Penalties allow a series-saving surge by Devils

by Gary Shelton on April 17, 2018 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Stamkos scored his first goal of the series../CARMEN MANDATO

Stamkos scored his first goal of the series../CARMEN MANDATO

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

What? Did you think it was going to be easy?

Did you think the Lightning would skate a few laps, wave to the crowd and proceed straight to the parade? Of course you didn't. As disappointing as Monday night's 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils might have been, it certainly wasn't a shock.

Still, there was a lot to be disappointed over for a Lightning fan. For one thing, the Bolts held a 2-1 lead in the third period before Jersey came back for a 3-2 lead. (Two empty-net goals made the score a bit deceiving).

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Killorn has been the Bolts' best offensive player./CARMEN MANDATO

Killorn has been the Bolts' best offensive player./CARMEN MANDATO

For the night, the Bolts kept running into penalty trouble. The Lightning had 68 penalty minutes.

Asked the difference in the game, Cooper said simply "A lack of discipline on our part."

It didn't start that way. Alex Killorn scored his fourth goal of the series to give the Bolts a 1-0 lead. Early in the third, Stamkos scored to give the Bolts a 2-1 lead.

But that was it. New Jersey scored four straight (including the two empty-netters).

“I look at momentum, any momentum they gained in that game was just because of our penalties," Cooper said. :It was just the type of penalties we took. Every penalty was 200 feet from our net and you just talk about that and we showed pretty good discipline for two periods. It was just too bad because I thought for sure two periods and then we had that go-ahead goal, I thought we had pretty good control of that game. But you can’t just keep taking penalties where we took them. And then to go down 5-on-3, the way that happened, it was tough. We did it to ourselves.”

That seemed to be the general consensus among the Bolts.

"That’s not a recipe to win this time of year when you take that many penalties," Stamkos said. "We knew they were going to respond. We knew they’re a good team. It wasn’t going to be easy. Obviously, good energy in here for them in front of their home fans.

"At the end of the day, you can’t give them that many power-play chances and then you give them a 5-on-3, good chance that they’re eventually going to get one. They got one and then they got momentum. We had some chances. Vasy made some big saves. You just can’t take that many penalties this time of year.”

Added Victor Hedman: "We put ourselves in a tough position, especially in the third. I think our PK was unbelievable all night, but 5-on-3 for a minute is tough to kill off. They got some momentum and capitalized on a turnover after that. We straighten that out, I think we played a pretty solid game for most of the game except in the third when we lost our discipline a little bit. Guys were trying to do the right things, and we end up taking penalties. That’s what it is. It’s not one game, it’s a series. We’re still on top, and got to refocus and regroup to get ready for the next one.”

The Lightning and Devils resume their series with game four on Wednesday night in New Jersey. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.


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