The Journal Gazette
 
 
Wednesday, October 13, 2021 1:00 am

Pittsburgh 6 Tampa Bay 2

Champs lose in season opener

Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. – Tristan Jarry had 26 saves, Danton Heinen and Brian Boyle scored early second-period goals, and the shorthanded Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2 in the regular-season opener Tuesday night.

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.

Tampa Bay got goals from Anthony Cirelli and Andrew Killorn, and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 29 shots.

Jarry turned aside Brayden Point's low slot shot during the game's first power play midway through the second.

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.

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.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper pulled Vasilevskiy with six 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.

Bettman praises vaccination rate

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league has only four unvaccinated players as it opened the season.

Bettman was in attendance for the regular-season opener between the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.

“Everybody banding together to do the right thing,” Bettman said. “Maybe that's why hockey is the ultimate team sport.”

Bettman said NHL officials and all the personnel that come into contact with the players are vaccinated.

“It's something we take seriously,” Bettman said. “Health and safety has been and will continue to be paramount.”

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