A good first period would have gone a long way towards helping the Tampa Bay Lightning win Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Instead, they played maybe their worst period of the series and trail 1-0 after a Tyler Kennedy power-play goal.
The Lightning were outshot 12-6 and failed to sustain much offensive pressure. They were unable to get any shots on goal during their only power play of the period, and their best scoring chance was snuffed out by Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury after Sean Bergenheim sprung out of the penalty box, took a pass, and broke in alone on the Penguins goalie. Vincent Lecavalier followed up the play and tried to lift the puck over Fleury’s left pad at the side of the net, but that shot was stopped too.
The Penguins scored their first power-play goal of the series at 8:14 of the period. After gaining control off the faceoff, Pittsburgh got the puck to Kennedy, whose wrist shot slipped under Dwayne Roloson’s arm as he was being screened by Eric Tangradi. (Tangradi took Chris Kunitz’s place in the Penguins lineup after Kunitz’s suspension.)
Fortunately the Lightning only trail by a goal, but the Penguins immediately went to work protecting their lead after Kennedy scored the all-important first goal. Pittsburgh made it look easy defensively, as they have for most of the series when both teams are at full strength. The Lightning must figure out a way to get some scoring chances in 5-on-5 situations or they could be in deep trouble.