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Struggling Lightning power play focused on basics

by Corey Long

TAMPA -- Captain Steven Stamkos wants the Tampa Bay Lightning to get back to basics on the power play and work harder to generate chances.

Steven Stamkos
Center - TBL
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 11 | PTS: 18
SOG: 63 | +/-: 2
The Lightning are 1-for-11 on the power play through four games of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks and have all of 12 shots on goal. Tampa Bay failed to generate a goal during a lengthy two-man advantage in the second period of Game 3 but managed a 3-2 victory. The Lightning went 0-for-4 in Game 4, a 2-1 loss.

Tampa Bay and Chicago are tied 2-2, with Game 5 in the best-of-7 series at Amalie Arena on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports).

Tampa Bay was 16-for-72 (22.2 percent) on the power play through the first three rounds of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs before slumping against Chicago.

Stamkos said part of the credit for Tampa Bay's power-play struggles belongs to the Blackhawks' penalty-killing unit, but felt that part of the problem is the Lightning's penchant for trying to make highlight-reel plays.

"They've got a good PK and they pack it in pretty tight. Guys are willing to block shots," Stamkos said Thursday. "We have to find a way to get more shots to the net. We know we haven't scored on the power play at the clip that we wanted to during this Final. Sometimes you're pressing, you're not confident in taking a shot. We're trying to make that extra pass, trying to get a nice goal."

Stamkos, who has yet to score a goal in this series, said the Lightning need to focus on getting shots to the net and traffic in front of Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford.

"It's the old cliché; when things aren't going well just start getting pucks to the net," Stamkos said. "We're just guilty of trying to make that pretty pass. And at this time of the season you'll take any goal you can get. Just simplify things a little bit; maybe we've got a day tomorrow to work on something, but it's tough because we don't have a lot of time with the whole group on the ice together."

Lightning coach Jon Cooper said during his post-game press conference Wednesday that the power play appeared a little disorganized in Game 4. Like Stamkos, he noted the extra-man unit hasn't had a lot of practice time.

"We haven't really practiced," he said. "Sometimes you can get a little bit out of sync.

"Did we have a couple looks on some of them? We did. We created some shots. Had some scrambles in there. I don't know if we shot enough. As the power plays went on a little bit, we tried to make the perfect play. But sometimes you score on them, sometimes you don't. When you lose by a goal, your power play goes 0-4, all of a sudden an alarm goes off."

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