for this game

Smith, Szczechura lift Lightning past Penguins

Dec 24, 2008 - 4:02 AM
By Chris Adamski PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Mike Smith stopped all 15 shots he faced and rookie Paul Szczechura had a goal and an assist as the Tampa Bay Lightning snapped a three-game losing streak with a 2-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday night.

Matt Pettinger also scored and former Penguin Mark Recchi notched two assists for Tampa Bay, which had won only one of its previous 13 and two of its past 19.

Smith stopped eight shots in the first period, four in the second and three in the third for his second shutout of the season and eighth career.

"It's like a sigh of relief," Smith said. "You almost forget how to win, it seems like the last couple weeks. I don't remember the last time I did win.

"Obviously it does feel pretty good, it's a lot of weight off your shoulders and nice to go into Christmas with a win. It would be a long flight back with a loss."

It was Smith's first win in 12 starts dating to November 21. It also was the first of his shutouts this season that he actually earned a win.

In his previous shutout on October 18 against Minnesota, Tampa Bay lost in a shootout.

Tuesday's contest was the first that Pittsburgh was shut out this season.

"It's nice to go home (for Christmas break) and feel good about a win," Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier said.

"If we play like we do tonight, play like that all the time, we're going to get a lot more wins. We were on the puck, we played very well, we played smart. We've got to play more games like that and good things will happen."

Both Tampa Bay goals came on rushes that came immediately after two of the Penguins' best scoring chances of the contest.

Moments after Petr Sykora made a nifty move but promptly flipped his backhander harmlessly through the slot early in the second period, Pettinger struck for only his second goal of the season.

Szczechura, a 23-year-old who was playing in only his 10th career game, set up the play by skating hard down the right wing and behind the net before centering a pass to Pettinger, who one-timed it past goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

"We don't have the right attitude right now," Pittsburgh coach Michel Therrien said. "We like to complain about each other on the bench and on the ice. They better wake up pretty quick ... I'm really disappointed with their work ethic and concentration. Until they change their attitude, we are going to have the same results."

Eleven minutes into the third while Pittsburgh's Max Talbot was serving a four-minute high-sticking penalty, Penguins superstar Evgeni Malkin was sprung at the blue line on a breakaway, but Smith stopped him on his backhand attempt.

That led seconds later to Szczechura's second goal of the season, when he redirected a slap pass from Jussi Jokinen between legs of Fleury from the left-slot.

"I just went to the net with my stick on the ice and Jokinen made a great pass to me," Szczechura said.

"I think the whole team played well tonight. 'Smitty' (Smith) played great back there; he made the saves when he had to. Offensively we had some chances and fortunately we buried some key chances and it got us the win."

This was only Tampa Bay's eighth win of the season, worst in the NHL.

"You lose to the last place team in the league at home," said Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney, who played in his first game this season after offseason foot surgery. "It doesn't get much worse than that."






  • SandiHockeyMom Say Whaaaaa Lightning! Way to go! When Daddy bet against you! Daddy!!!

    Lightning 2, Penguins 0  3rd - 2:10Dec 23 9:59 PM


  • ** CONFIRMED **
    NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    PITTSBURGH 0

    Dec 23 9:59 PM
  • 15
    roots
    SandiHockeyMom Added 5 roots

    Lightning 2, Penguins 0  3rd - 2:10Dec 23 9:58 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    PITTSBURGH 0
    3RD PRD: TAM - (PP) PAUL SZCZECHURA 2 (JUSSI JOKINEN, MARK RECCHI)
    11:14

    Lightning 2, Penguins 0  3rd - 8:46Dec 23 9:38 PM
  • 10
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Lightning 1, Penguins 0  End of 2ndDec 23 9:20 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 0 1 1
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: TAM - MATT PETTINGER 2 (PAUL SZCZECHURA, MARK RECCHI) 5:15
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAM 13 9 22
    PIT 8 4 12
    GOALIES: TAM -

    Dec 23 9:06 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    PITTSBURGH 0
    2ND PRD: TAM - MATT PETTINGER 2 (PAUL SZCZECHURA, MARK RECCHI) 5:15

    Lightning 1, Penguins 0  2nd - 14:45Dec 23 8:42 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 0 0
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAM 12 12
    PIT 8 8
    GOALIES: TAM - MIKE SMITH
    PIT - MARC-ANDRE FLEURY

    Dec 23 8:14 PM
  • 5
    roots
    aqualung1 Added 5 roots

    Lightning vs. PenguinsNov 11 11:10 PM