Pittsburgh's brightest star watched from a box as the Penguins defeated the Lightning 6-3 in front of a sold out crowd at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Sidney Crosby suffered a broken jaw against the Islanders on March 30, and although he has not been on the ice for Pittsburgh since, he made the trip with the team. The Penguins didn't need their captain to get past the Lightning, jumping out to a quick lead and never really being in danger of losing it the entire contest.
Just over four minutes into the game the puck went off Jussi Jokinen's skate and past Ben Bishop. After an official review, referee Chris Tooney made the announcement the goal would stand as Jokinen did not make a kicking motion.
1:55 later, Pascal Dupuis scored of a Bishop rebound to put the Penguins uo 2-0.
Almost 10 minutes after Dupuis' goal, Evgeni Malkin headed off for tripping, giving the Bolts a man advantage. Teddy Purcell capitalized on the opportunity, scoring just 22 seconds into the power play.
Chris Kunitz redirected a Jerome Iginla shot into the net 1:58 into the middle stanza, putting the Pens back up by a pair.
Freshly named to the AHL All-Star Second Team, Brett Connolly scored Tampa Bay's second power play goal of the night with 14:14 left in the second period.
The remainder of the second ended low-key aside from a tussle as the horn was sounding that resulted in Radko Gudas and Deryk Engelland being handed two minute roughing calls.
The final period opened with high intensity as the goals and penalties started rolling in. With 1:24 off the clock, Evgeni Malkin's wrister found its way past Bishop, doubling the Lightning's goals.
Fresh off their matching 2 minute roughing penalties, Gudas and Engelland went right back at it and left the ice at 4:16. Both players were given two minutes for roughing, but Gudas was given an additional two-minute penalty for also roughing Malkin. Malkin in turn was sent off for two minutes for cross-checking Gudas.
Shortly after the Gudas-Engelland penalties were called, Jokinen tallied his second goal of the night, a tip-in from a Murray shot.
At 5:19, BJ Crombeen and Douglas Murray each left the ice for seven minutes total (five minutes to both for fightning; Crombeen two minutes roughing, Murray two minutes unsportsmanlike). Less than a minute passed before Ryan Malone and Books Orpik found themselves in the penalty box. Steven Stamkos was given a two minute unsportsmanlike penalty as well for some extracurricular activity with Tyler Kennedy.
Tampa Bay was able to fight off the Pittsburgh power plays and hold the game at 5-2 for most of the third period until the penalties started to get handed out again.
Nate Thompson was called for slashing at the 16:00 mark, which led to a Tanner Glass wrister that found the back of the net.
Down 6-2, the Lightning fought back and Purcell scored his second goal on another power play goal after Engelland was off for roughing with 18 seconds remaining in the game.
In total, the Lightning were called for 13 penalties (37 minutes) and scored on three-of-the-four power play opportunities. The Penguins' special teams also was productive, scoring three goals out of six PP chances.
Bishop had a rough night in the net, allowing six-of-41 shots in.
The Lightning will head on the road for four games and return to the Forum on April 21 to take on the Hurricanes.