January 31, 2019 / 4:05 AM / 3 months ago

Penguins score first 4 goals to top Lightning

Kris Letang and Phil Kessel each had a goal and an assist Wednesday as the Pittsburgh Penguins downed the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2.

Jan 30, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Jack Johnson (73) handles the puck as he shields Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde (37) during the first period at PPG PAINTS Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Riley Sheahan and Sidney Crosby also scored, and Evgeni Malkin added two assists for Pittsburgh.

Goaltender Matt Murray made 33 saves for the Penguins. He is 11-2 in 13 starts since he returned from a lower-body injury.

The Penguins had lost two in a row and four of five, and were critical of their recent play after a loss to New Jersey on Monday. With the win, they knocked off the top team in the NHL.

J.T. Miller and Steven Stamkos scored for the Lightning after the team trailed 4-0. Tampa Bay has lost three of its past five games.

Andrei Vasilevskiy gave up four goals on 22 shots.

Tampa Bay had been off since Jan. 19, before a bye week, the All-Star break and a couple extra days with no games scheduled.

Pittsburgh took a 3-0 lead in the first period.

Sheahan gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead at 3:25 when he scored on a rebound of Garrett Wilson’s wraparound attempt.

Off a give-and-go with Bryan Rust, Kessel scored from nearly beyond the right post as he drove by the net to make it 2-0 at 8:05 of the first. Malkin picked up the secondary assist, the 600th of his career.

Crosby scored to make it 3-0 16 seconds after Kessel’s goal. Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point turned the puck over behind his net, and Dominik Simon set up Crosby near the left post.

During four-on-four play, Letang took a light-touch feed from Kessel. His shot from the right circle beat Vasilevskiy to the far side. It was Letang’s 108th career goal, tying him with Paul Coffey for the Pittsburgh record for goals by a defenseman.

In a rarity among elite players, Malkin and Stamkos had a short fight at 1:40 of the third period.

Miller broke up Murray’s shutout bid at 15:50 of the third, and Stamkos made it 4-2 with 2:04 left.

—Field Level Media

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