Special teams doom Red Wings in Game 4, must find life in Game 5

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The Detroit Red Wings entered Game 4 of their best of seven series with the Tampa Bay Lightning in front of their home fans with a chance to tie the series at two games apiece. They didn’t get it done, largely because their special teams couldn’t get it done.

The Lightning left the ice after Game 4 victorious after a 3-2 triumph over the Red Wings at the Joe. After having gone 1 for 14 in the previous three games with the man advantage, the Lightning scored all three of their goals Tuesday night with a Detroit player in the penalty box. The dagger came with 2:59 left in the third period when Ondrej Palat took a pass from Jonathan Drouin and re-directed the puck past Petr Mrazek for the game-winner.

Tampa Bay’s power play has been resurrected, while Detroit’s penalty killing wasn’t able to contain it. Meanwhile, Detroit’s power play continues to be a maddening mystery. It struggled all season long after having been one of the best in the NHL the previous season under Jim Hiller, who left Detroit to continue as Mike Babcock’s assistant coach in Toronto. Only one power play goal has been scored by the Red Wings in this series out of 21 chances, four of them coming Tuesday night.

Detroit’s special teams have long been a part of their success, but right now, they’re letting the Red Wings down at the worst time of the year. The Lightning have apparently figured out the answer to their power play struggles, while the Red Wings are still searching for theirs – and the clock is running out.