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Tampa Bay 1 3 0 4
Pittsburgh 2 1 0 3
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4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, November 15, 2018
PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania  Attendance: 18,422

Penguins could be without Crosby vs. Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins

  1. The Lightning fell to the Sabres, 2-1, in Buffalo on Tuesday, and have now dropped back-to-back games for the first time this season. Despite the loss, Tampa Bay is still the only team with a .650 point percentage both at home and on the road this season.
  2. Yanni Gourde has seven goals on 40 shots on goal this season. He has a career shooting percentage of 18.4 percent, the highest among all active skaters with at least 200 shots on goal.
  3. Since PPG Paints Arena opened for the 2010-11 season, Pittsburgh has outscored Tampa there by an average of 5.08 to 2.23, going 12-1-0 in the process. That's the largest goal differential between any two teams at one arena in that span (minimum 10 games).
  4. The Penguins lost to the Devils, 4-2, in New Jersey on Tuesday, dropping to 1-5-1 in their last seven games. The Pens were 1-for-3 on the power play in the loss -- they have a 39.1 percent power-play percentage on the road, but it's just 8.3 at home, the biggest difference in the league.
  5. Casey DeSmith took the loss in New Jersey, but he's been great at home. Since his home debut on December 9, 2017, he has the lowest home GAA (1.92) among all goalies who have faced at least 300 shots.
  6. After leading the league in goals per game last season, the Lightning are tied for second this season. Two of the last three teams to lead the league in back-to-back seasons have been Pittsburgh (in 1995-96 and 1996-97, and 2011-12 and 2012-13).

The status of Pittsburgh Penguins captain and star center Sidney Crosby is uncertain going into a game Thursday against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning at PPG Paints Arena.

Crosby had two assists Tuesday in a 4-2 loss at New Jersey, but he did not practice Wednesday. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Crosby was being evaluated for an undisclosed upper-body injury. Crosby shares the team lead with eight goals and has 19 points in 16 games.

Pittsburgh recalled center Derek Grant from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, but there was no immediate word on a corresponding move and Crosby was not immediately listed as being on injured reserve.

That is just one story line swirling around the Penguins, who are mired in a 1-5-1 slump and, at 7-6-3, are near the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

Pittsburgh gave general manager Jim Rutherford a three-year contract extension, through 2020-21, and he immediately traded left winger Carl Hagelin to Los Angeles for left winger Tanner Pearson.

"I'm usually pretty patient, but my patience has run out," Rutherford said after making the trade, one week after he criticized his team on his radio show for not meeting expectations in several areas.

"Obviously (Rutherford) is sending a big message to the group," winger Patric Hornvist said. "It's been 16 games. We might have played five good games."

Pearson could make his Penguins debut against the Lightning. He has at least 15 goals in each of his past three seasons, but had just one point -- an assist -- in 17 games with the Kings this season. Rutherford acknowledged Pearson has had a slow start but said he believes he will be a good fit in Pittsburgh.

Tampa Bay (12-5-1) leads the Eastern Conference and is two points behind Nashville for the NHL's top spot, but has lost two straight games, including a 2-1 decision Tuesday at Buffalo. It is the first time the team has lost back-to-back games.

"Losing two straight leaves a little bit of a bad taste in our mouth," Lightning assistant coach Derek Lalonde said. "At the same time, this is why we watch video. This is why we self-evaluate as a team. If we get that effort (we had against Buffalo), we'll be successful more times than not."

Tampa fell into a 2-0 hole at Buffalo before turning in a strong finish. It hopes to stop having to play from behind, something that has happened a couple games in a row.

"We want to start better," captain Steven Stamkos said. "It's not an easy league to win in. It's not an easy league to score goals in. So when you're spotting teams a goal or two goals early in the game. ... We know we have it in this (locker) room to come back, but you don't want to make that into a trend."

Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman, who missed the past two games because of an upper-body injury, practiced Wednesday. He is day-to-day.

This is the first meeting of the season between Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. The Lightning has lost three consecutive games in Pittsburgh, by a combined 16-6.

Updated November 14, 2018

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