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Lightning vs. Penguins Preview: The Lightning Litmus Test

Tampa Bay comes to town for the Pens' first real test of the season.

Pittsburgh Penguins' Jason Zucker vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images.

The two most recent back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions face off in the second game of the season at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday when the Pens take on the Lightning. This is the first major match-up of the year and is a real test of the Penguins against one of the NHL's fellow elite franchises. Tampa is fresh off of their third straight Stanley Cup Final appearance and continues to have most of their team core from that three-year run in place.

Current records for each side have the Lightning 1-1-0 and the Pens are off to a perfect start at 1-0-0.

And here are the "it’s way too early to even be counting these" team leaders for each side:

Pittsburgh Penguins:

Points: Sidney Crosby- 3.

Goals: Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, Kasperi Kapanen, Evgeni Malkin, Bryan Rust, Jason Zucker- 1.

Assists: Sidney Crosby, Danton Heinen, Kris Letang- 2.

Shots: Sidney Crosby & Rickard Rakell- 7.

Hits: Josh Archibald- 4.

Tampa Bay Lightning:

Points: Steven Stamkos- 3.

Goals: Steven Stamkos- 3.

Assists: Mikhail Sergachev, Vladislav Namestnikov, Alex Killorn- 2.

Shots: Steven Stamkos- 12.

Hits: Philippe Myers- 6.

Game Info:

Pens Game #2: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Date: October 15, 2022

Time: 7 PM (ET)

Place: Pittsburgh, PA

Venue: PPG Paints Arena

Broadcasts: Local- ATTSN, National- ESPN+

Social Media Hashtags #: #LetsGoPens #GoBolts

Team Matchup:

[2021-22 Team Performances]

Records- PIT: 46-25-11, TBL: 51-23-8

League Standing- PIT: 12th, TBL: 8th

Points- PIT: 103, TBL: 110

Goals For- PIT: 269 (11th), TBL: 285 (8th)

Goals Against- PIT: 222 (28th), TBL: 228 (27th)

Shots/GP- PIT: 34.7 (6th), TBL: 30.9 (17th)

PP% Rank- PIT: 19th (20.2%), TBL: 8th (23.9%)

PK% Rank- PIT: 3rd (84.4%), TBL: 11th (80.6%)

‘21/22 Season Series- 2-1 PIT

‘21/22 Series Goals For- PIT: 12, TBL: 8

Player Matchup:

[Stat Leaders By Team Comparisons]

-2021-22 Penguins Series Leaders vs. Lightning-

Points: Danton Heinen, Jake Guentzel, Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin- 3

Goals: Danton Heinen- 2

Assists: Kris Letang- 3

Shots: Danton Heinen, Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust- 8

Hits: Brock McGinn- 8

Blocks: Danton Heinen- 6

-2021-22 Lightning Series Leaders vs. Penguins-

Points: Steven Stamkos, Alex Killorn- 3

Goals: Alex Killorn- 2

Assists: Steven Stamkos- 3

Shots: Alex Killorn- 10

Hits: Pat Maroon- 12

Blocks: Mikhail Sergachev, Victor Hedman- 5

Goalie Matchup:

Projected starting goalies-

-Tristan Jarry- #35

[Pittsburgh Penguins]

Bio Info: 6' 2", 194 lbs. DOB: 4/29/1995 (27). From: Surrey, BC.

Drafted: 2013- Rd 2, Pk 44 (PIT). Experience: 7th Season.

2021-22 Record: 34-18-6

2021-22 Stats: 2.42 GAA, .919 SV%, 4 SOs

Career vs. TBL: 3-2-0, 2.22 GAA, .932 SV%


-Brian Elliott- #1

[Tampa Bay Lightning]

Bio Info: 6’ 2”, 219 lbs. DOB: 4/9/1985 (37). From: Newmarket, ON.

Drafted: 2003- Rd 9, Pk 291 (OTT). Experience: 16th Season.

2021-22 Record: 11-4-3

2021-22 Stats: 2.43 GAA, .912 SV%, 1 SO

Career vs. PIT: 10-6-3, 3.25 GAA, .901 SV%

Pens Update:

The Debut Crew:

A look at the debut performances of the new crop of Pens players from Game #1 vs. Arizona:

-Jeff Petry (21:39 TOI)- 1A, +2, 2 shots, 3 hits, 4 blocks.

