Horrors! Bolts’ winning streak stopped by San Jose

by Gary Shelton on January 6, 2019 · 2 comments

in general

Sergachev finally found the net for the Bolts./CARMEN MANDATO

Sunday, 3 a.m.

Of all of the surprises the Tampa Bay Lightning have provided this season, this may have been the biggest one of them all.

They lost.

Brace yourself for chasms in the earth's surface, for the sky to change colors and for plagues to commence. This was that shocking.

The Bolts lost to the San Jose Sharks late Saturday night, dropping a 5-2 decision. Just when you thought the Bolts would never lose again, they suffered their first regulation loss in 39 days (Nov. 27).

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The 16-game point streak? Over.

The seven game winning streak? Done.

The five-game road streak? Finished.

Nikita Kucherov's 12-game point streak? Kaput.

And so it goes. The Bolts were probably due for a game like this, a game where their offense took the night off. Kucherov didn't have a shot for instance. As a team, the Bolts had just 20, only one by Steven Stamkos and none by Kucherov. And both Bolts' goals were scored by defensemen -- Victor Hedman and Mikhail Sergachev.

"Halfway through that game -- I think we were down 3-1 at one point and felt we deserved a little bit of a better fate," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We hit a bunch of posts. We carried the play. We were skating. I just think as the game moved on, we got tired. It’s only three games on this trip, but it’s back-to-back out west and it’s been a long trip for only three games. Guys gave it everything they had, and tonight wasn’t our night.

"For 16 or 17 games, it was our night. Tonight it wasn’t. Give them credit, they skated and it seemed like they got their legs more as the game went on and capitalized on their opportunities and they’re a good hockey team. It was good hockey game.”

So what did an unbeaten December do for the Lightning?

“I like our team," Cooper said. "I like our group. A bunch of gamers in there. At some point, things aren’t going to go your way. We hit three posts in the first half of the game. When you go on a streak like we did, those probably go in and tonight they didn’t. You get those, all of a sudden the other team’s on their heels a little bit. But it wasn’t for lack of effort. Guys have been gaming it out, and I’ve said this a zillion times, it’s a great group to coach.”

Sergachev's goal was his first of the season.

“Good for him," Cooper said. "He’s growing as a player. It wears on guys when they get some chances and they don’t go in. When you go 41 games without one, I know it was weighing on him. Good on him to jump up in the play and get that one.”

The Lightning now return to Amalie Arena for a two-game home streak, beginning Tuesday night against Columbus.






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