Bolts clobbered by lowly Coyotes, 4-1

by Gary Shelton on March 27, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Hedman slammed into the boards late in the game./JEFFREY S. KING

Hedman slammed into the boards late in the game./JEFFREY S. KING

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

"At this rate, it will be a relief when the playoffs finally start. Once again, the Tampa Bay Lightning played down to its competition.

The Lightning, one of the best teams in the league all season, continues to be flummoxed by the worst of the NHL. This time, the Bolts lost to an awful Arizona team, the worst team in the Western Conference, by a 4-1 score.

Tampa Bay got off only 20 shots all night, seven in the first, six in the second and seven in the third. It was the team's second-lowest shot total all season.

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Domingue loses his helmet in front of the goal./JEFFREY S. KING

Domingue loses his helmet in front of the goal./JEFFREY S. KING

Earlier this year, the Bolts have lost twice to Buffalo, the worst team in the East. They've lost to the Islanders, the Rangers and Ottawa.  They've lost three times to New Jersey.

The Bolts played without goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (rest) and captain Steven Stamkos (lower body injury). Also, they played without much of their offense. The Bolts scored only once in each in its back-to-back losses.

Kucherov, warming up in a Rays' jersey, scored his fourth goal in five games./JEFFREY S. KING

Kucherov, warming up in a Rays' jersey, scored his fourth goal in five games./JEFFREY S. KING

“We had a tough night on the time and space tonight," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "They did a good job on us. When we had pucks in some areas, they were on us quick. They had some really good sticks. It was tough early on. We just couldn’t get anything through, shots blocked and they were going the other way. They played a good game, they played fast.”

Cooper pointed out the problems of the Lightning offense.

“It was one of those things where I think we lost our confidence a little when

Erne went down early with an injury./JEFFREY S. KING

Erne went down early with an injury./JEFFREY S. KING

things weren’t going our way," Cooper said. "We would get in the offensive zone, and it’s almost like we were one and done. It was one off the net and then there was a whistle. We just couldn’t get our mojo going in the offensive zone, and it was probably a little frustrating for the guys. It was like the harder we tried, the worse we got. We couldn’t find a rhythm."

Forward Chris Kunitz talked about the team's disappointment.

“I think we’d want it (the result) back," Kunitz said. "I think we wanted better for our goalie, that’s for sure, playing against his former team. We were a little flat obviously. We didn’t generate enough shots. They’re a team that works hard, they know what they are working for, to get better and maybe

Killorn moves the puck up the ice./JEFFREY S. KING

Killorn moves the puck up the ice./JEFFREY S. KING

playing for contracts. We have to match their intensity, and we just didn’t execute as well as we needed to against some of their pressure.

"They checked hard, their D gapped up, their forwards are fast. A team that plays like that you’re surprised that they’re maybe that low in the standings, but we needed a better effort. Obviously, we are missing one of our top guys and that took a little of our edge off, but we need to get better as a team.”

The Lightning suddenly has the look of a team on the ropes.

“I think our PK has been better, which is a good thing because we are going to need that in the playoffs," said goaltender Louie Domingue. "But we are looking for our swagger back. We were making little plays, we were making a difference out there on the ice. That’s why we won 51 games. I think we’re looking for us to get that back. Obviously, we’ve been struggling a little bit the last couple weeks, but I’m not worried about anything. We’re going to find our way back soon.”

The Bolts now travel to Boston to face the Bruinson Thursday. The puck drops at 7 p.m.

Miller had an assist on the Kucherov goal./JEFFREY S. KING

Miller had an assist on the Kucherov goal./JEFFREY S. KING

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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