Tampa Bay Lightning power play comes up short

Lightning center Steven Stamkos redirects the puck during the third period.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Lightning center Steven Stamkos redirects the puck during the third period.

TAMPA — Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said a big part of Wednesday's 3-2 double-overtime victory over the Lightning was his team's penalty kill.

Though Pittsburgh had the league's top-rated unit during the regular season, Tampa Bay had success in the first three games, going 4-for-11.

But Wednesday, when it mattered most, Pittsburgh held Tampa Bay's power play scoreless (0-for-4), including twice in the third period and once in the final three minutes of the first overtime. C Jordan Staal came up big in winning key faceoffs, and D Brooks Orpik blocked a team-high five shots to lead that effort.

"They didn't do anything different, so we knew what was coming," Orpik said. "We had a lot of blocked shots, a lot of guys sacrificing."

Lightning coach Guy Boucher said his players had time to shoot but Pittsburgh got in the shooting lanes.

"Our shots that got through the last game, the same exact shots got through," Boucher said. "It's a mixture of them blocking shots and us not aiming right."

STEPPING IN: Mattias Ritola and Blair Jones were preparing for a Calder Cup playoff game with AHL Norfolk on Tuesday afternoon when the centers got a call from the Lightning.

"Change of plans," Jones said, smiling.

In the wake of the one-game suspension of RW Steve Downie and some uncertainty surrounding the status of LW Ryan Malone (upper-body injury), Ritola and Jones were recalled to join Tampa Bay. Ritola was inserted in the lineup for Game 4.

Ritola, 24, had played in a career-high 31 games with the Lightning this season. This was his first NHL playoff game.

"It's awesome," Ritola said before the game. "It's great to be here."

Norfolk lost to Penguins affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 4-2 in Game 4 on Wednesday night, and the series is 2-2.

STEPPING UP: Boucher said he didn't have the words to describe the impact RW Marty St. Louis has had in the series. St. Louis' second-period goal, his fourth of the postseason, gave the Lightning a huge lift, pulling it within 2-1. He also had an assist on Sean Bergenheim's tying goal.

"We know (St. Louis) for them has been a guy who keeps it in and around the net, seems to be a dangerous guy every time he steps on the ice," Bylsma said.

Said Boucher: "He's just a machine out there."

NO WORRIES: Malone, injured Monday in Game 3, was back in the lineup, saying he felt okay. Malone said a reason he played less than two minutes in the first period Monday had more to do with a broken skate blade than the injury. He logged 11:12 of ice time Monday.

MISCELLANY: Blair Jones, D Randy Jones, D Matt Smaby and D Marc-Andre Bergeron were scratched. … C Sidney Crosby (concussion) participated in the Penguins' optional morning skate.

Tampa Bay Lightning power play comes up short 04/20/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 21, 2011 2:07am]

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