Watch: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
After a landslide victory over the Arizona Coyotes, the Pittsburgh Penguins face a much tougher Tampa Bay Lightning team. Here are a few things to watch for in this primetime Saturday night game.
1.) Take advantage of tired legs
The Penguins have a clear advantage over Tampa Bay for a reason: they’re rested. The Lightning play their second straight game when they visit PPG Paints Arena. After a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Lightning expect closer competition against the Penguins.
Meanwhile, the Penguins come out of a practice day. Expect the Lightning to split their minutes a bit more evenly to preserve their best players. The Penguins will have to take advantage of it. The big guns of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin should have plenty of chances to take control of the game.
The Lightning also launched their perennial Vezina Trophy goaltender candidate in Columbus last night. It’s likely the Penguins will see Brian Elliott again rather than Andrei Vasilevskiy.
2.) Activate the fourth line
While Teddy Blueger remains considered a day-to-day for the Penguins, the fourth line didn’t look impressive in the season-opening win. Without Blueger, newcomers Ryan Poehling and Josh Archibald are looking to establish chemistry with Brock McGinn to revive that fourth line.
Archibald played with speed and courage in the Penguins’ win over the Coyotes, but he will need to be more impactful in this game against the Lightning. The same can be said of Poehling and McGinn. While the other three lines have all had some success, the fourth line has struggled. They have another chance to right ship against a tough opponent.
3.) Early Power Play Success
The Penguins’ power play seemed in sync in their first home win. Granted, it was against the basement Coyotes, but a strong start to the season is exactly what this special teams unit needs.
After the Penguins’ disappointing power-play production last season, the team has made it a priority to improve for this season. Through a game, they seem to be on the right track. The Penguins had six power-play chances and converted two of them, with goals from Jake Guentzel and Malkin.
The power play must once again become a deadly threat. With the number of stars on their special teams, they have no excuse to finish 19th in the league as they did last season.
With Tampa Bay playing in a back-to-back game, look for the Penguins’ fresh legs to shoot penalties against a tired Lightning team. And even though the Lightning’s penalty kill is miles ahead of the Coyotes, the Penguins should have plenty of time to maintain that early power-play momentum.
The Penguins meet the Lightning at PPG Paints Arena for a 7:00 p.m. showdown. Be sure to check out the Inside the Penguins post-game coverage for more!
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