Bolts still reeling on defense as they scuffle

by Gary Shelton on February 18, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Bayden Point scored his 21st goal of the season./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Brayden Point scored his 21st goal of the season./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Sunday, 3 a.m.

For most of the season, the Tampa Bay Lightning has chased down one superlative after another. But now, just before their stretch drive, the Tampa Bay Lightning, somehow, has turned into a .500 hockey team.

Over their last 20 games, the Bolts have played .500 hockey. Over those 20 games, the team has surrendered 63 goals.

The latest disappointment for Tampa Bay was a 4-3 loss to New Jersey. The Bolts launched 51 shots, but Devils goaltender Eddie Lack stopped 48 of them.

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Vasilevskiy eyes an incoming shot./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Vasilevskiy eyes an incoming shot./ANDREW J. KRAMER

“We just did some things that had guys just thinking in the wrong net," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "However many scoring chances we had tonight, not  any of them were a product of us taking a chance, taking a risk. When you do that against a National Hockey League team, a lot of times you’re going to get burned. We got burned tonight.”

Stamkos scored his 244th goal of the season./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Stamkos scored his 24th goal of the season./ANDREW J. KRAMER

During the last 20 games, the Bolts have given up three goals or more 13 times.

“You’ve got to defend. That’s it, you’ve got to defend," Cooper said.. "So often our goalie holds us in and masks some of the issues in the d-zone we have. That’s the tough part because they know, but we just got some guys in there that push for the next goal, push for the next goal and often times we just have to be a little more patient and with our group another one will come at some point.

"We gave them the opportunity to win the game and they took advantage, Three goals should be enough to at least get points."

Paquette moves up the ice for the Bolts./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Paquette moves up the ice for the Bolts./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Tampa Bay got goals from Chris Kunitz, Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos, his 24th.

“Giving up four is not a recipe for success in this league," Stamkos said. "Even though we had a lot of opportunities, a lot of shots, three goals should be enough to win. I thought we had a lot of good things happen, especially in the o-zone. Their goaltender made some good saves. But we just made mistakes that obviously cost us goals. If we’re not going to pay attention to our own net and give up odd-man rushes, it’s tough for Vasy to just bail us out every night. There were a lot of positives, but they scored on chances we gave them for the most part tonight.”

The Bolts try to get another run going on the road this week. They travel to Washington Tuesday to play the Caps in a game that starts at 7 p.m.

Sustr leaves the ice bloodied from a fight and broken visor./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Sustr leaves the ice bloodied from a fight and broken visor./ANDREW J. KRAMER

 

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