Panthers outskate Bolts again in victory

by Gary Shelton on February 16, 2021

in general

Volkov had two goals for Bolts./CARMEN MANDATO

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

At first glance, you might be tempted to think that, perhaps, backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney let down the Tampa Bay Lightning Monday night.

Then again, maybe it was the Lightning who let down McElhinney.

True, McElhinney had a tough night in a 6-4 loss to the Florida Panthers. He allowed six goals on only 21 shots, including four on seven shots in the second period.

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However, McElhinney was the victim of a slow-footed defense that was out skated for the second time in three games against the Panthers.

"When you score four, you can’t give up six," said forward Pat Maroon. "That’s not on the goalie. We have to be better. Too many odd-man rushes."

It was the Lightning's first loss of the year on home ice after a 6-0 start.

The Bolts trailed 5-2 in the second period but came back to within one entering the third. Former Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman scored the final goal, however.

“A lot of odd mans," said defenseman Ryan McDonaugh. "Breakaways and looks that we pride ourselves in not giving up in a  game. Credit them. They were connecting the dots a little bit but we needed to be a little bit quicker in our play and keep our gaps all over the ice. Make it hard on them like we did it last game. We didn’t do that consistently enough tonight.

“That’s not how we want to play.  We’ve done it two out of the last three games. It’s up to us to get it out of our game quick. We know how we want to play and what gives us success. "

The Lightning saw its lead in the NHL Central Division trimmed to one point ahead of the Panthers.

Alexander Volkov scored two goals, giving him three over the last two games. Also scoring for the Lightning were Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson.

Tampa Bay returns to the road for a three-game trip, starting with a Stanley Cup Final rematch against the Dallas Stars from American Airlines Center Thursday, February 18 (8:30 p.m. Eastern puck drop).

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