TAMPA, Fla. — There are no automatics in this game, no guarantees that anything will play out as expected.
Still, one could be forgiven for believing that giving the Penguins -- with all of the world-class talent on their payroll -- an extended 5-on-3 power play is likely to produce a goal most of the time.
That's perfectly logical.
And totally inaccurate, as was proven again midway through the third period of their 4-2 loss to Tampa Bay at Amalie Arena Thursday night.
The Penguins were trailing the Lightning, 3-2, when defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was penalized for high-sticking Patric Hornqvist at 10:55.That gave the Penguins -- who were 0-for-9 with the extra man during the previous five-plus periods -- a pretty nice opportunity salvage at least one point by getting the goal that could have put the game into overtime.
And when Lightning forward Alex Killorn sailed a puck over the glass just 26 seconds later, the Penguins had been gifted a 94-second, two-man advantage.
Under the circumstances, it had to be Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper's worst nightmare. As he would joke later, "That's a tough group to look at. Sometimes you just have to look the other way."
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Of course, given Mike Sullivan's knowledge of how his team has fared during 5-on-3s during the past two seasons, it might have been his worst nightmare, too.
If so, give the nod to Sullivan, which would make it the only decision that went to the Penguins on this night.
For during those 94 seconds, they were credited with one -- count it, one -- shot on goal and never were particularly menacing until a flurry around Andrei Vasilevskiy’s crease as Sergechev’s minor was winding down.
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