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Pittsburgh takes over third period to handle Tampa Bay Lightning

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For 88 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to be in good shape.

And then they were not.

The Lightning, still scrambling to get back into the wild-card race, fell 5-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins Friday night. The Penguins, who beat the Bolts in last year’s conference finals, scored the game’s final three goals. After the Lightning tied the game at 2-2, it took only a minute and 28 seconds to take the lead.

Mark Streit, who was a member of the Lightning briefly last week, scored the tie-breaking goal.

“We weren’t going to go 20-0 down the stretch,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “It makes (Saturday night’s) game (against Buffalo) critical. We need these points. Buffalo is in the same situation we’re in.”

Adam Erne scored his first NHL goal to give the Bolts a lead. After Evgeny Malkin scored twice, Nikita Kucherov tied the game at two.

Goaltender Peter Budaj make his first start for Tampa Bay and took the loss.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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