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Tampa Bay Lightning offense comes up empty again in 4-0 loss to Chicago Blackhawks

Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi stops 18 shots for his third shutout this season.

Associated Press

Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi stops 18 shots for his third shutout this season.

CHICAGO — Coach Rick Tocchet spent part of his pregame meeting with reporters bemoaning the Lightning's lack of power-play chances.

After a 4-0 loss to the Blackhawks on Sunday at the United Center, he should be more concerned with how Tampa Bay is unable to use the ones it gets.

The Lightning went 0-for-5 against Chicago and gave up a deflating goal to Marian Hossa with 15.3 seconds left in the second period that gave the Blackhawks a 3-0 edge.

The goal was the perfect exclamation point to a streak in which Tampa Bay (11-12-9) has lost eight of nine, including two in overtime or shootout.

It also is 0-for-13 on the power play in its past four games and below .500 for the first time since Oct. 17.

"Everything magnifies when you don't score," Tocchet said. "We're really fighting it."

Hossa's goal came after Patrick Sharp's shot deflected high off the stick of Lightning defenseman Andrej Meszaros. Hossa, floating toward the net, caught the puck. He swung as he dropped it and knocked it out of midair and past goaltender Antero Niittymaki.

On the other hand is the Lightning, shut out for the third time in eight games — Antti Niemi made 18 saves for his third shutout this season in just his seventh start — and with just 13 goals during its nine-game downturn.

The highlight for Tampa Bay, outshot 29-18, was the killing off of 4 minutes, 7 seconds of continuous power-play time in the first period, including 1:53 of five-on-three. Niittymaki also stopped Troy Brouwer's penalty shot.

But the Blackhawks' Patrick Kane scored in the first after a turnover by Steve Downie. Ben Eager scored in the second when Lightning defensemen Matt Walker and Victor Hedman failed to communicate and left him alone in front of the net.

And why was Meszaros zooming past the Lightning net while a fat rebound sparked Jonathan Toews' third-period goal?

Meszaros, Vinny Lecavalier and Alex Tanguay at minus-3 each didn't help.

"It's not like we played an awful game," said the Lightning's Steven Stamkos, who hit a post. "We just made mistakes and they capitalized."

Sure, the Blackhawks are on a 10-1-0 streak at home, but Tampa Bay's lack of offense, even on the power play, is startling.

"Do rain dances and things like that, whatever, I don't know," Tocchet said. "I don't have an answer."

at Blackhawks 1 2 1 4
Lightning 0 0 0 0

First Period1, Chicago, Kane 10 (Keith), 7:42. PenaltiesBarker, Chi (interference), 2:25; Hedman, TB (holding), 10:54; Ohlund, TB (hooking), 11:44; Smaby, TB (tripping), 13:01.

Second Period2, Chicago, Eager 2 (Hossa, Sopel), 10:42. 3, Chicago, Hossa 4 (Sharp, Seabrook), 19:44. PenaltiesSharp, Chi (tripping), 1:17; Byfuglien, Chi (slashing), 5:52; Keith, Chi (delay of game), 7:34; Konopka, TB, major (fighting), 15:10; Eager, Chi, major (fighting), 15:10; Toews, Chi (tripping), 17:01; Ohlund, TB (roughing), 19:17; Toews, Chi (roughing), 19:17.

Third Period4, Chi., Toews 9 (Byfuglien, Seabrook), 6:01. PenaltiesDownie, TB (slashing), 9:36; Smaby, TB (hooking), 16:15; Fedoruk, TB, minor-misconduct (goaltender interference), 18:39; Hedman, TB (elbowing), 19:19. Missed Penalty ShotBrouwer, Chi, 18:20 third. Shots on GoalTB 5-9-4—18. Chi. 11-7-11—29. Power-play opportunitiesTB 0 of 5; Chi. 0 of 7. GoaliesTB, Niittymaki 6-5-4 (29 shots-25 saves). Chi., Niemi 6-1-1 (18-18). A21,081 (19,717). T2:26.

Blackhawks 4

Lightning 0

Tampa Bay Lightning offense comes up empty again in 4-0 loss to Chicago Blackhawks 12/13/09 [Last modified: Sunday, December 13, 2009 11:19pm]
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