NHL Game Night 12/23: Lightning at Penguins

Best performance of the year by the Lightning.

TB-2
PIT-0

Mike Smith stopped 15 of 15 shots faced for the big shutout win. He was on tonight. No rebounds.

First Period
NO SCORING

Second Period
05:15 TB Pettinger (2), (Szczechura, Recchi)

Third Period
11:14 TB Szczechura (2), (Jokinen, Recchi)(PP)

Paul Szczechura, Matt Pettinger, and Mark Recchi were your three stars, and let me tell you, Szczechura played an awesome game at both ends of the ice. #38 seems to live in the opposing team's passing lanes, and when the Lightning went into the trap in the third period he drove the Pens crazy by picking off pass after pass. He set up the first goal. He scored the insurance goal. And he was all up in the Pens business to protect what he helped build. Great game by Szczechura. He's a revelation. Quite possibly the smartest prospect in Lightning history.

Szczechura had 1 goal and 1 assist and was +1 with 4 shots, 1 hit, and he was 29% on draws in 13:28. He tortured Pittsburgh in those 13:28.

Steven Stamkos was a non-factor in 7:47 of ice time.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.

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Szczechura Rocks

Paul S. is awesome. He is miles ahead of the other forwards (chiefly Jokinen, Prospal, and even Stamkos). Stamkos is looking more and more like a bust - maybe some time in Norfolk would help him. He looked terrific in that Buffalo game but that was ages ago.

Stammer

Stamkos is 18, and while he should be better, the word "bust" is years from being relevant in conversation. Norfolk isn't an option, his only option is to return to junior - where he can't be recalled until Sarnia's season is over. Letting Stamkos play in the WJC's is an arguable point, however.

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