Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 6th 2023

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The Tampa Bay Lightning evened the season series with one opponent thanks to a quick turnaround Monday night. On Wednesday, they will try to turn the same trick.

After blanking the Dallas Stars 4-0 following an 8-1 whipping in Texas on Saturday, the Lightning will try to settle the score with Pittsburgh when the Penguins come to town again.

In a three-day span, the Lightning went from blowout to shutout against the Lone Star State club. So how exactly did they turn being decimated by seven goals into a four-goal victory in 50-plus hours?

“Obviously, a lot of video, just watching some stuff,” said Anthony Cirelli, who scored two goals against Dallas. “It obviously sucks losing, especially in that fashion. We knew we had to be a lot better. It’s good we get game after game here. It was a nice bounce-back game.”

Following Nikita Kucherov’s marker Monday, Cirelli — who also scored twice against Dallas on Feb. 11 — netted his first of the night for a 2-0 lead, putting the Lightning in position to snap their season-long four-game losing streak.

“We came out hard, we were finishing checks and playing fast, so there was a lot to like tonight,” added Cirelli, who centered the club’s second line between Brandon Hagel and Alex Barre-Boulet and ended the match’s scoring.

Kucherov produced a goal and an assist, giving him a 10-game assist streak. That tied him with Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards for the franchise record.

Regaining his old form, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy — who had back surgery on Sept. 28 — made 25 saves for his 33rd career shutout and sixth against Dallas.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is in the same position the Stars were: owning a win over Tampa Bay, but with the Atlantic Division club antsy for quick redemption.

The Penguins came to Tampa last Thursday, spotted the Lightning a two-goal lead in the first period and rallied with four unanswered in a 4-2 win that included an empty-net tally by goalie Tristan Jarry.

That victory was not the walloping Dallas put on Tampa Bay, but Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were in the mix as the Penguins won the first of three meetings with the Lightning.

Pittsburgh did not repeat that production Saturday or Monday nights in home-and-home losses against the Keystone State rival Philadelphia Flyers.

On Monday, the host Flyers won a faceoff in their end in overtime and got the puck around the boards and down the ice. Sean Couturier then beat Pittsburgh goalie Alex Nedeljkovic to secure a 2-1 win that sent the Penguins to their seventh loss in 10 games (3-4-3).

Particularly frustrating to Penguins coach Mike Sullivan Monday was his club’s inability to shoot during extensive puck possession against the Flyers, who blocked 38 shots in the two victories.

“I thought we had a lot of zone time and were looking for the next play — we actually talked about it on the bench,” said Sullivan. “We’ve got to be willing to put pucks down at the net-front. Even if gets blocked (there), it creates a broken play.

“Nothing breaks coverage down better than a shot on goal. It forces decision-making.”

–Field Level Media

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