PITTSBURGH — Lightning goalie Ben Bishop came into the locker room after the first period and took off his gear.
It didn't take long for Bishop to decide, after a lower-body injury late in the period, he wasn't coming back.
"It was right away," coach Jon Cooper said. "He said he couldn't go. It's tough, he's a big part of our team."
The Lightning lost 4-2 to the Penguins on Monday night, and has dropped four out of five. But its biggest loss might be Bishop. Cooper said Bishop will be re-evaluated today, but indicated a call-up would be likely before tonight's game in Philadelphia, potentially prospect Andrei Vasilevskiy, the AHL's player of the week.
While Cooper felt his team carried play for most of the game, it lost for the 10th straight time (0-8-2) to Eastern-Conference leading Pittsburgh, which was without star Sidney Crosby (mumps).
"It's frustrating," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "Especially with the talent that we have on this team and the way we started. We're playing some good teams right now, and it's not good enough to just be able to compete in games. We've got to look ourselves in the mirror, everyone on this team, and bounce back (tonight)."
Stamkos, held to one shot, pointed to himself, saying his top line didn't generate enough (Jonathan Drouin replaced Valtteri Filppula late). Tampa Bay (19-10-3) dominated in the first, not allowing a shot for the first 11 minutes. But goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was spectacular, robbing Alex Killorn on three great chances, and had 28 saves overall.
"I've got to score on one of those," Killorn said.
Pittsburgh struck first on a shorthanded goal by Brandon Sutter. On a breakaway, his wrist shot was headed wide but went in off the knob of Bishop's stick. The Lightning answered 24 seconds later on a power-play goal by Drouin, his second goal of the season and first since Oct. 24.
Veteran backup Evgeni Nabokov replaced Bishop to start the second, and likely will start tonight. He gave up a goal on the first shot he saw. After a Brian Boyle turnover behind the net, right wing Bryan Rust was found all alone in the slot.
"We kind of left Nabby out to dry," Stamkos said.
Late in the second, a loose puck bounced off Matt Carle to Penguins right wing Steve Downie, who put in the rebound. Brian Dumoulin scored in the third, his shot deflecting off the skate of Victor Hedman.
"We scored three goals on ourselves," Cooper said. "They scored four, three went off us into the net. Hard to win when we put three in our net and two in theirs. Maybe we won 5-1."
First Period—1, Pittsburgh, Sutter 7 (Scuderi), 19:09 (sh). 2, Tampa Bay, Drouin 2 (Johnson, Kucherov), 19:33 (pp). Penalties—Letang, Pit (high-sticking), 3:47; Morrow, TB, served by Drouin, double minor (roughing), 11:07; Farnham, Pit (roughing), 11:07; Sustr, TB (hooking), 16:44; Downie, Pit (tripping), 18:45.
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Second Period—3, Pittsburgh, Rust 1 (Ebbett), 2:55. 4, Pittsburgh, Downie 5 (Hornqvist, Malkin), 19:26 (pp). Penalties—Comeau, Pit (high-sticking), 10:52; Callahan, TB (holding), 18:17.
Third Period—5, Pittsburgh, Dumoulin 1 (Downie, Spaling), 7:47. 6, Tampa Bay, Kucherov 12 (Filppula), 16:56. Penalties—Brown, TB (roughing), 12:27. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 12-8-10—30. Pittsburgh 5-10-11—26. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 1 of 3; Pittsburgh 1 of 4. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Bishop (5 shots-4 saves), Nabokov 3-4-1 (0:00 second, 21-18). Pittsburgh, Fleury 17-4-2 (30-28). A—18,487 (18,387). T—2:23. Referees—Kelly Sutherland, Chris Lee. Linesmen—Greg Devorski, Michel Cormier.