Pittsburgh had a 34-18 shot advantage in a 4-1 loss to the Lightning and finished 0-for-7 on the power play. Tampa goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who helped eliminate Pittsburgh from last year's Eastern Conference quarterfinals, was on fire and finished with 33 saves.
"We did some things to get shots and chances and Roloson played really well," Pens head coach Dan Bylsma said. "He came up with some big saves. That's the difference in the game. We did get those shots on net. We did have a lot of traffic, just didn't come up with that goal and were fighting from behind."
Tyler Kennedy scored the lone goal and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 14 shots for the Penguins, who have lost two of three and four of their last seven games. After visiting the Panthers, Pittsburgh will head back to the Steel City for a three-game homestand versus the Islanders, Blues and Senators.
Pittsburgh is 5-4-2 as the guest this season and 6-1-1 at home. It is currently tied with Philadelphia for the Atlantic Division lead with 25 points.
Jordan Staal had an assist and owns six goals and nine points in his last eight games. Superstar Sidney Crosby hasn't played since suffering a concussion in January and is working out with the team. His return to the ice is still in question.
James Neal had his seven-game point streak snapped in the loss to the Lightning. He had four goals and 11 points during the stretch.
Florida will kick off a four-game homestand tonight versus the Penguins, Devils, Rangers and Tampa Bay, and is 2-2-3 in Sunrise, FL this season. It is currently tied with Washington for first place in the Southeast with 21 points.
"You can't say our effort wasn't there, it was more so we didn't have enough poise with the puck," said Florida forward Kris Versteeg. "At times like that when you play against a team that skates around, just runs around and hits guys, you've got to have poise and not be worried about it."
The Panthers, who had won three of four games coming in and haven't scored a power-play goal in three straight games, had their four-game winning streak as the visitor come to an end. Center Marcel Goc was a late scratch due to an upper body injury and is questionable for Saturday.
Pittsburgh topped the Panthers, 4-2, on Oct. 11 this season at Consol Energy Center thanks to goals from Pascal Dupuis, Matt Cooke, Richard Park and James Neal. Fleury stopped 32 shots in the Penguins' home opener.
The Penguins prevailed in all four meetings with Florida last season and has won the last five encounters between the two teams. They have won 15 of the last 19 contests in this series. Pittsburgh has won six of nine and seven of its last 11 visits to Sunrise.