Tampa Bay Lightning's Vincent Lecavalier (4) scores a first-period goal past Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (58) and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) during Game 2 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series in Pittsburgh Friday, April 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Gene Puskar)
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Martin St. Louis didn't need three broken teeth to provide any more motivation in helping the Tampa Bay Lightning bounce back in their first-round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"My motivation is we were down 1-0," St. Louis said. "It's not because I lose teeth."
Either way, the diminutive forward put some bite back in a Lightning offence by scoring a goal and adding an assist in a 5-1 victory Friday night in Game 2 of the best-of-seven series.
Defenceman Eric Brewer led the charge with a goal and two assists and the Lightning rediscovered their high-powered offence to blow the game open with a three-goal first period. The five goals—capped by Mattias Ohlund's empty-netter—were the most the Lightning have scored in a road playoff game.
The eruption came two nights after they were utterly stymied by Marc-Andre Fleury's acrobatic 32-save performance in a 3-0 series-opening loss. And it was a forgettable game for St. Louis, who was livid no penalty was called after he was cracked across the face by Zbynek Michalek's errant stick in the second period.
Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier wasn't surprised by how St. Louis responded.
"I don't think three teeth would hold him off for tonight," said Lecavalier, who scored a goal.
Nate Thompson also scored, while Simon Gagne had three assists. Dwayne Roloson made 35 saves, including 14 in the final period.
Craig Adams scored for the Penguins, who came out flat and will have two days to regroup for Game 3 at Tampa Bay on Monday night.
Pittsburgh was undone by sub-par goaltending from Fleury, uncharacteristic defensive miscues and a more familiar problem of lacking finish. That's something the team's struggled with in playing much of the final half of its season without captain Sidney Crosby (concussion) and Evgeni Malkin (knee).
Fleury wasn't pleased with his 16-save outing.
"They do have a good offence, but I was still hoping to definitely do better than tonight," Fleury said. "I'll have to if we want to keep winning."
Another concern is the Penguins' anemic power play, which went 0-for-7. Pittsburgh is 0 for 13 in the series and has converted just six of its past 79 power-play opportunities over the past 25 games.
"I think we have to understand what the problem and the situation is and we didn't execute very well on the power play tonight," coach Dan Bylsma said. "We have to be much better to think we're going to have a chance to have success."
The Lightning not only had a few calls go their way, they also capitalized on two of six chances. This was after Lightning coach Guy Boucher questioned how the Penguins had a 6-1 advantage in power-play opportunities in Game 1.
St. Louis' power-play goal in the final minute of the second period was essentially the backbreaker, putting Tampa Bay up 4-1 after the Penguins had dominated much of the period.
"Any playoff game when you're up 2-0 right away on your first three shots is important," Lecavalier said. "It gave us a lot of confidence."
Brewer opened the scoring on the Lightning's first shot on goal 2:02 in. Driving up the right side on a 2-on-1, he snapped a high shot beating Fleury on the short side.
Lecavalier scored on the power play just under five minutes later. Brewer kept the play in the Penguins zone by batting the puck out of the air at the left point. The Lightning eventually worked it down to Gagne in the left corner, where he fed a pass in front to Lecavalier, who had a step on defender Kris Letang, and stuffed it in.
Thompson scored with 2:58 left in the frame, capitalizing on a several Penguins breakdowns. After usually reliable defenceman Paul Martin whiffed on a bouncing puck in front of the Pittsburgh bench, Steve Downie burst up the right wing on a 2-on-1.
Fleury got his right pad out to stop Downie's hard low shot, but left a fat rebound which Thompson swept in while driving to the front.
"Don't give up 2-on-1s, really," defenceman Brooks Orpik said, regarding what adjustments the Penguins need to make. "We kind of left Fleury out to dry. And thena power-play goal where we didn't cover the guy in front. It's not really too complicated."
Lecavalier and the Lightning didn't spend too much time celebrating their victory.
"You've got to be happy with what we did tonight," he said. "But at the same time, we've got to carry on here."
NOTES: Earlier in the day, Pens coach Dan Bylsma said there was no update on Sidney Crosby's status while adding he didn't sense the captain having any more urgency to return now that the playoffs have begun. "I haven't sensed anything to do with trying to get back earlier or feeling that pressure at all—not one bit," Bylsma said. Crosby, who's missed 42 games because of a concussion, is watching from the press box while wearing a headset to communicate with an assistant coach on the bench. ... The Lightning lost consecutive games only nine times in the regular season, with the longest skid 0-2-2 last month.
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