Endgame: Penguins 6, Lightning 3

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Founding Partners

As per usual with Letang, he jumped right in and assumed his normal duties, skating on the top pairing with Brooks Orpik and manning the point on the top power-play unit.. Letang finished with one assist (he still leads all NHL defensemen in that category despite missing a total of 11 games this season) and skated a team-leading 24:21 minutes, over six of those coming on the power play.. He didn’t shy away from physicality, sending Alex Killorn flying into Martin St.. Louis in the third period and knocking them down like bowling pins.. Letang is an effortless skater and just has so much skill that he makes returning to game action after a long layoff look easy, when in actuality it’s not.. He still has rust to shake off, but the good news is that he has seven games left to get back feeling comfortable before the playoffs begin – and he certainly got off to the right start tonight.. POWER PLAYS Letang brought a calmness and a steadiness to Pittsburgh’s power play, which was just 1-for-14 entering the game but went 3-for-6 against the Lightning.. Led by Letang, the Penguins did a better job of entering the zone cleanly and establishing position instead of having to dump and chase.. The first goal actually came from the second unit, starting when Tyler Kennedy won a puck battle in the neutral zone, carried into the slot and sent a shot across his body to the net.. Dupuis found the rebound and lifted it into the top of the net.. The second happened as the result of pretty passing between Letang, Malkin and Iginla. source: http://penguins.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=665388

NHL on NBCSN: Lightning’s Stamkos continues scoring race vs Penguins

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 4: Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning reacts to his goal with Martin St. Louis #26 in front of Marc-Andre Fleury #29 and Joe Vitale #46 of the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 4, 2013 at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

At this point, Pittsburgh has already locked up its division and the only question is if it can claim the first seed.. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay is out of the playoff race, but that doesn’t mean this game is pointless.. This will be a key test for goaltender Ben Bishop as the Lightning see if he can be just as successful with them as he was with Ottawa.. The Lightning traded away Calder Trophy candidate Cory Conacher to get Bishop and so far the move has paid off.. However, Pittsburgh will arguably be his greatest challenge yet.. Bishop has only played against the Penguins once before and he was yanked halfway through that contest after allowing three goals on 20 shots.. This is also another key game in the Rocket Richard Trophy race.. Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos is tied with Alex Ovechkin at 26 goals each.. Stamkos has played in one less game, but given how hot Ovechkin has been lately, he needs every advantage he can get.. With 50 points, Stamkos is also attempting to surpass the injured Crosby and potentially win his first Art Ross Trophy.. His teammate Martin St.. Louis is also a candidate for the Art Ross Trophy with 49 points. source: http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2013/04/11/nhl-on-nbcsn-lightnings-stamkos-continues-scoring-race-vs-penguins/

NHL Playoff System Up for Debate, Spots Up for Grabs

The Capitals would play Ottawa, a No.. 6 seed, based on standings through Wednesday.. But, once the playoffs start, often times that discrepancy in talent and point production filters out, regardless of seed.. Last year, for instance, Florida snagged that No.. 3 seed — and home ice — and still lost in the first round to No.. 6 New Jersey.. “I think anyone who’s competitive, you might not watch it every day, but you kind of have a good feel for it,” Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik said of the race.. “I think we’ve positioned ourselves now that we don’t have to worry about trying to get every single little point to get in, which is good.” Pittsburgh clinched the Atlantic Division title by beating the free-falling Carolina Hurricanes 5-3 Tuesday.. The Penguins became the first team in the NHL to claim a division crown in this shortened season.. The Blackhawks are close to wrapping up a division crown, even as Anaheim is on the brink of clinching a playoff berth. source: http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/04/11/nhl-playoff-system-up-for-debate-spots-up-for-grabs/

NHL joins fight against homophobia in sports

Hainsey, NHLPA Executive Board member, issued a statement supporting the NHL’s alliance with You Can Play. / Photo by Vincent Pugliese/ Getty Images The National Hockey League and its players association are teaming up with an advocacy group that promotes gay rights and strives to foster a welcoming environment for gay athletes, the league announced Thursday .. The “historic partnership” makes the NHL the first of the four major U.S.. pro sports leagues to form an official alliance with the You Can Play Project, an organization that aims to end homophobia in sports locker rooms.. According to nhl.com , the official partnership with You Can Play includes a rookie symposium to educate players on LGBT issues as well as the broadcast of public service announcements.. “Our motto is ‘Hockey Is For Everyone,’ and our partnership with You Can Play certifies that position in a clear and unequivocal way,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.. “We are delighted to reaffirm through this joint venture with the NHL Players’ Association that the official policy of the NHL is one of inclusion on the ice, in our locker rooms and in the stands.” Patrick Burke, a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers, launched You Can Play last year in memory of his brother Brendan, who died in a car accident in 2010.. The year before his death, Brendan made headlines when he came out while serving as the manager of a college hockey team.. No player in a major American team sport has been openly gay during his playing career.. However, last month CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman reported that there are indications a current NFL player is “strongly considering” coming out publicly within the next few months.. “As NHL players, we all strive to contribute towards helping our teams achieve success on the ice. source: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-400_162-57579120/nhl-joins-fight-against-homophobia-in-sports/

Pittsburgh 6, Tampa Bay 3

Pascal Dupuis registered a goal and two assists, while Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin and Tanner Glass each scored once for the Atlantic Division champion Penguins, who have won three straight and 18 of their last 20 overall.. Pittsburgh, which clinched its first division crown in five years with a 5-3 win over Carolina on Tuesday, received 16 saves from netminder Tomas Vokoun.. Teddy Purcell scored twice and Brett Connolly lit the lamp once for the Lightning, who have lost three of their last four and sit eight points behind the New York Rangers for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference with eight games left.. Ben Bishop allowed all six goals on 41 shots in the setback.. Jokinen opened the scoring just over four minutes in when he pounded home a rebound off a Brenden Morrow backhander to make it 1-0 at the 4:07 mark.. Dupuis followed with a power-play marker just under two minutes later, as he buried a rebound from the low right side to double Pittsburgh’s edge at 6:02.. Purcell’s tip-in tally with four minutes left in the first trimmed the deficit in half, but the Penguins answered while on the power play early in the second when Jarome Iginla’s one-timer from the top of the left circle deflected off Kunitz before slipping past Bishop to make it 3-1 at the 1:48 mark of the second.. However, the Lightning responded just under four minutes later when Connolly lit the lamp with a one-timer at the 5:46 mark.. The Penguins, though, outshot the Lightning 14-4 in the third and scored three times in the frame to pull away.. Malkin started the flurry at the 1:24 mark when he came up with a steal near the Tampa Bay blue line and made his way to the low right side before beating Bishop with a quick wrister for a 4-2 lead.. Nearly 3 1/2 minutes later, Douglas Murray flipped a shot on net from the left point that Jokinen tipped in past Bishop to make it 5-2 at the 4:45 mark.. With the Penguins on a 5-on-3 and under four minutes remaining, Glass put home a rebound from in close to push the margin to 6-2 at 16:40. source: http://content.usatoday.com/sportsdata/hockey/nhl/game/Penguins_Lightning/2013/04/www.usatoday.com/sportsdata/hockey/nhl/game

 

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