Lightning finally loses a game at home

by Gary Shelton on October 29, 2017 · 0 comments

in general

Gibson stops Stamkos as he tries to score./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Gibson stops Stamkos as he tries to score./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Stamkos had his points streak ended by Ducks./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Stamkos had his points streak ended by Ducks./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Sunday, 4 a.m.

There for a while, it looked as if the Tampa Bay Lightning might never lose again.

They were getting good goaltending, and improving defense. They had the hottest goal scorer in the league in Nikita Kucherov and a star-turned-playmaker in Steven Stamkos. Their young players were maturing, and their older players still had spring in their steps. They won nine of their first 11, and they always seemed to have the opposition outnumbered.

Then came Saturday night.

And a 4-1 loss to Anaheim, their first home loss of the season.

And just like that, the Bolts were reminded how much they don't like to lose.

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Budaj gave up four goals on 21 shots./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Budaj gave up four goals on 21 shots./ANDREW J. KRAMER

"If I was just going to summarize this, to save any additional questions, it was a bad hockey game,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “It was whistles, offsides, pucks out of play. There was zero flow. We get power plays, do nothing with them. It didn’t generate momentum for us. They got two power plays and scored on both of them.”

Kunitz hits Vermette against the boards./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Kunitz hits Vermette against the boards./ANDREW J. KRAMER

The death stroke seemed to be a goal by Anaheim that just beat the buzzer to end the second period.

"It’s a tough one to give up, especially because we had a ton of momentum,” Cooper said. “If we go in (down) 2-1, who knows how we come out in the third. To actually have a little bit of life, then to go down 3-1, it’s a deflator.”

The Bolts had points in nine straight games before the defeat. Both Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov had scored in 11 straight games.

"We’ll have to find a way to have success against teams like that who obviously know we’re a very skilled team and like to have the puck,” Stamkos said. “They just did a good job of clogging up the neutral zone and did a great job of countering our forecheck with plays into the middle. I don’t think we did a good enough job of adjusting to that tonight where we could make a read and try to take away that middle guy.

"They have a lot of winners on that team. That’s a team that’s always tough to beat. They got a lot of smart, big, strong, heavy players that they got the lead on us and did a

Sergachev moves the puck./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Sergachev moves the puck./ANDREW J. KRAMER

good job of clogging it up, and it was tough for our skilled guys to make some plays.”

The Lightning said the Ducks were a difficult team to play against.

"They’re a big team,” forward Chris Kunitz said. “They don’t necessarily play with too much speed, but they’ll hit the middle and break out when they’re in control. It was kind of a sleepy game for us, but most of it was probably our own lack of attention and detail with the puck.”

Tampa Bay allowed only 21 shots, but four of them got past goaltender Peter Budaj.

The Bolts travel to Florida on Monday night for their next game. The game begins at 7:30 p.m.

Brown tries to get the offense going./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Brown tries to get the offense going./ANDREW J. KRAMER

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