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Penguins

Shea-ved Ice: Pens Vs. Lightning Preview

By: Casey Shea
(Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)

(Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)

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TAMPA BAY (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Penguins will be looking to win their second straight game when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday afternoon.

On Friday, the Penguins ended a six-game losing streak with a 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers.

Steve Sullivan, Evgeni Malkin, Tyler Kennedy and James Neal scored for the Penguins, who have fallen into an eighth place tie in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Now, the Penguins will face a Lightning club, which has been a shell of the one that knocked Pittsburgh out of the playoffs last spring.

The Bolts are tied with the New York Islanders for last place in the Eastern Conference with a 17-22-4 record. They are also dealing with a six-game losing streak of their own.

The biggest problem with Tampa Bay this season has been their dismal goaltending. Dwyane Roloson practically put the Lightning on his back in the playoffs, but has been dreadful this season.

Remember when former Bolts coach John Tortorella ripped John Grahame apart over the “25 percent rule?” Rolo is now teetering on that same ledge.

Roloson has appeared in 23 games and is 6-10-2 with a 3.68 GAA and a .880 save percentage.

If Tampa Bay has a designated backup goaltender here it would be Mathieu Garon, but his numbers aren’t great either.

So far, Garon is 11-12-2 with a 2.94 GAA and a .900 save percentage.

A lone bright spot has been the play of sniper Steven Stamkos who has 30 goals and 19 assists already. He is also tied for second in the NHL scoring race.

This will be the second meeting between the two teams this season. Tampa Bay won the only other game 4-1 back on Nov. 17.

For Pittsburgh, Neal scored his 22nd goal of the season in Friday’s win and is quickly closing in on his career high of 27, which he set in 2009-10.

Despite all the injuries, Malkin has been a dominant force on the ice this season with 18 goals and 28 assists. He only trails Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin by six points in the scoring race despite only playing in 36 games this season.

Against the Lightning, Malkin has six goals and eight assists in 19 career games.

In goal, Marc-Andre Fleury continues to be the steady hand for the Penguins. Fleury made several key stops from point-blank range against the Panthers to help Pittsburgh end their losing streak.

The win improved his record to 20-12-2 to go along with his 2.25 GAA and .914 save percentage.

Against Tampa Bay, Fleury is 9-10-3 with a 2.40 GAA and a .912 save percentage.

The puck is set to drop at 1 p.m. and can be seen on Root Sports.

You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CaseySheaPens.

For More Penguins Coverage Check Out Puck Talk With Popchock.

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