Ailing Lightning clobbered by Florida

by Gary Shelton on December 31, 2021

in general

Stamkos scored his 15th goal./Tim Wirt

Friday, 3 a.m.

There are no excuses. Got it?

It doesn't matter that the top two goaltenders for the Tampa Bay Lightning were out due to Covid. It doesn't matter that Mikhail Sergachev and Anthony Cirelli were out. It doesn't matter that the Bolts' net was minded by a guy you've never heard of and another guy you've never heard of.

Still, there were no alibis after the Bolts absorbed a 9-3 clubbing at the hands of the Florida Panthers. The Bolts gave up three goals in each period in the defeat.

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"We have a standard," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We’ve set it. We have a process we go through. Tonight, we did not exercise it. We gave up too mamy chances to a team that wanted to beat us. After tonight, I won’t forget this. They deserved it. Don’t look at our lineup and say we’re a victim of circumstance. We put ourselves in that position."

The Bolts fell behind 3-0. They closed to within 4-2 on a goal by Steven Stamkos (his 15th), but the Panthers pulled away. Jonathan Huberdeau had a goal and five assists for the Panthers.

“We’ve had different guys step up and play roles," Ryan McDonaugh said. "There is no excuse for our group. We have good leadership. Tonight is not a good example of the way we want to play. We took it on the chin, that’s for sure."

The Bolts got off 42 shots, but were never in the game.

Tampa Bay has a quick return to the ice. They play the New York Rangers at 7 p.m. at Amalie Arena tonight.

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