After a scoreless second period, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning lit up the scoreboard for seven goals over the final twenty minutes at the Forum in Tampa Bay. When it was all said and done, Evgeni Malkin's eighth career hat trick led the Pens to the 6-3 win and a weekend sweep of the state of Florida. Malkin scored three unanswered goals to bust open the 3-3 tie and hand the Lightning their seventh straight loss.
James Neal led off the period with his second power play goal of the game, and his 24th of the season. Neal's one-timer rocketed into the back of the net just 34 seconds into the period to set the tone for a wild third. Matt Gilroy put Tampa on the board with their first goal just a minute and a half later. Gilroy took a feed from Steven Stamkos behind the net and buried his first goal of the season. Tampa then cut the lead to 3-2 on a power play goal by Ryan Malone. With the Bolts using five forwards on the power play, Malone deflected a Vincent Lecavalier pass into the net. Teddy Purcell then tied it up for Tampa, scooping up a rebound off Marc-Andre Fleury in front to make it 3-3.
But Malkin took it from there, running off three straight goals. The first came on a nifty backhand that beat Mathieu Garon less than a minute after Tampa tied it up. He then gave the Pens another two-goal lead, catching the Bolts in a line change and taking a turnover in for his 20th goal of the year. An empty-netter with under a minute to play finished off the dominant third period for Geno.
After the successful trip to Florida, the Pens now return home and will host the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.