Lightning loses embarrassing game to Montreal

by Gary Shelton on April 1, 2016 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Palat misses on a penalty shot in the second./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Palat misses on a shot in the second./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Friday, 6 a.m.

It has happened before. I looked it up.

It was a Tuesday, back in 1954. The ice was melting, and the players wore galoshes and pushed a volleyball around with brooms.

Yeah, that was the last time there was a game as mind-numbingly dull as the one the Tampa Bay Lightning played Thursday night. Oren Koules would have felt right at home.

This was so bad that your eyes burned watching it. It was hard to figure out which of the teams (Tampa Bay) is going to the playoffs and which one (Montreal) is going home. It was hard to figure out which goaltender was throwing a shutout (Mike Condon, his first one ever. In his previous six games, he was giving up 3.89 goals per game).

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the GarySheltonSports.com blog (its at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on GarySheltonSports.com.

It was bad enough you suspected the team was playing for a draft pick. It was

Callahan returned to action for Tampa Bay./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Callahan returned to action for Tampa Bay./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

bad enough you wondered if the blurry fax machine was in charge. It was bad enough that the team might have been trying to tick off Art Williams one more time. The Lightning gave off the impression they were just another cow entered in a horse race. No thank you.

The Lightning managed three shots in the third period. On one power play, they didn't have a shot.

And futhermore, ouch. You could call them lethargic, but they'd be too lazy to repeat it.

This is how a team gets ready for the post-season? By skating in circles? By letting routine goals in? By being just another team? If the Lightning cannot muster a better effort than this, its playoff season seems to be destined to be short. As it was, the Lightning should have apologized as the fans filed out of the arena.

This was the Lighting as they were disinterested. Not even a penalty shot by Ondrej Palat was especially interesting.

“We just had too many passengers today,” said captain Steven Stamkos, a strict taskmaster in defeat. “We're at a point in the season that can't happen. That's not acceptable. I don't care who we're playing. We could be playing the best team in the league, we could be playing the worst team in the league. This is almost go time with the playoffs here.”

“It's been our Achilles' heel all season long. When we don't compete and we don't stick to the structure and the game play you're a very beatable team. When you do, it's special.”

For most of the season, the Lightning has had trouble being special. It was the 19th time this season the Lightning have scored one goal, the 37th time they've scored two goals or fewer.

“A lot of people are talking the talk, not many guys walking the walk,” said goaltender Ben Bishop “We've got five games left.”

Do you believe in momentum? The players certainly about talk it, but they don't seem interested in building any. You would think the Lightning would be a maximum effort team, blowing away the teams that have nothing to play for.

Ask yourself this: do the Lightning scare opponents? Oh, teams respect them with Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov. But do they fear them? Doesn't Tampa Bay spend too much time wading alongside whatever opponent shows up?

Not so. They are going through the motions. If they don't score first, they are often in for a long evening.

Soon enough, it will be too late.

Bishop saves a shot, but he lost his 20th game of the year./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Bishop saves a shot, but he lost his 20th game of the year./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Share with:Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: