The Tampa Bay Lightning put together their second consecutive impressive outing Wednesday night as they defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1. After losing a multi-goal lead less than a week ago at home against Pittsburgh, the Lightning responded this time with an impressive defensive outing to close out the game.
Anthony Cirelli, Nikita Kucherov and Tanner Jeannot all recorded goals for Tampa Bay. Andrei Vasilevskiy was 53 seconds away from posting his second straight shutout after doing so Monday against Dallas. A misplay behind his own net lead to the first goal for Pittsburgh but Vasilevskiy was impressive once again in his second start since allowing six goals and getting pulled over the weekend.
Kucherov’s Run Rolls On
Nikita Kucherov recorded a goal and an assist on Wednesdnday night as his point streak reached 11 games. Those 11 games with a point also have an assist in every single one of those games. The 11 game assist streak is a new franchise record, passing Marty St. Louis who had a pair of 10 game stretches with an assist.
Kucherov’s run has been something to behold this season as he has looked like the best player in the NHL. He leads the league in scoring and has to be a leading candidate for the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP.
Cirelli Heating up
Anthony Cirelli was the best player on the ice for the Lightning Wednesday. He has been one of the best players for the Lightning as well over these two wins at home. Cirelli scored the opening goal on the power play on a re-direct on a shot-pass from Victor Hedman
Cirelli’s goal followed up a two goal performance on Monday. In these two games, Cirelli has doubled his goal total on the season as he is now up to six. Cirelli is not depended on much for offensive production as he is one of the best defensive forwards in the game. But with his new contract kicking in this year with a hefty raise, his price tag demands a bit more production and he is definitely delivering on that right now.
Lopsided Night on Special Teams
The special teams units for the Lightning have been solid all year long. Wednesday was an exhibition in how much special teams can swing a game. Both of the Lightning’s first two goals came on the power play. The Lightning struck six minutes into the game with Cirelli’s power play goal and Kucherov added to the lead just before the midway point of the second period on a wicked one timer.
In addition to another efficient night on the power play, the Lightning were equally impressive on the penalty kill. Tampa Bay killed off all four Penguin power plays including an extended five-on-three in the Third period. Pittsburgh’s power play has struggled greatly this season but killing off four penalties against a power play with that much star power will always be impressive.