PITTSBURGH (AP) - Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 28 shots, Bryan Rust and Brian Dumoulin scored their first NHL goals and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-2 on Monday night.
Brandon Sutter added a short-handed goal and Steve Downie had a goal and an assist as the Peguins beat the Lightning for the 10th straight time.
Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby missed his third straight game due to mumps, though he is expected to return later in the week.
Jonathan Drouin and Nikita Kucherov scored for Tampa Bay. Lightning goalie Ben Bishop left after the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. Evgeni Nabokov made 18 saves in two periods and took the loss.
The Penguins have managed to remain atop the Metropolitan Division despite a slew of setbacks for several regulars, including Crosby, Beau Bennett, Chris Kunitz, Olli Maatta and Pascal Dupuis. Bennett, already out with a lower-body injury, spent Monday in isolation while the team waited for test results to indicate whether he is the latest NHL player to come down with mumps.
The myriad personnel issues has forced coach Mike Johnston to get creative. Pittsburgh started acquired forward Rob Klinkhammer - acquired from Arizona earlier this month for depth - on the top line with Evgeni Malkin and Blake Comeau. Monday's lineup included the likes of youngsters like Rust, Dumoulin, Andrew Ebbett and Bobby Farnham.
The Lightning have dealt with little adversity while getting off to the best start in franchise history but have cooled of late. They came in having lost three of four but worked quickly to establish control. Tampa Bay fired off the game's first nine shots, with only some spectacular play by Fleury keeping the Penguins in it. The goalie used his armpit to stuff a point-blank flip by Alex Killhorn, giving his team time to find its skates.
Pittsburgh didn't record a shot until Comeau's slap shot when the game was 11 minutes old, but Sutter gave the Penguins the lead with a beautiful breakaway with 51 seconds left in the period. Sutter beat two Tampa Bay players down the ice then zipped a wrist shot over Bishop's right shoulder for his eighth career short-handed goal.
The lead lasted all of 25 seconds, as Drouin banged in a rebound to make it 1-1, but the NHL's highest scoring team would not find the back of the net again.
Nabokov entered at the start of the second period and the Penguins wasted little time testing him. Rust took a centering feed from Ebbett and blasted a wrist shot over Nabokov's outstretched glove 2:55 into the second.
Steve Downie, a career grinder unlikely pushed to the top power play line by default, popped in his fifth of the season with 34 seconds remaining in the second. Dumoulin's slap shot from the point 7:47 into the third extended Pittsburgh's dominance in the series since the Lightning knocked the Penguins out of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
for more features.