Lightning finally cools in loss to Islanders

by Gary Shelton on November 19, 2017 · 0 comments

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Gourde scored twice in the third period./JEFFREY S. KING

Gourde scored twice in the third period./JEFFREY S. KING

3:30 a.m.

Yep. Losing still feels as bad as it ever did.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, the NHL's best team through the first quarter of the season, were finally cooled off Saturday night in a 5-3 loss to the New York Islanders. The Bolts, 15-3-2 on the season, fell behind 4-0 before coming back to within a goal. New York scored an empty netter at the end for the final margin.

"We’ve had one hell of a start,” Lighting coach Jon Cooper said. “It’s frustrating, yes,

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when you lose a hockey game, but I’ve only had to stand up here a handful of times and answer questions after a loss. In saying that, tonight was a little bit of a reality check for us there’s no question. Not in the grand scheme of how the game was but how we came out. We were off. I think we thought it was a mid-week game, and it was starting at 7:30.”

The Bolts fell behind 4-0 as goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy had a tough night. He allowed four goals in 31 shots.

"We were off,” Cooper said. “It just felt off. We didn’t start well and you’ve got to give the Islanders a little bit of credit. They came in here to win a hockey game. We were down 4-0, but I didn’t think this was a 4-0 game but they played hard. They blocked shots. Their goalie played well. We started to press. We started to make mistakes then started to give up the odd-man rushes. It was like watching our team from the first week of the season, but the Islanders had a lot to do with that. Doug Weight’s done a good job.”

Yanni Gourde scored two goals and Ondrej Palat scored one as the Bolts closed to within 4-3.

"We just came out a  little bit flat,” Palat said. “They were skating better from the start. Thought our game got better as the game went on, just a little too late. The last 15 games the puck has went our way, so I think it’s normal it didn’t go our way tonight.”

Tampa Bay is home against Chicago Wednesday before a weekend road trip to Washington and Pittsburgh.

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