Lightning Sneak Past Penguins on Johnson’s Game Winner

TAMPA, Fla. — Tyler Johnson and J.T Miller had 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.

Tampa Bay Lightning Tyler Johnson Steven Stamkos
Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson is congratulated by Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Tanner Pearson pulled the Penguins within 5-4 shortly after Miller’s goal off a steal and pass from behind the net by Sidney Crosby.

Crosby played in his 916th game, moving past Mario Lemieux for the most in Penguins history.

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 tied it at 3-all on 4-on-4 second-period goals by McCann and Rust.

Cirelli stopped a 21-game game drought with his fourth short-handed goal to put Tampa Bay ahead 3-1 at 7:42 of the second.

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.

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. … Lightning D Braydon Coburn played in his 900th NHL game and had an assist. … The Penguins have allowed eight short-handed goals.


Penguins: Complete a three-game trip Monday night at Florida.

Lightning: Play Sunday at Florida.


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Mark Didtler, The Associated Press