PITTSBURGH (AP) -- There's almost never a good time for the
Pittsburgh Penguins to go against Vincent Lecavalier and the Tampa
Bay Lightning. This certainly wasn't one of them, not with star
rookie Sidney Crosby showing his first bit of frustration at not
yet winning a game.
Lecavalier scored a goal and set up two others and the Lightning
extended Pittsburgh's season-opening winless streak to a franchise
record-tying six games by winning 3-1 Saturday night.
Despite rebuilding what was the NHL's worst team in 2003-04 with
Crosby and a number of veteran stars, the Penguins -- the league's
only winless team -- are 0-2-4 during only the second winless
six-game start in team history, The other came when they were 0-3-3
in 1969-70, the franchise's third season.
"There's a sense of urgency, but you can't push the panic
button," Crosby said. "It's not a time to tinker, because we've
got the right guys to win games."
There's also a sense of exasperation, partly because of four
consecutive overtime losses going into Saturday night, and it was
illustrated by Crosby's first NHL display of on-ice emotion.
Crosby set up Ziggy Palffy's slap shot from the top of the slot
in the third for the Penguins' only goal, and the 18-year-old
rookie now has at least one point in all six Penguins games, with
two goals and seven assists.
But Crosby contributed to the flurry of Penguins penalties that
kept Tampa Bay on the power play for much of the Lightning's
decisive two-goal second period. He drew a slashing penalty at
12:17 and then complicated it by complaining, and was given an
unsportsmanlike penalty that gave the Lightning a four-minute power
"It was uncalled for on my part," Crosby said. "I just said
when he (referee Paul Devorski) made the call that it's just the
emotion of the game ... and we exchanged some words."
Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk said, "I thought tonight was
probably the best game we've played. ... But it's difficult playing
against any team coming from behind. I think we were short-handed
for almost 5½ minutes straight at one point."
The Lightning, ending a two-game losing streak, didn't score
during the man advantage created by Crosby's penalties. However,
Ruslan Fedotenko had already put them up 2-0 with a power-play goal
of 5:45 of the second, only the Lightning's third power play goal
in 37 opportunities.
"Things were going in, that's the way it went tonight, and we
need to keep it going because it's a long season," said
Lecavalier, who hasn't converted a number of good scoring chances
despite having three goals. "It's really frustrating after a game
and you've had five good chances and none of them are goals, but
things went in tonight."
Lecavalier made it 3-0 with 14 seconds left in the period with
his third of the season, wristing a shot past goalie Marc-Andre
Fleury after Vinny Prospal eluded defenseman Sergei Gonchar and
made a cross-ice pass onto Lecavalier's stick. Lecavalier has 17
goals and seven assists in 24 career games against Pittsburgh.
Lightning goalie Sean Burke stopped 20 of 21 shots in his first
start and first victory with the team, playing even though John
Grahame was 7-1 against Pittsburgh. Burke, who signed after Stanley
Cup goalie Nikolai Khabibulin went to Chicago, had played only
eight minutes this season.
"It felt good to play, but it felt better to play and get a
win," Burke said. "I was more nervous the last couple of days
than I usually am, and I thought about the game more than I usually
do. But once I got out on the ice, I felt good."
Burke almost had the second period off -- the Penguins got only
three shots -- and Pittsburgh was short-handed so much during the
period, Olczyk used Mark Recchi and Palffy on his penalty-killing
unit. Tampa Bay outshot Pittsburgh 18-3 in the period and 30-21
Prospal also got his third of the season midway through the
first period, snapping a shot past Fleury after Gonchar couldn't
clear the puck out of his own zone. Prospal has eight goals in 26
games against the Penguins, who have been outscored 10-5 in the
Fedotenko's goal was his first since getting both Lightning
goals in their 2-1 victory over Calgary in Game 7 of the 2004
Stanley Cup finals.
^Notes:@ The Penguins were coming off four consecutive overtime
games. They have never played five in a row. ... Fleury started
again despite being pulled during a 6-5 overtime loss to
Philadelphia on Friday, when he gave up four goals on 20 shots. ...
Tampa Bay was 4-0 against Pittsburgh in 2003-04 and hasn't lost in
Mellon Arena since Nov. 2, 2002.