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Tampa Bay Lightning vs Pittsburgh Penguins

TV: FOX Sports activities Solar

TIME: Pregame protection begins at 6:30 p.m.


PITTSBURGH — Previous the quarter-pole and shutting in on the one-third level of the season, the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins discover themselves performing some soul-searching.
They're reaching some extent the place they will’t ignore some recurring issues.
Pittsburgh (11-10-Three) has misplaced three video games in a row for the primary time since January and is 2-Four-1 in its previous seven going right into a sport in opposition to the highest group within the East, the Tampa Bay Lightning (16-Four-2), Saturday evening at PPG Paints Area.
The Penguins have misplaced two straight at dwelling after beginning the season 6-Zero-1 there.
We all know that we’re not at our greatest proper now, however we additionally know that we’re shut,” Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray mentioned. “All people’s working laborious. All people’s sticking collectively and supporting one another. … We’re going via some adversity proper now. If we deal with ourselves accurately, we’ll be higher for it in the long term.”
There have been stretches the place scoring, significantly at even power, has been elusive regardless of a lineup stuffed with firepower. General defensive play and penalty killing have additionally been points.
At occasions, equivalent to Friday afternoon in a Four-Three loss at Boston, the Penguins have come out flat. In that sport, they overcame two, two-goal deficits, had a powerful third interval and acquired a purpose from group captain Sidney Crosby for simply the second time in 16 video games, however it wasn’t sufficient.
While you undergo some adversity, guys clearly need to have success. You'll be able to squeeze your stick slightly bit, and typically that’s all it takes,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan mentioned. “For me, all of the extra cause that we’ve simply acquired to deal with the small print and ensure that there’s an urgency to our sport and a aggressive spirit to our sport. That, for me, is the muse of turning this factor in the correct path.”
Pittsburgh has had some expensive unhealthy bounces, however doesn’t need to assign all of the blame there.
Possibly a bit, however you’ve set to work on your bounces, too, and when it’s going like this you’ve acquired to discover a technique to break via that,” Crosby mentioned. “That you must provide you with a giant win and sort of break that development.”
A victory over Tampa Bay would appear to qualify. Pittsburgh is Zero-2 in opposition to the Lightning, with each video games in Tampa — a 5-Four loss and a 7-1 pounding that was one in every of three blowout losses for the Penguins this season.
The Lightning, just like the Penguins, have been crucial of their begin Friday. They fell at Washington Three-1.
“That’s three video games in a row we’ve had a troublesome first interval,” group captain Steven Stamkos mentioned. “We’ve acquired to regulate that.”
From the surface that loss appeared extra like a bump in a street than the form of rut Pittsburgh is in. Tampa Bay had received six in a row on the street earlier than Friday and is 6-2-1 in November.
That didn’t cease the Lightning from displaying some concern for its sport currently.
I feel we predict we’re slightly bit higher than we're,” coach Jon Cooper mentioned. “There’s a cause now we have the document now we have — we’ve labored to get there — and I don’t know if we’re placing in that very same sort of effort and urgency and willpower that acquired us off to the beginning that we had.”
Defenseman Anton Stralman agreed, and seemed like somebody who doesn’t need issues for the Lightning to escalate into the sort of stretch the Penguins are in.
“It’s about, I feel, realizing the place we're and never simply assume it’s going to occur for us,” he mentioned. “There’s a number of laborious work that goes into it. It’s a mentality, I feel.”

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