|TBL||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
|PIT||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
PITTSBURGH (AP) - There's almost never a good time for the Pittsburgh Penguins to go against Vincent Lecavalier and the Tampa Bay Lightning. This certainly wasn't one of them, not with star rookie Sidney Crosby showing his first bit of frustration at not yet winning a game.
Lecavalier scored a goal and set up two others and the Lightning extended Pittsburgh's season-opening winless streak to a franchise record-tying six games by winning 3-1 Saturday night.
Despite rebuilding what was the NHL's worst team in 2003-04 with Crosby and a number of veteran stars, the Penguins - the league's only winless team - are 0-2-4 during only the second winless six-game start in team history, The other came when they were 0-3-3 in 1969-70, the franchise's third season.
``There's a sense of urgency, but you can't push the panic button,'' Crosby said. ``It's not a time to tinker, because we've got the right guys to win games.''
There's also a sense of exasperation, partly because of four consecutive overtime losses going into Saturday night, and it was illustrated by Crosby's first NHL display of on-ice emotion.
Crosby set up Ziggy Palffy's slap shot from the top of the slot in the third for the Penguins' only goal, and the 18-year-old rookie now has at least one point in all six Penguins games, with two goals and seven assists.
But Crosby contributed to the flurry of Penguins penalties that kept Tampa Bay on the power play for much of the Lightning's decisive two-goal second period. He drew a slashing penalty at 12:17 and then complicated it by complaining, and was given an unsportsmanlike penalty that gave the Lightning a four-minute power play.
``It was uncalled for on my part,'' Crosby said. ``I just said when he (referee Paul Devorski) made the call that it's just the emotion of the game ... and we exchanged some words.''
Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk said, ``I thought tonight was probably the best game we've played. ... But it's difficult playing against any team coming from behind. I think we were short-handed for almost 5 1/2 minutes straight at one point.''
The Lightning, ending a two-game losing streak, didn't score during the man advantage created by Crosby's penalties. However, Ruslan Fedotenko had already put them up 2-0 with a power-play goal of 5:45 of the second, only the Lightning's third power play goal in 37 opportunities.
``Things were going in, that's the way it went tonight, and we need to keep it going because it's a long season,'' said Lecavalier, who hasn't converted a number of good scoring chances despite having three goals. ``It's really frustrating after a game and you've had five good chances and none of them are goals, but things went in tonight.''
Lecavalier made it 3-0 with 14 seconds left in the period with his third of the season, wristing a shot past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury after Vinny Prospal eluded defenseman Sergei Gonchar and made a cross-ice pass onto Lecavalier's stick. Lecavalier has 17 goals and seven assists in 24 career games against Pittsburgh.
Lightning goalie Sean Burke stopped 20 of 21 shots in his first start and first victory with the team, playing even though John Grahame was 7-1 against Pittsburgh. Burke, who signed after Stanley Cup goalie Nikolai Khabibulin went to Chicago, had played only eight minutes this season.
``It felt good to play, but it felt better to play and get a win,'' Burke said. ``I was more nervous the last couple of days than I usually am, and I thought about the game more than I usually do. But once I got out on the ice, I felt good.''
Burke almost had the second period off - the Penguins got only three shots - and Pittsburgh was short-handed so much during the period, Olczyk used Mark Recchi and Palffy on his penalty-killing unit. Tampa Bay outshot Pittsburgh 18-3 in the period and 30-21 overall.
Prospal also got his third of the season midway through the first period, snapping a shot past Fleury after Gonchar couldn't clear the puck out of his own zone. Prospal has eight goals in 26 games against the Penguins, who have been outscored 10-5 in the first period.
Fedotenko's goal was his first since getting both Lightning goals in their 2-1 victory over Calgary in Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup finals.
Notes: The Penguins were coming off four consecutive overtime games. They have never played five in a row. ... Fleury started again despite being pulled during a 6-5 overtime loss to Philadelphia on Friday, when he gave up four goals on 20 shots. ... Tampa Bay was 4-0 against Pittsburgh in 2003-04 and hasn't lost in Mellon Arena since Nov. 2, 2002.
|Vinny Prospal (3) ASST: Vincent Lecavalier (1), Ruslan Fedotenko (4)|
1 - 0 TBL
|PPG - Ruslan Fedotenko (1) ASST: Vincent Lecavalier (2), Brad Richards (3)|
2 - 0 TBL
|Vincent Lecavalier (3) ASST: Vinny Prospal (4), Cory Sarich (4)|
3 - 0 TBL
|Ziggy Palffy (4) ASST: Sidney Crosby (7)|
3 - 1 TBL
|Sergei Gonchar Hooking against Ruslan Fedotenko|
|Ruslan Fedotenko Too many men/ice - bench|
|Brooks Orpik Boarding against Paul Ranger|
|Dick Tarnstrom Interference against Martin St. Louis|
|Sergei Gonchar Hooking against Freddy Modin|
|Josef Melichar Holding against Dan Boyle|
|Sidney Crosby Slashing against Dan Boyle|
|Sidney Crosby Unsportsmanlike conduct|
|Ruslan Fedotenko Holding the stick against Brooks Orpik|
|SA: 21||TOI: 59:41|
|Saves: 20||EV: 18 - 19|
|PIM: 0||PP: 2 - 2|
|SV%: .952||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 30||TOI: 59:06|
|Saves: 27||EV: 20 - 22|
|PIM: 0||PP: 6 - 7|
|SV%: .900||SH: 1 - 1|