Slow start, special teams doom Lightning

by Gary Shelton on March 11, 2020

in general

Palat scored the Lightning's only goal./CARMEN MANDATO

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

For the Tampa Bay Lighting, there are a dozen games left to find themselves again.

The slumping Bolts lost for the seventh time in their last 12 games Tuesday night, falling 2-1 to Toronto largely because of a horrible start. The Maple Leafs got off the first 11 shots of the game and 17 of the first 19.

It was the third game of the last five that the Lightning has gotten off to a slow start.

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"It was disappointing tonight," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "In the course of a year with 82 games -- three-period games -- there are lot of periods of hockey. For the most part we have a lot of good ones. a small amount that could have been better, and a couple that are embarrassing. That was among the embarrassing ones. If you're not going to compete hard and be physical, you'll chase a team like that all night."

Despite the start the Lightning caught the Leafs on the scoreboard, tying the game at 1-1. They might have taken the lead if they didn't struggle so much on special teams. They were oh-for-four on the power play and allowed two goals on their penalty kill.

"We had more fight in the second (period), but you're turning a game into a 40-minute game. That’s two games in a row the special teams have let us down."

That's tough considering that the Leafs, as it stands now, would be the Bolts' first-round opponent in the playoffs.

"Tonight, we didn't come prepared," said forward Alex Killorn. "I looked up at the shots once and it was 10-1 (actually, Toronto had the first 11 shots of the game). That's just not good enough."

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 34 saves to keep the Bolts in the game, but Ondrej Palat scored the team's only goal. Vasilevskiy has faced 30 shots or more in nine of his last 11 starts.

The Lightning return home Thursday night to play Philadelphia in Amalie Arena. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m.

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