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Penguins Vs. Lightning: Pens Fall 2-1 In Possible Precursor To First-Round Playoff Matchup

The Penguins lost, 2-1, on Thursday to the Tampa Bay Lightning in what might prove to be a precursor to their first-round NHL playoff matchup. The Lightning clinches a playoff berth with the victory.

Steve Downie scored first for the Lightning about five minutes into the first period. Martin St. Louis followed with another goal a few minutes later. Mike Rupp added a goal early in the third period for the Penguins, but the Pens weren't able to tie the game. Dwayne Roloson registered 36 saves for the Lightning, while Marc-Andre Fleury had 22 for the Pens.

At this point, the Penguins and Lightning appear very likely to meet in the playoffs. The Philadelphia Flyers have a strong grasp on the top spot in the Pens' Atlantic Division, and the Washington Capitals have a six-point lead in the Lightning's Southeast Division. Since division winners get the first three playoff seeds, this means that neither the Pens nor Lightning are likely to get any higher than the fourth and fifth seeds. However, it's also unlikely that either of them will fall further than fifth. The No. 4 and No. 5 seeds play one another in the playoffs.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.