Jarry has 26 saves, Penguins beat Lightning 6-2 in opener

Tristan Jarry had 26 saves, and Danton Heinen and Brian Boyle scored early second-period goals. On Tuesday night, the short-handed Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2 in the regular-season opener. Dominik Simon, Teddy Blueger, Bryan Rust, and Evan Rodrigues also scored, and Kris Letang had two assists for the Penguins, who played without injured stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The final three Pittsburgh goals were into an empty net. “It’s a process, but I think we proved that we can play against a team like that, we can play well, and we can win,” Simon said.

Tampa Bay got goals from Anthony Cirelli and Andrew Killorn, and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 29 shots. Star right-wing Nikita Kucherov didn’t have a shot on goal, while defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was minus-5. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman attended as Tampa Bay unveiled its 2020-21 Stanley Cup banner during a pregame ceremony. The Lightning has won two consecutive titles following pandemic-impacted and abbreviated regular seasons. Lightning coach Jon Cooper said the outcome would have been the same if the opponent had been the Penguins’ minor league team. “We wanted to kind of spoil it,” Heinen said.

“They beat us to every puck, they worked harder than us, they were better than us in every facet of the game,” Cooper said. “IIt probably would have been way worse ifit wweren’tfor our goalie, They came here to win a hockey game, we came here and watched the banner raising, and then watched a team want to win a hockey game. We did a lot of watching tonight.” Jarry turned aside Brayden Point’s low slot shot during the first power play midway through the second. The Penguins blocked 15 shots.

“It makes my job easy,” Jarry said. ““they’re playing hard, and they’re blocking shots. They did a great job for me.” Heinen and Boyle put the Penguins up 2-0 with goals in the first 4:11 of the second. Jeff Carter stole Vasilevskiy’s clearing attempt behind the net and set up Heinen’s goal 12 seconds in. Boyle, who signed a $750,000, one-year contract before the game after coming to training camp on a tryout offer, scored from the low slot at 4:11. The 12-year veteran last played with Florida in 2019-20. “That was awesome,” Heinen said of Boyle’s goal. “It was a nice goal, too. He’s such a great guy, always smiling. A great teammate to have,”

Simon made it 3-0 when his long-range shot eluded Vasilevskiy with 8:28 left in the third. It was his first goal since Feb. 2, 2020. Cooper pulled Vasilevskiy with 6 minutes left, and it paid off when Cirelli scored at 14:23. However, with Vasilevskiy off the ice again, Blueger picked up an empty netter 30 seconds later. Killorn got another Lightning goal with the extra attacker, but Rodrigues and Rust got the Penguins’ second and third empty-net goals. Pittsburgh outshot the Lightning 14-7 in the first period. Simon had his in-close chance stopped during a 2-on-1 by Vasilevskiy, and Rodrigues lost control of the puck on a breakaway. The Lightning had a streak of winning seven consecutive season openers, all at home, end.


Chicago senior advisor Scotty Bowman was at the game. Bowman (Detroit 1997-98), Cooper, and Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan (2016-17) are the last three NHL coaches to win back-to-back Stanley Cups. Bowman (Montreal 1976-79) and Al Arbour (1980-83) were the last to win three straight championships when both had streaks of four consecutive titles.


Sullivan tied Dan Bylsma for the most regular-season wins by a Pittsburgh coach with 252.


Penguins: Crosby (wrist) is practicing, as are LW Jake Guentzel (Covid-19) and LW Zach Aston-Reese (Covid-19). … Malkin (knee) was placed on long-term IL. … D Mike Matheson (lower body) was scratched.

Lightning: D Cal Foote (finger) and C Gemel Smith (lower body) didn’t play.


Penguins: Wrap up a two-game trip at Florida on Thursday night.

Lightning: At Detroit on Thursday night.

Tyson Houlding
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