26 saves.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Juuse Saros made 28 saves to lead Nashville over San Jose.

Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg and Mikael Granlund scored for Nashville, winners of two straight.

Timo Meier scored and James Reimer made 23 saves for the Sharks, which have lost two in a row following their season-opening four-game winning streak.

Duchene scored the game’s first goal a little more than a minute into the opening period on a Nashville power play.


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