Bolts’ offense fizzles against New Jersey

by Gary Shelton on March 25, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Palat scored the Bolts' only goal./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Palat scored the Bolts' only goal./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Sunday, 3 a.m.

Suddenly, the ice was not as clear. The air was not as clean. The net was not as big.

This is what it's like when a team, even a good one, finds itself in a power outage. The Tampa Bay Lightning lost a 2-1 game to the New Jersey Devils Saturday night.

Only Ondrej Palat was able to score for the Bolts in the loss. The Devils trail the Lightning by 20 points on the season, but they moved to 2-0-1 against Tampa Bay.

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“They’re a good team," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "That’s why they’re in the playoffs. You think eight teams from each conference make it and they’re in a playoff spot right now, there’s not a lot of points separating a lot of the teams and they’ve got a good team. It was one of those games. Both teams defended. Both teams didn’t give up a whole lot. We pushed in the third, had our chances, couldn’t score.”

The Bolts put together their best period of the night in the third, outshooting the Devils 12-7 in the period.

“It was a game of who was going to get the break in the end," Cooper said.  "They got that two-goal lead. They defend pretty well. We tried to get inside. We had our chances. We had a couple good looks and they just didn’t go in.”

The Devils are able to match up well against Tampa Bay.

“Their forwards play with speed," said Lightning forward Chris Kunitz. "They have a good, structured game where they defend with five guys but they also flip pucks out and let their forwards go. That usually puts teams under pressure because they’re skating after your defensemen. We had some success in the zone. Their goalie played well. They blocked a lot of shots that we threw at the net. Pucks got deflected or didn’t make its way to the net. They capitalized on their chances. They play a speed and pace game almost similar to us, but we have to do a better job if we’re going to face this team in the playoffs.

“When you’re rolling as a team, it seems like those bounces are getting to the net or finding someone else’s stick rather than going out of the play. Sometimes you’ve just got to work through it. We were kind of slow to start. We got a few shifts in the first that we put pucks there and had some zone time and created some momentum. But they’re a desperate team. They’re fighting every day just to get into the playoffs. We have to be able to match that urgency to be able to play with a team that’s flying as high as they are right now.”

Said forward J.T. Miller: “It was a good hard-fought game. Both teams battled playoff style. Fans were into it. I thought we had a lot of looks. In the third, they just kind of packed in. We had some good zone time, but we just didn’t get enough out of our looks.”

The Lightning return home Monday, March 26 to take on the Arizona Coyotes at Amalie Arena. The puck drops at  7:30 p.m.









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