Bolts staggered again by Arizona’s offense

by Gary Shelton on February 23, 2020

in general

Vasilevskiy has given up 12 goals in two games./CHUCK MULLER

Sunday, 4 a.m.

It has happened as quickly as falling off a cliff. The Tampa Bay Lightning are officially in a slump.

Only yesterday (actually, it was three days ago), the Lightning was riding an 11-game winning streak, and it seemed as if they would coast down the stretch of the NHL season. They had just fortified their team with the addition of Blake Coleman, and they seemed to be driving without speed limits.

And then... ouch.

The Lightning lost their second straight game Saturday night, falling to Arizona in embarrassing fashion, 7-3. The Bolts trailed 3-1 at one point, then rallied to tie the game. But the Coyotes scored the game's final four goals and won going away.

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“It’s extremely disappointing," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "We’re a much better team than that."

The rest of us might have thought so, too. But the Bolts have given up 12 goals in their last two games (64 shots) and 18 in their last four. Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy's own skid parallels his team's. After getting at least one point in 21 straight games, he has been unable to stand up to the breakaways allowed by his team.

“Probably just hanging our goalie out there," Cooper said when asked what he was most disappointed in. "That would be a start. We're not committed to winning the right way right now.”

Anthony Cirelli gave the Bolts a 1-0 lead with his 15th goal. Arizona came back with a pair of goals in 70 seconds to take the lead.

After the Bolts tied it at 3, the Coyotes came back to retake the lead in 53 seconds on a goal by Brad Richardson. Both Conor Garland and Clayton Keller scored two goals each for Arizona.

The Bolts are home Tuesday night against Toronto at Amalie Arena. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m.

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