Lightning can’t stop McDavid in defeat

by Gary Shelton on February 6, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Point and Gourde got the Lightning off to a good start./CARMEN MANDATO

Point and Gourde got the Lightning off to a good start./CARMEN MANDATO

Tuesday, 2 a.m.

For most of the year, the Tampa Bay Lightning has been one of the hottest teams in the NHL.

Not Monday night, however.

Monday night, the Lightning was outnumbered by the Winnipeg Fightning McDavids.

Connor McDavid of Winnipeg scored four goals and had an assist to help Winnipeg clobber the Lightning, 6-2. McDavid scored goals once in the

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Killorn scored early for the Lightning./JEFFREY S. KING

Killorn scored early for the Lightning./JEFFREY S. KING

first period, one in the second and two in the third. He went from 17 goals on the season to 21.

The weary Bolts, playing in their eighth straight game away from home, managed goals from Alex Killorn and Yanni Gourde, his 19th.

The Bolts' big stars remained quiet. Nikita Kucherov launched six shots, but he went without a goal for the 11th straight game. Captain Steven Stamkos had 12 goalless games in his last 14. Braydon Point has gone without a goal six times in seven games.

Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy gave up four goals on 26 shots and was pulled going into the third period.

“I’ve got to take the guys off the hook a little bit on this one," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "It’s been a grind. What is it, 17 of 24 on the road? We just finished an eight-game road trip. You play 82 games, it’s tough. Every team has some games that are going to be tougher than others. We were playing a rested team. I think they’ve played two games out of the All-Star break and we’ve been on the road for what seems like forever. Knew this one was going to be tough. We were hoping, we had to get the lead, that was the big thing for us. We didn’t and a team that had a struggling power play and for us to give up two power-play goals in the first, now we’re chasing the game and that’s ultimately what happened for the next 50 minutes after that.”

Cooper praised the play of McDavid.

“It was kind of his night," Cooper said. "The fourth goal says it all. He’s one of the top players in the league. The speed and the skill ... everything you want in a hockey player, he's got it. He was on tonight. He’s fun to watch."

Said forward Tyler Johnson:  “He’s the best -- or I think, one of the best with Crosby -- in the world. He had a heck of a game. He proved his value tonight. We’ve got to do a better job against him though. We’ve got to be better. But you’ve got to give him a lot of credit, he’s a good player.”

The Bolts have won, but they haven't been playing well.

“We’re obviously struggling as a team right now, and when you struggle, you don’t necessarily get breaks," Stamkos said. "We didn’t deserve it tonight, and we just hopefully get home and hit the reset button. I know we went 5-3 on a (eight)-game road trip, which at the end of the day isn’t bad but it’s alarming just the way we’re playing. We’ll have to make some adjustments for sure.

“When things aren’t going well, we’re not executing on breakouts. We’re spending unnecessary time in our end, which is putting unnecessary stress on our goaltenders, which is why you’re seeing a lot of shot volume against this last stretch, which is alarming for sure. That’s on everyone, as the forwards to get open and play hard and the D to make the easy play sometimes. So, collectively, as a group, we’re just making it too hard on ourselves. There’s some good teams in this league with some really good players that are going to make you pay when you make those mistakes. We’re in a tough stretch where for the majority of the time we’re having to play in our end and it’s definitely not working.”



The Bolts come home for a game Thursday night against Vancouver. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.


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