TAMPA — Thinking back on it, Lightning right wing Richard Panik said he should have shot high on Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.
Instead, with one second left in the second period, Panik, alone in the slot, tried to go five hole and Fleury made the save.
"I tried to shoot it right away," Panik said. "Too bad it didn't go in."
That was the story of the Lightning's 3-0 loss Friday in front of an announced crowd of 19,065 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Tampa Bay had some Grade A chances — not enough as it was outshot 29-21 and had just six shots in the third period — but enough that the inability to finish was why its seven-game home winning streak was stopped and Pittsburgh has now beaten the Lightning eight straight.
"He played great," Tampa Bay wing J.T. Brown said of Fleury, who got his third shutout of the season and 26th of his career. "He didn't let in any goals, so you have to give him credit."
But the Lightning (16-9-1) has to take some blame.
Panik had Fleury at his mercy. So did Brown from in front of the net, and Alex Killorn from the side. Nikita Kucherov had a partial breakaway. Fleury stopped them all to preserve a 1-0 lead through the second period.
The Penguins struck when given the chance.
Chris Kunitz's first-period goal on a high wrist shot came off a pass from Sidney Crosby but also after Panik slowed down on the backcheck, freeing Kunitz. Brandon Sutter scored 8:27 into the third period with a power-play goal from the side of the net off the leg of Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman.
Kunitz's empty-net goal was just window dressing.
"I was not displeased with the way we played," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "You have to give them a little credit. They dictated a little bit of what went on with us. … I didn't really think it was a 3-0 hockey game, to be honest."
The Lightning did some good things.
Rookies Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Panik did a solid job holding down Crosby's line. Goalie Ben Bishop was solid with 26 saves, and Brown had four shots, three hits and two takeaways.
But Tampa Bay's defensemen did not get enough shots to the net, and the Penguins defense did well limiting the Lightning to one shot before a puck was cleared.
Then there were the missed chances, all with low shots, a much tougher way to beat a butterfly goalie than high.
"Sometimes they go in and sometimes they don't," Brown said.
"But we're putting ourselves in position to make those plays. It'll come."
Just not against the Penguins.
First Period—1, Pittsburgh, Kunitz 12 (Crosby, Letang), 6:53. Penalties—Malkin, Pit (illegal stick), 7:11; Tyrell, TB (high-sticking), 14:05.
Second Period—None. Penalties—Malkin, Pit (high-sticking), 4:11; Killorn, TB (tripping), 5:04; Neal, Pit (hooking), 19:37.
Third Period—2, Pittsburgh, Sutter 5 (Crosby, Jokinen), 8:27 (pp). 3, Pittsburgh, Kunitz 13 (Malkin, Crosby), 18:17 (en). Penalties—Barberio, TB (delay of game), 6:37; Adams, Pit, game misconduct, 20:00. Shots on Goal—Pittsburgh 5-11-13—29. Tampa Bay 7-8-6—21. Power-play opportunities—Pittsburgh 1 of 3; Tampa Bay 0 of 3. Goalies—Pittsburgh, Fleury 14-7-1 (21 shots-21 saves). Tampa Bay, Bishop 14-4-1 (28-26). A—19,065 (19,204). T—2:23. Referees—Tim Peel, Kyle Rehman. Linesmen—Kiel Murchison, Jonny Murray.