Bolts’ slide continues in 3rd period collapse

by Gary Shelton on February 28, 2020

in general

Point scored his 23rd goal./CARMEN MANDATO

Friday, 4 a.m.

For a long time, it looked as if the Lightning might never lose again.

Now, the question is if they will ever win.

Once again, the collapsible Tampa Bay Lightning took it on the chin Thursday night, losing their fourth straight game. This time it was a 5-2 decision against Chicago, as the Blackhawks scored five goals in less than 13 minutes of the third period.

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The Bolts took a 2-0 on Brayden Point's 23rd goal and Nikita Kucherov's 31st. But Chicago scored five goals on 10 shots to win going away.

In their last four games, all losses, the Lightning have given up 21 goals. They've given up 27 in their last six.

"Reset -- that’s what we have to do," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "Maybe after our long winning streak, we took a breath and were looking at playoffs or something down the road., although we're not close to clinching. There's a lot of runway left, Some details in our game are slipping."

Goaltender Curtis McElhinney shut out the Blackhawks for two periods, but Chicago tied the game at 2-2 with a pair of goals in 26 seconds. Dominik Kubalik scored a hat trick in the final period.

“When it’s not going well, you can look at a lot of things," Cooper said. "It’s going south as a group. You’re not looking and saying it’s goaltending or its special teams or the penalty kill or our 5-on-5 play. It’s kind of a collaboration of it all. As a group, you're going to go through some ups and downs. We've had more ups than downs.Now it’s not quite working for us. I look at where we sit. I like where we’re  at. We just have to straighten out some things in our game and I’m confident we’ll be able to do that.

"The snowball got pushed off the hill and kept rolling and we couldn’t stop it. The alarming amount of goals we’re giving up now is not a recipe for winning hockey games."

Cooper did like the first two periods of play by the Lighting, however.

"I thought we had pretty good control of that game and then pucks started going in the net," Cooper said.  "The first couple we had pucks on our stick. We don't get clears.  The third one is on a deflection, The fourth one is on a power play and it’s 4-2. It overshadows a lot of good things we did for most of that game. You look up and goes from 2-0 to 5-2 and you're wondering what happened."

The Bolts try to stop their slide Saturday afternoon at Amalie Arena in a game against Calgary. The puck is scheduled to drop at 4 p.m.

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