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Chris Kunitz has two goals in Penguins win over the Lightning

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Chris Kunitz has two goals in Penguins win over the Lightning

The Canadian Press
By:

TAMPA, Fla. - The Pittsburgh Penguins are finding ways to win without Sidney Crosby.

Chris Kunitz had two rebound goals to lead the Penguins past the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 on Tuesday night.

"I stand in front and I go to the net," Kunitz said. "Right now we're doing a good job of shooting the puck on net and going for rebounds. I don't score many from outside the circles, it's usually right close to the crease."

Crosby, the high-scoring Pittsburgh captain, missed his fourth straight game - all Penguins victories - due to a groin injury. He did take part in Tuesday's morning skate, though.

Matt Cooke also scored for the Penguins, eighth in the Eastern Conference. Marc-Andre Fleury made his 14th consecutive start, posting a 9-4-1 record over that stretch.

"We're getting some confidence," Fleury said. "We're battling for the big points we're getting."

Tampa Bay got a goal from Vaclav Prospal. The Lightning have lost 12 of 16.

"Losing is miserable," Tampa Bay centre Ryan Craig said.

Kunitz put the Penguins ahead 1-0 on a rebound goal at 7:38 of the first period. The Lightning tied it when Prospal scored off a pass from Vincent Lecavalier during a 2-on-1 with 7:37 left in the period.

Pittsburgh went up 2-1 on Kunitz's second goal of the game during a power play late in the first period. Evgeni Malkin assisted on the goal for his NHL-leading 93rd point. Malkin has eight assists and 13 points during a nine-game point streak.

Cooke made it 3-1 midway in the second.

"You've got to create offence, and a lot of times one of the best plays is getting the puck to the net and then going to the net," Penguins interim coach Dan Bylsma said. "It can start to become an identity of a team if you get pucks to the net and make defencemen turn and have to play defence when there are pucks around their goalie."

Fleury made several strong saves, including an in-close shot by Ryan Malone late in the second period. He finished with 32 saves.

"We need to keep getting better, and there are challenges ahead," Bylsma said. "We're taking steps in the right direction and we're definitely building."

Notes: Lightning RW Mark Recchi, the subject of trade speculation, was a healthy scratch. Recchi had seven assists and eight points over his last four games. ... Tampa Bay LW Gary Roberts was placed on waivers. Roberts plans to retire after the season, which means the move might signal the end of his career. "My heart, yeah, I have some optimism, but my head is saying I'm not too sure," Roberts said about another team picking him. Roberts gave rookie C Steven Stamkos an autographed stick after the game ... Pittsburgh is 6-1-1 under Bylsma. ... Tampa Bay recalled C Paul Szczechura and RW Brandon Segal from Norfolk of the AHL. ... Lightning D Marek Malik didn't play because of a lower body injury.

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Chris Kunitz has two goals in Penguins win over the Lightning