Again, Bolts can’t conquer Minnesota

by Gary Shelton on January 17, 2020

in general

Kucherov scored both Lightning goals./CHUCK MULLER

Friday, 4 a.m.

If a Tampa Bay Lightning player lives a bad life, does he spend eternity in Minnesota?

For the past few seasons, the state has been hell on the Lightning. Counting Thursday night's 3-2 victory, Minnesota has beaten the Lighting five straight games and eight straight at home.

Never mind that the Lightning had won 10 of its 11 previous games. Never mind that the Wild had lost four straight and entered in last place in the Central Division.

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The Bolts were listless, getting off only 20 shots in the game. Goaltender Alex Stalock stopped 18 of them, allowing only two goals by Nikita Kucherov, who took over the Lightning lead with 20 goals on the season.

Kucherov has six goals in his last six games.

 “You have to commit going to the net and commit to shooting the puck," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "The first 10 minutes, we had the puck for about nine minutes of it. We were just playing a puck position game. All of the sudden you get a couple of penalties and you're chasing it. It’s not just been tonight. Our scoring has dried up the last few games. Part of that is we have to get to the net. "

Curtis McElhinney fell to 5-6-2 on the season. He stopped 20 of 23 shots.

"There has to be a little more urgency in the offensive zone about getting some dirty ones," Cooper said. "We haven't been getting the dirty ones. We had our looks. Give them credit. We have two games left (before the all-star break), and we want to end the on a good note. Tonight wasn't a good step toward that."

The Lightning plays in Winnipeg tonight. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m.

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