Bolts resume action with 3-1 loss to Winnipeg

by Gary Shelton on January 31, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Peca has played "desperate" since the Lightning called him up./CARMEN MANDATO

Peca has played "desperate" since the Lightning called him up./TRAVOS PENDERGRASS

Wednesday, 2 a.m.

For the Tampa Bay Lightning, the stars didn't come out Tuesday night.

The Lightning, just on the other side of the All-Star game, sort of fizzled on their return to NHL play in a 3-1 loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

Goaltender Andrei Vaslevskiy? He didn't play.

Captain Steven Stamkos? No goals, no points on only one shot.

Star Nikita Kucherov? No goals, no points on only one shot.

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Herman returned to action Tuesday night./CARMEN MANDATO

Herman returned to action Tuesday night./CARMEN MANDATO

The only all-star who had a keeper of a night was Brayden Point, who had an assist but didn't find the net on any of his five shots.

In slightly better news, Victor Hedman returned after missing  three weeks with an injured ankle. He showed some signs of rust.

“Well, he’s our best defenseman," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "He probably played more minutes than we planned for because Girardi went out in the first period so we basically played for a whole first period with five defensemen. But he’s missed three weeks, so it takes a little time to get back in the game. But for missing that long -- he was a big part of our team -- he was fine tonight.”

Otherwise, it wasn't the best night for the Bolts, who went up 1-0 on Matthew Peca's first goal of the season. It was the Bolts second loss of the season (10-2) against the Central Division.

The Lightning struggled on their special teams.

“It was probably a little indicative of how our whole game was going,"  Cooper said. "When we’re playing the team 5-on-5 game, usually the power play follows suit. But we weren’t on it. And when the power play went out, it actually probably sucked the life out of us a little bit. It was tough. And then the unfortunate puck out of play, which the refs have pretty good eyes to see that one. But unfortunately it went out. You’ve got to kill those off. We couldn’t do it. A couple lost battles on the other goals and that was it.”

Cooper praised Peca and Michael Bournival.

“In the end, those guys are playing desperate," Cooper said. "And they’re playing more desperate than a few of the other players on our team right now. They’re keeping it simple. They’re doing what we’re asking and they’re getting rewarded for it. Peca especially has been great on the draws for us. He’s picking up points in back-to-back games now. He deserves it. He’s been competing hard.”

The Lightning next plays at Calgary on Thursday. The puck drops at 9 p.m.




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