Lightning fight their way to win
TAMPA, Fla. — Tyler Johnson had a key goal and a tussle with Sidney Crosby, too.
Johnson and J.T. Miller scored third-period goals as the Tampa Bay Lightning stopped a rare two-game skid with a 5-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
After Johnson got his first goal in 15 games just under five minutes into the period, Miller gave Tampa Bay a 5-3 lead with 5:57 remaining.
“I knew it was just a matter of time,” Johnson said of his 19th goal.
Tanner Pearson pulled the Penguins within 5-4 shortly after Miller’s goal off a steal and pass from behind the net by Crosby.
Crosby played in his 916th game, moving past Mario Lemieux for the most in Penguins history.
Johnson checked Crosby into the boards midway through the second period, and the Penguins star dropped his gloves during a scrum between the two. Both were given roughing penalties at 13:14.
The game also had two fighting majors and a pair of 10-minute misconducts.
“I just think it’s two quality teams,” Johnson said. “Very competitive. Both teams hate to lose, and both teams give it their all. Those things are going to happen.”
The Lightning have lost two in a row just twice this season.
Yanni Gourde, Erik Cernak and Anthony Cirelli also scored for the NHL-leading Lightning, who reached 40 wins for the sixth consecutive season. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves.
The Penguins also got goals from Garrett Wilson, Jared McCann and Bryan Rust, and Casey DeSmith stopped 29 shots.
Pittsburgh, 2-5-1 over its last eight games, tied it at 3-all on 4-on-4 second-period goals by McCann and Rust.
“I still think to a certain extent, the type of mistakes that we make, we beat ourselves,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “I thought our fight was there all night long. We pushed back.”
Cirelli stopped a 21-game drought with his fourth short-handed goal to put Tampa Bay ahead 3-1 at 7:42 of the second.
The Penguins have allowed eight short-handed goals.
“I have nothing more to say about the power play,” Sullivan said.
Tampa Bay went up 2-1 on goals by Gourde and Cernak in the first. Brayden Point set up Gourde during a 2-man breakaway at 15:02, and Cernak scored 57 seconds later.
Wilson got his first NHL goal — coming in his 26th game this year and 60th overall — at 13:36 of the first.
Pittsburgh fell to 18-11-5 when scoring first.
Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, who entered with an NHL-best 81 points, was minus-four and had one shot. He has not scored a goal in 10 straight games.
“I don’t worry about Kuch,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said.
Notes: Pittsburgh C Evgeni Malkin missed his fifth straight game but took part in the morning skate. … Cirelli became the third NHL player to have four short-handed goals this season. … Penguins G Matt Murray was the backup after missing the previous game with an upper-body injury.