Bolts shut out in must win against Boston

by Gary Shelton on March 18, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Killorn crashes the net, but Rask makes the save./CARMEN MANDATO

Killorn crashes the net, but Rask makes the save./CARMEN MANDATO

Sunday, 3 a.m.

Kucherov got off only one shot on net./CARMEN MANDATO

Kucherov got off only one shot on net./CARMEN MANDATO

If the Tampa Bay Lightning want to be remembered as a special team, perhaps it is time they concentrated more on their special teams.

Such as that power play that doesn't have any power.

And a penalty kill that is dying on the vine.

The Lightning suffered its second straight lopsided loss Saturday night, falling 3-0 to the surging Boston Bruins. The Bolts struggled for most of the night, being held to fewer than 10 shots in each of the three periods. It was the first time the Bolts have been shut out this season.

Johnson attempts to center the puck./CARMEN MANDATO

Johnson attempts to center the puck./CARMEN MANDATO

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Dotchin and Schaller had a brief scrap./CARMEN MANDATO

Dotchin and Schaller had a brief scrap./CARMEN MANDATO

However, it was special teams that haunt the team in this one. The Bolts gave up two goals on its penalty kill, and went 0-3 on a tepid power play.

“I mean they’ve got a good team," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "They have pretty close to 100 points. There’s a reason why they only have 14 regulation losses. I think one team out-special teamed the other, and it was clearly a huge difference. We couldn’t win a face-off. In the end if you look at the zone time, we were in their zone all three periods much longer than they

Point forces the puck to the top of the crease./CARMEN MANDATO

Point forces the puck to the top of the crease./CARMEN MANDATO

were in ours. We had either 40 missed or blocked shots. They had less than 20. We were trying to get pucks there. We couldn’t get them through. The purpose at the net wasn’t there. They did a great job of defending their net and blocking shots.”

The victory allowed the Bruins to pull within two points of Tampa Bay in the Atlantic Division.

“I was really surprised when I looked up and it was probably seven or eight

Gourde collides with Marchand during play./CARMEN MANDATO

Gourde collides with Marchand during play./CARMEN MANDATO

minutes into the game," Cooper said. "We didn’t have a shot on goal yet we were in their net most of that time. In the end, we just couldn’t get pucks through. Some of it is our fault, and some of it is credit to them. That’s just something that we have to work on getting pucks in there and winning those battles in the paint.”

The Bolts have now lost two games in a row. They are 14-7 in their last 21, although that includes several wins in extra time.

“It just looked like we were a little anxious, whether it was overly excited or just guys gripping onto their sticks a little too much," said Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos. "There’s just been a lot of negativity around the team lately. We’ve just got to swing that and get some positive emotion in here, have some fun again. I think that’s been when we play our best.”

Vasilevskiy missed a chance to tie the franchise record for wins./CARMEN MANDATO

Vasilevskiy missed a chance to tie the franchise record for wins./CARMEN MANDATO

Stamkos said the Bolts need to regain their confidence.

“We believe in each other," Stamkos said, "I believe in this group. I think everyone has to believe in themselves as individuals and the skillset that they bring. It just looked like we were gripping our sticks too much at the beginning of the game, myself included. We’ll all look to be better, but I just think that we have to believe in ourselves. This group was put together to be successful and to win, and we’ve got to believe that.”

Defenseman Anton Stralman said the Bruins were more desperate.

Paquette fights for space in Lightning loss./CARMEN MANDATO

Paquette fights for space in Lightning loss./CARMEN MANDATO

“It looked like one team preparing for the playoffs and one team playing game 71," Stralman said. "That was the difference. They just played a better game.

"I think we were hesitating a little bit to begin with for whatever reason. I just think you look at the whole game, we lost to the better team today. I think they played better. They had a structure. They played good structure, good defense, good offense. I think for sure we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit, a few turnovers. They were better.”

The Bolts try to start playing better today when the team faces Edmonton. The puck drops at 5 p.m.

Ryan Callahan chases the puck in defeat./CARMEN MANDATO

Ryan Callahan chases the puck in defeat./CARMEN MANDATO

 

 

 

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