Bad second period costs Lightning

by Gary Shelton on December 17, 2023

in general

Point scored in third period./TIM WIRT

Sunday, 4 a.m.

Sometimes they fly. Sometimes they fall.

Sometimes they sizzle. Sometimes they fizzle.

And on it goes. The only thing consistent about the Tampa Bay Lightning is their inconsistency. Consider Saturday night’s 4-2 loss to a pedestrian Calgary team, one game after a 7-4 victory over a much superior Edmonton team.

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It has gone that way for the Lightning for most of the season. They will have a win worth noting, and they will stumble immediately afterward. 

Consider this, against Edmonton, a team that won eight straight games, the Bolts had a third-period comeback to win. Against Calgary, which had lost four straight, a fourth-quarter comeback attempt fell short.

Against Calgary, Andrei Vasilevskiy had 31 fewer saves than the game before. Steven Stamkos had three fewer goals. The team scored five fewer.

Also, they lost.

Calgary scored three times in the second period — twice within 43 seconds — to take a commanding lead. The Bolts trimmed it to one goal after Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos both scored, but the Flames Connor Zary put the game away.

“It’s hard to win a hockey game when you only play 20 of the 60 minutes,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “I’m disappointed in the road trip. That’s a long way to go to come back with four points. We left points on the table. In the end, it comes down to puck management. Some of the decisions we made have been tough and it’s cost us. Three goals in a game is tough, let alone three in four-and-a-half minutes.”

Nikita Kucherov, the leading scorer in the NHL, had two assists for the Bolts.

Vasilevskiy is now 5-5 on the season. He stopped 22 of 26 shots.

The Bolts are now 14-13-5 on the season. They are 6-10-2 on the road.

Tampa Bay is home on Tuesday night at Amalie Arena to face St Louis.

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