Tampa Bay (23-16-3) at Pittsburgh (11-31-3)

  • Game info: 7:30 pm EST Tue Jan 27, 2004
  • TV: SUN, ROOT
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Pittsburgh Penguins will hope to avoid setting a dubious record when they begin a home-and-home set against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Mellon Arena.

The Penguins have lost seven straight home games, tying a franchise record. The last time they were this bad in their own building was in October 1983, the season before they drafted Mario Lemieux.

Pittsburgh has not won at Mellon Arena since beating Chicago 1-0 on Dec. 29.

The Penguins, who are the NHL’s worst team with just 30 points, have also lost a season-high six straight overall, their longest losing streak since dropping nine in a row last season.

Pittsburgh has been outscored 25-14 during its latest skid.

The Penguins’ porous defense has resulted in a lot of work for a trio of inexperienced goaltenders.

Jean-Sebastien Aubin, rookie Marc-Andre Fleury and Sebastien Caron have faced a little less than 40 shots per night and have combined to allow a league-high 3.66 goals per game. Pittsburgh has allowed an NHL-high 183 goals, including 46 on the power play.

Fleury was overmatched on Saturday, allowing five goals on 33 shots in a 5-2 loss to Colorado.

Fleury, the top overall pick in the 2003 draft, has allowed 15 goals in his last three starts. The 19-year-old netminder is 1-11 since starting his NHL career 3-2-2.

Tampa Bay has won two straight and seven of its last 10.

Forward Martin St. Louis had three goals and an assist as the Lightning cruised to a 6-2 victory over Calgary on Saturday.

It was the second hat trick of the season for St. Louis and third of his career. The four points matched a career high set earlier this season against Montreal.

With just one regulation loss in 10 games, Tampa Bay has opened a six-point lead over Atlanta atop the Southeast Division.

“It’s so much easier to have success individually when the team’s playing so well,” said St. Louis, who has 22 goals. “Everybody’s very confident right now and we’re all feeding off that.”

The teams conclude their set Thursday at Tampa Bay.

STANDINGS (through Jan. 25): Lightning - 55 points, 1st place, Southeast Division. Penguins - 30 points, 5th place, 35 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Lightning - St. Louis, 22 goals, 27 assists and 49 points; Chris Dingman, 110 PIM. Penguins - Ryan Malone and Rico Fata, 11 goals; Dick Tarnstrom, 19 assists and 28 points; Kelly Buchberger, 92 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Jan. 25): Lightning - Power play: 13.2 percent (28 for 212), 25th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.9 percent (141 for 166), 12th. Penguins - Power play: 14.7 percent (34 for 232), 19th. Penalty killing: 79.1 percent (174 for 220), 30th.

GOALTENDERS: Lightning - Nikolai Khabibulin (12-13-5, 2 SO, 2.40 GAA); John Grahame (11-6-1, 1, 1.66). Penguins - Aubin (2-4-0, 0, 2.28); Fleury (4-13-2, 1, 3.56).

SEASON SERIES: Lightning, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Jan. 13; Lightning, 3-1. At Pittsburgh, Cory Stillman and Brad Richards scored less than a minute apart to lead the Lightning, who outshot the Penguins 31-13.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Lightning - 12-9-3-1 on the road; Penguins - 7-14-3-0 at home.

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Team Stat Leaders

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Points
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