Lightning struggles to score in loss to Vancouver

by Gary Shelton on October 12, 2018 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning center Brayden Point celebrates his goal. / CHUCK MULLER

Friday, 3 a.m.

The new season is open.

The nets, however, remained closed.

Once again, the Tampa Bay Lightning struggled to score Thursday night, seeing a 1-0 lead evaporate in a 4-1 loss to Vancouver in the second half of the third period. The Canucks, who had struggled to start their season, scored two goals within 70 seconds, then added two empty netters for the final margin.

The Bolts, one of the top scoring teams in the league a year ago, now have just two goals in two games.

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Anthony Cirelli disputes a delay of game penalty called on Tampa Bay./CHUCK MULLER

“It’s tough," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We’ve got to finish, and we aren’t finishing. We’re shooting some pucks at the net, but we’re not going there with the desire to score and that’s what you have to do in this league, especially with the goaltending the way it is. These are NHL goalies, you got to go in and get dirty ones. They’re not all going to be pretty, and we’re probably resorting a little bit to try to get the pretty goal.”

Andrei Vasilevskiy stares down Vancouver's Pettersson after a save./CHUCK MULLER

The Lightning started well, but could score only once. Leader Steven Stamkos said his team was not concerned with five-on-five play, but an 0-of-eight

"It’s just a matter of time," Stamkos said. "That’s the least of our worries is scoring. That’s going to come, it’s not cheating because it’s not coming. It’s playing the right way and continuing to improve. Like I said, the power play has got to find a way to start producing.”

It's true that the start doesn't match the way the Lighting kicked in the door  last season. However, it is only two games out of 82. There is a long way to go.

It’s a little cliché, but it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish," Stamkos said. "They finished stronger than we did, so we just have to put it all together. Last game was a terrible start, decent finish. Today it’s good start, decent finish. Today the power play was probably the worst I have seen it in a long time.”

Cooper, too, was bothered that the Canucks outplayed the Lightning down the stretch.

“It’s game two…Let’s be honest, when I looked up one time I think shots were 22-8. So, we can’t sit here and say time off did us anything bad, we had a 1-0 lead and I thought we had really good control of the game.

"Second half of the game, we let them hang around and one team kept playing until the end and all of a sudden you look and it’s 1-0 and next thing you look, it’s 2-1 we’re down and we just couldn’t pull it out. It’s a really tough league to win in and you just can’t take teams for granted or situations for granted. You got to play it out and the Canucks played it out and we didn’t.”

The Lightning is back on the ice Saturday night in a game against Columbus and former coach John Tortorella. The puck drops at 7 p.m. at Amalie Arena.




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