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game recap

Penguins 4, Lightning 1

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:46 AM

Associated Press

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Penguins 4, Lightning 1
Tampa Bay Lightning 1, Pittsburgh Penguins 4

PITTSBURGH (AP) -The Pittsburgh Penguins are also using their defense to get off to a fast start to the season.

Defenseman Sergei Gonchar had a goal and an assist, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 22 saves, and the team had 19 blocked shots in a 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.

Defenseman Jay McKee had seven of those blocks, raising his NHL-best total to 28.

"Marc-Andre's been our best player every night, but we're all out there frustrating the other team," McKee said. "There are a lot of things clicking for us right now, especially defensively."

Pittsburgh is 7-1, the franchise's second-best start. The best was 7-0-1 in 1995, and another 7-1 start came in 1986. The Penguins' 2.25 goals-against average is sixth-best in the league.

"When you look at the efforts that are coming from different areas and different positions, every night we win as a team," coach Dan Bylsma said.

"We have high expectations here, and we have a lot of confidence as a team," Sidney Crosby said. "When you have those things, you don't need to be perfect or to do everything exactly right. You just find ways to win."

Crosby finished with two assists.

Tampa Bay remained winless on the road at 0-2-1, including a 7-1 loss Thursday in Ottawa.

Afterward, Lightning general manager Brian Lawton and coach Rick Tocchet were talking to the players for more than five minutes behind closed doors of the visitors' locker room.

Tocchet sounded most displeased by Pittsburgh's 19-11 edge in blocked shots.

"Pittsburgh, if you watch them, they blocked a ton of shots, and we didn't block any," Tocchet said. "We seemed light on our sticks. There are certain guys the past three, four games who are losing battles because they're light on their sticks, and we're going to have to get back to basics here, quickly."

Tocchet was asked if management is considering personnel changes.

"Yeah, I'm sure there will be if these guys have something hanging over their heads," he said. "Yeah, I think Brian will do it."

St. Louis declined to discuss what Lawton and Tocchet said to the players but said he was dissatisfied with the Lightning's effort.

"This is a tough team to play," Martin St. Louis said of the Penguins. "They won the Cup last year, and you've got to be really sharp against that team and we weren't as sharp as we can be and, obviously, the penalties hurt."

Bill Guerin and Gonchar gave Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead in the first period, with Guerin ramming Evgeni Malkin's power-play rebound into a vacated net and Gonchar slapping an unscreened point shot past goaltender Antero Niittymaki.

Tampa Bay pulled within 2-1 early in the second period when Steven Stamkos swatted St. Louis' rebound out of the air for a power-play goal.

But less than two minutes later, Pascal Dupuis nullified that by deflecting Gonchar's wrist shot over Niittymaki.

"Sarge is the master of the shot from the blue line, and that's why he's one of the best defensemen in the league every year," Dupuis said. "He looks over the net and waits for just the right time to let it go."

Pittsburgh went ahead 4-1 at 11:21 of the third on Mike Rupp's wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle. Crosby set him up with a whirling pass from behind the net.

Notes: The Penguins are 7-2 in their past nine against Tampa Bay. ... Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier's goal drought is at 14 games, counting the final seven of last season. ... Since Bylsma took over as coach, the Penguins are 20-0-2 when scoring first.

scoring summary
1st Period
04:57
PIT
PPG - Bill Guerin (3) ASST: Evgeni Malkin (7), Alex Goligoski (5)
1 - 0 PIT
17:10
PIT
Sergei Gonchar (2) ASST: Brooks Orpik (1), Sidney Crosby (2)
2 - 0 PIT
2nd Period
06:18
TBL
PPG - Steven Stamkos (4) ASST: Martin St. Louis (8), Vincent Lecavalier (6)
2 - 1 PIT
08:15
PIT
Pascal Dupuis (1) ASST: Sergei Gonchar (5), Ruslan Fedotenko (3)
3 - 1 PIT
3rd Period
11:21
PIT
Mike Rupp (2) ASST: Sidney Crosby (3)
4 - 1 PIT
penalty summary
1st Period
03:40
TBL
Drew Miller  Hi-sticking against  Tyler Kennedy
05:40
PIT
Alex Goligoski  Tripping against  Stephane Veilleux
2nd Period
00:50
PIT
Sidney Crosby  Holding the stick against  Victor Hedman
05:30
PIT
Pascal Dupuis  Slashing against  Ryan Malone
12:01
PIT
Evgeni Malkin  Hooking against  Vincent Lecavalier
14:33
TBL
Jeff Halpern  Holding the stick against  Mike Rupp
17:44
TBL
Zenon Konopka  Slashing against  Alex Goligoski
17:54
TBL
Matt Walker  Slashing against  Evgeni Malkin
18:41
TBL
Paul Ranger  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
3rd Period
05:30
TBL
James Wright  Hooking against  Jordan Staal
07:18
TBL
Victor Hedman  Holding against  Evgeni Malkin
12:00
PIT
Ruslan Fedotenko  Slashing against  David Hale
14:19
PIT
Bill Guerin  Too many men/ice - bench
17:33
PIT
Mark Eaton  Tripping against  Zenon Konopka
goalie stats
Antero Niittymaki
Antero Niittymaki
2-1-0
SA: 33TOI: 57:47
Saves: 29EV: 15 - 18
PIM: 0PP: 14 - 15
SV%: .879SH: 0 - 0
Marc-Andre Fleury
SA: 23TOI: 59:55
Saves: 22EV: 16 - 16
PIM: 0PP: 6 - 7
SV%: .957SH: 0 - 0