TAMPA — Lightning left wing Alex Killorn said Saturday night's 5-4 loss to the Penguins was one of those that leaves "a pretty bad feeling in the pit of your stomach."
"It's not what we wanted," goaltender Anders Lindback said. "It's not how it should be."
Losing was bad enough in front of an announced crowd of 18,939 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Worse was allowing the winning goal with 18.6 seconds left in the third period on a shortside slap shot from Matt Niskanen that Lindback said he probably should have stopped.
More problematic, though, was the way Tampa Bay (3-2-0), which lost its three-game winning streak, failed to manage the game, allowing three power-play goals, including two in the third period after penalties by Killorn for holding and Richard Panik for tripping.
Sidney Crosby, who had a hat trick, scored on Killorn's penalty to give the Penguins a 4-3 lead with 9:14 left. Niskanen scored after Lindback said he "lost the pass" from Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin.
In between, Killorn tied the score with 3:02 left with a power-play goal on a deflection of Panik's tape-to-tape pass.
"It's just one of those things," Killorn said.
"We worked so hard to stay in that game. It hurts."
Tampa Bay believed the game was a measuring stick against a team coach Jon Cooper called "the cream of the crop" in the Eastern Conference. And with goals from Valtteri Filppula, Steven Stamkos and Teddy Purcell, on the power play, the Lightning led 3-2 after two periods.
"I don't think anybody can watch the game and say they outplayed us," Cooper said.
But Crosby, 25 seconds into the third, scored on a deflection to make it 3-3. Pittsburgh had an 8-2 shot advantage in the period (26-18 in the game) and those two power-play chances.
"Did I like the way the penalties were taken? Absolutely not," Cooper said. "Is it unacceptable? Yes, it is. In saying that, we have to kill one of them off. If we get just one penalty kill, we're still playing. We had chances to get the puck out on the PK, and we didn't."
Cooper also questioned if Brooks Orpik, whom Panik took down in the offensive zone well behind the play, should have been called for embellishment.
"Did (Panik) give them a chance to call a penalty? He did," Cooper said. "But whoever it was went down pretty easy. Did the guy embellish it? In that situation, the ref decided he didn't, so we have to live with it."
But they don't have to like it.
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Filppula 4 (Killorn, Panik), 13:25. Penalties—Adams, Pit, major (fighting), :04; Malone, TB, major (fighting), :04; Kobasew, Pit (hooking), :27; Malkin, Pit (hooking), 5:23; Martin, Pit (holding), 10:11; Gudas, TB (roughing), 16:38.
Second Period—2, Pittsburgh, Crosby 3 (Jokinen, Kunitz), 2:14 (pp). 3, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 4 (St. Louis, Hedman), 5:11. 4, Pittsburgh, Orpik 1 (Dupuis, Kunitz), 7:01. 5, Tampa Bay, Purcell 3 (Salo, St. Louis), 15:42 (pp). Penalties—Brewer, TB (roughing), 1:34; Malone, TB, misconduct, 1:34; Killorn, TB (delay of game), 10:03; Maatta, Pit (interference), 13:48.
Third Period—6, Pittsburgh, Crosby 4 (Scuderi, Niskanen), :25. 7, Pittsburgh, Crosby 5 (Jokinen, Malkin), 10:26 (pp). 8, Tampa Bay, Killorn 2 (Panik, Johnson), 16:58 (pp). 9, Pittsburgh, Niskanen 1 (Malkin, Crosby), 19:41 (pp). Penalties—Killorn, TB (holding), 8:28; Kunitz, Pit (hooking), 15:26; Panik, TB (tripping), 19:03. Shots on Goal—Pittsburgh 9-9-8—26. Tampa Bay 8-8-2—18. Power-play opportunities—Pittsburgh 3 of 5; Tampa Bay 2 of 5. Goalies—Pittsburgh, Fleury 4-0-0 (18 shots-14 saves). Tampa Bay, Lindback 0-2-0 (26-21). A—18,939 (19,204).