Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Wednesday, October 27th
Game 2: Friday, November 12th
Game 3: Wednesday, January 5th
Game 4: Thursday, March 31st

Lightning 1

(24-12-5, 53 pts)

Penguins 8

(26-12-3, 55 pts)

7:00 PM ET, January 5, 2011

CONSOL Energy Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

1 2 3 T
TB 0 0 11
PIT 5 2 18

C. Kunitz (Penguins - LW): Goals: 3, Assists: 0

A. Goligoski (Penguins - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 3

K. Letang (Penguins - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 3

Lightning-Penguins Preview


Dynamic, high-scoring and game-changing are adjectives that can easily be used to describe Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos.

Slumping usually doesn't leap to mind.

Two of the NHL's biggest stars look to end their brief scoring droughts Wednesday night when Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins return indoors to face Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Consol Energy Center in a matchup involving two of the Eastern Conference's top teams.

Announced Tuesday as the top vote-getter by fans for the All-Star Game later this month, Crosby didn't have a point Saturday in the Penguins' 3-1 loss to Washington at a rainy Winter Classic witnessed by more than 68,000 at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field.

With all the fanfare surrounding the league's annual outdoor event now done, Crosby is happy to be back on a more normal routine.

"It was nice to go through that but, when it's over and when you're past it, you're ready to move on," he said Tuesday. "I don't think anybody looks back on that and says it was terrible. ... But we're used to our routine and habits. To able to move forward and into the second half of the season, when games become more important, this is a fun time of year."

The loss to the Capitals marked the second straight game in which the Penguins captain failed to show up on the scoresheet. While that wouldn't normally cause much concern, his slump has come after recording 26 goals and 24 assists in a 25-game point streak, the league's longest since the early 1990s.

Crosby still leads the league with 32 goals -- one more than Stamkos -- and 65 points in 40 games, and Pittsburgh (25-12-3) begins play tied with Tampa Bay and Philadelphia for the East lead with 53 points.

Defenseman Brooks Orpik said a matchup with the Lightning after being pushed in practice is a good thing.

"The first game being Tampa Bay, after having a couple of hard practices, I think is definitely good for us. It was important to have some hard practices," he said.

While the Penguins have had some time to revert back to old routines, the Lightning (24-11-5) will be one night removed from perhaps their most exciting game of the season.

Martin St. Louis scored 2:54 into overtime and Dwayne Roloson made 34 saves in his Tampa Bay debut, a 1-0 victory over the Capitals on Tuesday.

Acquired from the New York Islanders on Saturday, the 41-year-old Roloson impressed his new coach by stopping all eight shots from slumping star Alex Ovechkin.

"I think I'll decide right now, how's that? Yeah, so he's in nets (Wednesday)," Guy Boucher said of his new goalie.

While Roloson provides a solid net presence, the Lightning need their top scorer to get back on track. Stamkos, second in the NHL with 56 points, hasn't had one in wins over the New York Rangers and Capitals after a season high-tying four points in a victory over Montreal on Thursday.

Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay have split two contests this season with each winning on home ice.

Stamkos had three assists while Crosby notched one in the Lightning's 5-3 win Oct. 27. Crosby answered with a goal and assist Nov. 12 in the Penguins' 5-1 victory as Stamkos scored the lone goal for Tampa Bay.