Despite major offseason changes, the Pittsburgh Penguins are the only NHL team without a victory. Judging by their latest performance, they don’t have too many reasons to be concerned.
Pittsburgh will try to build on an impressive comeback and record its first win when it faces the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Pittsburgh fell behind Philadelphia 5-1 in the second period Friday, but Ryan Malone and Sidney Crosby began the comeback with goals 57 seconds apart to make it 5-3 after two periods. Dick Tarnstrom’s power-play goal at 5:20 of the third made pulled the Penguins within one, and Maxime Talbot’s fluke goal with 8:03 left sent the game to overtime.
The Penguins, however, were unable to finish the job as Flyers defenseman Mike Rathje scored a power-play goal 3:17 into the extra session.
“We really got to work on making ourselves accountable earlier,” Penguins left wing John LeClair said. “We put ourselves behind the eight-ball and it makes it a tough game.”
Crosby finished with a goal and an assist, giving him a team-high eight points. He has points in all five games and is among the NHL scoring leaders.
Mario Lemieux picked up his first two assists of the season for the Penguins, who have gone into overtime in four consecutive games since a season-opening 5-1 loss at New Jersey.
The Lightning, who have played four of their first five games at home, are coming off their second straight loss, 4-3 in a shootout to visiting Buffalo on Thursday.
Martin St. Louis, the 2003-04 NHL MVP, has been held to a goal and an assist so far. He failed to score on a breakaway with five minutes left in regulation on Thursday.
“I might be squeezing the stick a little too much right now,” St. Louis said.
The Lightning can also blame their slow start on their power play as they are just 2-for-28 this season.
“The whole thing with the power play is gaining control of the puck,” Lightning coach John Tortorella said. “Then you have the foundation to let your players use their creativity. Our biggest problem is gaining control of the puck.”
Tampa Bay dominated Pittsburgh in 2003-04, winning all four meetings by a combined score of 23-4.
STANDINGS (through Oct. 13): Lightning - 5 points, 2nd place, 1 PB, Southeast Division. Penguins - 4 points, 2nd place (tied), 2 PB, Atlantic Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Lightning - five tied with 2 goals; four tied with 3 assists; Prospal, 5 points; Pavel Kubina, 20 PIM. Penguins - Ziggy Palffy, 3 goals; Crosby, 6 assists and 8 points; Sergei Gonchar, 10 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 13): Lightning - Power play: 6.7 percent (2 for 30), 28th in NHL. Penalty killing: 94.1 percent (32 for 34), 2nd. Penguins - Power play: 16.1 percent (5 for 31), 16th. Penalty killing: 85.2 percent (23 for 27), 15th.
2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Lightning, 4-0.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 29, 2004; Penguins, 5-1. At Tampa, Fla., Richards and St. Louis were among four Tampa Bay players with a goal and an assist as the Lightning sent the Penguins to their eighth straight loss.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Lightning - 0-1-0 on the road; Penguins - 0-0-1 at home.