"When you're losing, you've just got to keep believing in the locker room you can win," Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet said. "When there's pressure, it just seem like we cave in certain situations."
In addition to ill-timed defensive breakdowns, the Lightning was doomed by an inability to sustain offensive pressure and generate rebounds.
"It's been one-and-done and it's hard to score in this league like that," forward Martin St. Louis said.
Both teams continued to struggle on the power play. Tampa Bay went 0 for 5 and has failed on 13 straight chances. Chicago went 0 for 7 and has scored on one of its last 19 advantages.
Kane scored the lone goal of the first period at 7:42 when his high wrist shot from the right point beat Niittymaki and clanked in off the left post.
Hossa had beaten Niittymaki with a close-in move about 3 minutes earlier, but Smaby swept the puck away as it reached goal line.
Niemi made two close-in saves on Tampa Bay's James Wright 4:15 into the second. About 8 minutes into the period, the Lightning's Steven Stamkos hit the post with a shot.
Eager made it 2-0 midway through the second when he was left open at the edge of the crease and converted Hossa's centering pass. The goal was set up when Tampa Bay defensemen Matt Walker and Victor Hedman both committed to Hossa, who dished the puck to Eager from the right corner.
Hossa extended Chicago's lead to 3-0 with 15.3 seconds left in the period. While skating through the left circle, Hossa pulled Patrick Sharp's deflected centering pass from the air, dropped it to the ice, and whacked the puck past Niittymaki.
Toews made it 4-0 at 6:01 of the third when he chipped in a rebound of Dustin Byfuglien's shot from the slot.
Niittymaki made a pad save on Troy Brouwer's penalty shot with 1:40 left in the third. Brouwer was awarded the attempt after being pulled down by Hedman.
Tampa Bay D Lukas Krajicek and D David Hale were healthy scratches for the second straight game. ... Chicago D Jordan Hendry was a healthy scratch. ... Actor Jim Belushi dropped the ceremonial first puck. The crowd of 21,081 was the Blackhawks 67th straight sellout.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Arena: United Center Location: Chicago, Illinois
Referees: Steve Kozari, Bill McCreary Linesmen: Jay Sharrers, Mark Shewchyk
Attendance: 21,081 (106.9% full)
Team Stat Comparison
Power Play Goals
Power Play Opportunities
Shots on Goal
Patrick Kane (10)
Assist: Duncan Keith
Ben Eager (2)
Assists: Marian Hossa, Brent Sopel
Marian Hossa (4)
Assists: Patrick Sharp, Brent Seabrook
Jonathan Toews (9)
Assists: Dustin Byfuglien, Brent Seabrook