PITTSBURGH - You didn't think it was going to be easy, did you?
Maybe the Pittsburgh Penguins' victory in the first game of their playoff series against Tampa Bay fooled some people.
Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was on top of his game and the Penguins got just enough offense to beat the Lightning. As an added bonus, defenseman Brooks Orpik upended Tampa Bay star Steven Stamkos with a hit that seemed to set a tone.
But the Lightning came right back on Friday night, jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead and evened the series.
There was only a three-point difference between the Penguins and Lightning over the regular season. With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin out, you can make the case that Tampa Bay puts more stars on the ice these days.
The Penguins played well in the first game, but the two goals they scored in an 18-second span hardly solved the offensive problems that have developed since Crosby left the lineup.
The power play failed again and team defense was lacking at the start, when Fleury single-handedly saved the night.
These are not the Penguins fans have grown accustomed to seeing in the spring.
Don't take anything for granted. They're operating on the thinnest margin, and they'll continue to do that unless Crosby comes back.
Dancing with Hines
I'm a bit behind in my "Dancing With The Stars" viewing.
OK, forget that. I've never watched the show and have no plans to watch it.
However, I was encouraged to learn that the couples aren't all on the dance floor at the same time.
That eliminates the chance Hines Ward could take an inadvertent blind side hit from a wayward Kirstie Alley.
That would have the potential to be nastiest collision he's had with anyone other than Ray Lewis.
As the NFL draft gets closer, I'm convinced more than ever that the Steelers need to get a cornerback on the first round.
There are other needs, but none as urgent as corner.
Remember Trenni Kusnierek, who spent five years at FSN Pittsburgh, sometimes serving as the in-game reporter on Pirates telecasts?
She had been with MLB Network since it launched two years ago. Now she's back in Milwaukee, co-hosting a radio show.
Her MLB Network stay ended after disagreements with management.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org