-Ryan Poehling (12:17 TOI)- 1 hit, 1 block, 7-5 FOs (58%).

-Jan Rutta (18:16 TOI)- +1, 1 hit, 1 block, 2 shot attempts.

And the not-so-new but new lineup additions:

-Pierre-Olivier Joseph (15:00 TOI)- 3 hits, 1 block, 2 shot attempts, 1 penalty taken & 1 penalty drawn.

-Josh Archibald (10:35 TOI)- 4 shots, 4 hits, 1 penalty drawn.

PK Unit Under Pressure:

Both of the goals against the Penguins in Game #1 vs. Arizona came on the powerplay so the new-look penalty kill is facing some additional pressure to get their act together quickly for Saturday.

Jan Rutta, Ryan Poehling, and Josh Archibald specifically were all touted for their ability to be used on the penalty kill in the run-up to the season. Those duties being covered it supposed to allow the Pens to free up number one defenseman Kris Letang and other players with world-class offensive skills (like occasional PK helpers Sidney Crosby or Bryan Rust). The obvious logic is that allows them to focus on doing what they do best. That scheme is at risk if the Pens' PK is bleeding two goals per game to weak teams like the Coyotes. And the next team they face is hardly weak. Tampa, with their back-to-back Cup-winning offense, could make the Penguins pay for any lapses while in the penalty box on Saturday. A fix must be instituted quickly otherwise the game vs. the Lightning could hinge on them exploiting this weakness.

-Offseason Changes-

[Once again a recap of which players left or signed with the Pens over the summer-]

Key players added: Forwards- Ryan Poehling, Josh Archibald, Drake Caggiula. Defensemen- Jeff Petry, Jan Rutta, Ty Smith. Goalie- Dustin Tokarski.

Key players lost: Forwards- Evan Rodrigues. Defensemen- Mike Matheson, John Marino. Goalie- Louis Domingue.

-Penguins Lines-

The projected Pens lines for Saturday, October 15, 2022, vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning-


Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Rickard Rakell

Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust

Danton Heinen - Jeff Carter - Kasperi Kapanen

Brock McGinn - Ryan Poehling - Josh Archibald


Brian Dumoulin - Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson - Jeff Petry

P.O. Joseph - Jan Rutta

(Special Teams)

PP1: Crosby, Guentzel, Rust, Malkin, Letang

PP2: Carter, Rakell, Heinen, Zucker, Petry

PK1: Poehling, McGinn, Dumoulin, Rutta

PK2: Kapanen, Archibald, Pettersson, Joseph

Lightning Update:

-Offseason Changes-

Key players added: Forward- Vladislav Namestnikov, Defenseman- Ian Cole, Philippe Myers.

Key players lost: Forward- Ondrej Palat, Defenseman- Jan Rutta (to the Penguins), Ryan McDonagh.

-Injury Report-

On the injury report for Tampa they’re missing forward Anthony Cirelli and defenseman Zach Bogosian to matching shoulder surgeries.

Net Notes:

Extra game & Pens info-

The Pens will honor their recently retired longtime equipment manager Dana Heinze tonight. Heinze is a beloved figure within the team who can take some credit for helping to reshape the Penguins' locker room culture with his tireless commitment to excellence and professionalism. Heinze kept the Pens locker room in perfect working order for 16 years and through winning three Stanley Cups in 2009, 2016, & 2017. The local Johnstown, PA native was hired by the team in 2006 and was a crucial part of the continuity of the entire Sidney Crosby era. He especially excelled working with the star himself, always providing Sid with the exact equipment he needed to make his infamously particular gear modifications. We want to wish Dana a happy retirement but a sad goodbye from the organization. As he’s truly one of the good ones in the game.

It was just announced that former Penguin Colby Armstrong will join the Pens TV broadcast team in a “between the benches” reporter role for select games on AT&T Sportsnet beginning against Tampa. The always-popular Armstrong is sure to be a hit in that role with viewers and players alike.

For The Penguins: Danton Heinen. He excelled again these similarly built Bolts last season for the Pens. In three games played against them, he scored two goals and three points and led the team with eight shots for a 25% shooting percentage.

For The Lightning: Alex Killorn. Winger Alex Killorn had a knack against the Pens in 2021-22 in an almost identical way that Heinen did for Tampa. Killorn led the Lightning with two goals, three points, and 10 shots vs. the Penguins in last season’s series between these teams.


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