Lightning having trouble stopping opponents

by Gary Shelton on January 4, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Kucherov scored twice in Lightning defeat./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Kucherov scored twice in Lightning defeat./JEFFREY S. KING

Wednesday, 3 a.m.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, still spinning its wheels, finds itself in desperate need of an improved defense.

The Lightning gave up a half-dozen goals (one on an empty-netter) in a 6-4 loss to Winnipeg Tuesday night. The Bolts have now given up three or more goals in 10 of their last 12 games.

Tampa Bay gave up three goals in the second period.

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"It was men against boys after that first period,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “We've been able to accumulate some points at home, and we come out and do everything we wanted to do in the first period except get the lead. Just to come out like we did, we just didn't defend. We thought about one net only and once you do that, that's it for you. Next thing you know it's 4-1 and that's a long way to come back. It's tough, too, in this league to score four goals in a game and lose. That's tough and we found a way to do that tonight.

“We let one slip through our fingers tonight. Give Winnipeg credit. I know they outshot us two to one after the first period. When you break it down, they played two good periods of hockey and we played one. Usually that means the team playing two is going to win the game. We thought about only one net."

The Bolts gave up the first goal for the fifth time in six games. They tied the game on Michael Peca's first NHL goal.

"We just didn't have a good follow-up shift after that, and the next thing you know, the penalty shot,” Cooper said. “It's the call they made. But still, even with that going in, it's one, but then we gave up the third one right away. After kind of a long shift in our own zone that we just did not compete hard enough and that's what happens  against good teams."

Nikolaj Ehlers scored twice for the Jets, including on a penalty shot.
The Bolts came back to within one after Nikita Kucherov scored twice and Ondrej Palat once.

Tampa Bay is home Thursday night against Nashville.

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