Game 41: Lightning Vs. Penguins Preview

By: Casey Shea
(Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

(Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins will close out the first half of their season tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Pittsburgh is coming off a 3-1 loss to the Washington Capitals in the Winter Classic, but have had a few days to reset and refocus.

Jordan Staal made his season debut against the Capitals and has skated on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Tyler Kennedy in practice this week.

The Pens will be looking to snap a two-game losing skid that began a week ago with a 2-1 shootout loss against the New York Islanders.

This will be the third meeting between the two teams this season. The Lightning won the first game 5-3 on Oct. 27 in Tampa Bay. Pittsburgh won the second meeting 5-1 on Nov. 12 at the CONSOL Energy Center.

On Tuesday, the Lightning shutout the Capitals 1-0. Newly acquired goaltender Dwayne Roloson made 34 saves and Martin St. Louis scored in overtime to secure the victory. With the win, the Lightning moved into sole possession of first place in the Southeast Division.

The Lightning are led by sniper Steven Stamkos (31 goals, 25 assists), who only trails Sidney Crosby for the league lead in goals and points.

However, St. Louis has had a great first half of the season with 17 goals and 34 assists.

With Roloson making his Lightning debut last night, it may indicate that Dan Ellis (11-6-5, 3.03 GAA, .886 save percentage) will be in goal against the Penguins.

In three career appearances against the Pens, Ellis is 2-0 with a 2.21 GAA and .922 save percentage.

Overall, Ellis is 4-1-1 in his last six starts.

For Pittsburgh, Crosby (32 goals, 33 assists) will be looking to get back on the scoresheet after being shut out in each of the last two games.

It remains to be seen who will be in net for the Penguins because they will hit the road for a game against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.

Marc-Andre Fleury (17-9-2, 2.31 GAA, .918 save percentage) holds an, 8-8-3 record against the Bolts with a 2.46 GAA and .911 save percentage.

Brent Johnson (8-3-1, 2.14 GAA, .925 save percentage) is 7-2-1-2 with a 2.52 GAA and .915 save percentage against Tampa Bay.

The puck is set to drop at 7 p.m. and can be seen on FSN Pittsburgh.


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