Friday, 4 a.m.
If the Tampa Bay Lightning are going to have a shot at the playoffs this season, they're going to have take a shot.
The Lightning never aimed, never fired in a 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames Thursday night. That was the disappointing part of the failure to Lightning coach Jon Cooper. After pointing in seven straight games, the Lightning went down with an impotent offense.
Perhaps you would say that a game like this was due. On the other hand, yuck.
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The Lightning offered little competition, letting a game that coach Jon Cooper called “ripe for the taking” slide through their fingers.
"You know what, I’m pinning that game on us,” Cooper said. “If I thought there was a game we weren’t going to have the energy for, I thought it would be the Edmonton game. I did not think tonight was going to be the game. So that was a little unfortunate. It happens.
"In games we’ve been finding our way to get to the net. We’ve been shooting pucks. To have 22 shot attempts after two periods in games that we’re getting 70-plus, it’s hard to win. We couldn’t get our way through the neutral zone because we weren’t executing. A lot of things why we’ve had success here in the last month or so, we didn’t do tonight. 82 game season, that’s going to happen, but the problem is we’ve already used up our gimmes. We don’t have anymore. That’s what makes this one tough because this game was right for the taking, even if we weren’t at our best tonight, it was still right for the taking and we couldn’t do it.”
The Lightning took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Vlad Namestnikov,but Calgary scored three straight to win. Nikita Kucherov scored his 23rd goal with 1:13 to play to make it closer.
"We just didn’t shoot pucks,” Cooper said. “That was it. We had 22 shot attempts after two periods. You should have that after ten minutes, 15 minutes in a game. There wasn’t that urgency to score. It was an easy night for their goaltender tonight.”
The Bolts are home on Monday night against Ottawa.