Bolts’ effort questioned in loss to Jackets

by Gary Shelton on April 29, 2022

in general

Kucherov scored his 25th goal./TIM WIRT

Friday, 3 a.m.

The trouble with a regular season is this. An observer often isn't quite sure how to feel.

Take the Tampa Bay Lightning, for instance.

Most of April was a swoon, a declaration that this team was tired. The Bolts lost, and looked ordinary doing it.

Then, in the last week or so, the Lightning seemed to snap out of it. They

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won four straight. They were scoring goals by the half-dozen. And you thought that, yeah, they were getting ready for the post-season.

And then came Thursday night, when the Lighting took it between the eyes in a 5-2 loss to an ordinary Columbus team, a loss that left the Bolts questioning effort and wondering what had happened to its momentum.

“If you don’t give an effor, it doesn't matter," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "You’re playing an NHL team and we didn’t put forth a very good effort tonght. It’s hard to defend. You play 82 and you’re going to get some of those.

“They’ve got to play the season out. We’ve got some extremely important games coming up here . You want to feel a little better about your game than the feeling we have tonight. Give Columbus a ton of credit. They tried and they got rewarded for it. We kind of tiptoed around the game a little bit and we paid for it."

The Lighting scored a goal to make it 1-1, then saw Columbus score three straight. Nikita Kucherov and Corey Perry scored for Tampa Bay.

"I look at this team and what they’ve given us all year and it’s been exceptional. Tonight was not one of those nights. We have better in us. There’s no doubt about it.Maybe it's a little human nature, but I can’t let the guys off the hook. We have to have a little more urgency than that."

Backup goalie Brian Elliott took the loss for the Bolts. He stopped 30 of 34 shots.

The Bolts close out their regular season tonight in a game at the New York Islanders. The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

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