Game 5 Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs Pittsburgh Penguins

The Tampa Bay Lightning enter into Game 2 of their 7-game homestand tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In spite of the divisional realignment, the Florida Panthers remain the Lightning’s closest geographical rival, and so opposing teams on road swings will continue to play back-to-backs in Sunrise and Tampa Bay. Tonight, the Bolts get the benefit of facing a tired Pittsburgh Penguins squad that got rocked 6-3 by the Panthers last night in the Cats’ home opener.

AHL goaltender Jeff Zatkoff was called up to replace the injured Tomas Vokoun, and did not play well in front of an admittedly suspect Pittsburgh defense. Zatkoff (whom you may recall from a memorable Syracuse Crunch game last AHL playoff season) stopped only 24 of 30 total shots in the game for a .800 save percentage, stopping just 21 of 25 shots at even strength (.840 even-strength save percentage). The Penguins, however, left Zatkoff in, saving their starter Marc-Andre Fleury for the Bolts tonight. Fleury is 3-0-0 with a .963 save percentage and one shutout.

The Pens, as expected, are a terrific puck possession team, currently fourth in the league in 5v5 score close Corsi For % (57.4%) and 5th in Fenwick For % (58.3%). Tampa Bay sits at 14th (51.7%) and 16th (49.6%) in those measures, so while the Bolts have shown improvement in their puck possession game so far as compared to last year, this will be another true test (like games against the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins) against an Eastern Conference heavyweight.

Perhaps driving some of the success for Pittsburgh however is an inordinately high PDO (108.4, good for 3rd in the NHL), in part due to Fleury’s above-average save percentage. His career average save percentage is .910 so the .963 is expected to regress down (and hard) sooner rather than later. And Tampa Bay has a fairly low even-strength shooting percentage right now (7.4%, 18th in the NHL) so perhaps that regression will start tonight with Steven Stamkos, who just broke down the dam with a hat trick against Florida?

SEASON SERIES
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NOTES

Rosters

LIGHTNING PENGUINS
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TB Statpack

TEAM POSSESSION, SCORING, SHOOTING
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PLAYER SCORING
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PIT Statpack

TEAM POSSESSION, SCORING, SHOOTING 
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PLAYER SCORING
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Team stats cited from Extra Skater.

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