Bolts drop their second straight game in narrow loss

by Gary Shelton on November 14, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Kucherov came close twice in the dying seconds./JEFFREY S. KING

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

When it was over, when all that remained was the frustration, when the Lightning had establlished a two-game losing streak for the first time all season, Nikita Kucherov showed the angstof his team.

Kucherov turned away from the net, and he rolled his head back. He lifted his stick, and he slammed it against the glass.

Yeah, it was that kind of night. For Kucherov and for those who follow him.

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Louis Domingue stopped 17 shots, but he let two in./CARMEN MANDATO

Kucherov hit a post twice in the last 62 seconds, the puck harmlessly dinging away, leaving the Bolts on the short end of a 2-1 score against Buffalo. He hit his second post came with three seconds to play.

Carter Hutton stopped 29 shots for the Sabres.

"Some nights you just have to tip your cap to the other goaltender," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We did everything we could to try and to win that game. I think scoring chances were pretty heavily in our favor. And he kicked them out. Games like that are going to happen. That’s what makes our last game sting a little bit more, we kind of let that one slip away and then we run into a team that we played pretty well and don’t get any points. It’s tough. I guess you have to tip your cap to Hutton.”

The Lightning's Steven Stamkos had five shots in the game, but didn't score. Anthony Cirelli scored Tampa Bay's only goal, 15 seconds after Buffalo took a 2-0 lead.

"It’s just not getting frustrated," Stamkos said. "I’d rather have a game where we have a ton of chances and not score than get some lucky bounces but not generate much. We’ll keep working hard and competing the way we did today, especially in the second and third. The bounces are going to go your way, it’s just trying not to get frustrated at the process.

"Again, I thought we played a pretty solid road game. Usually you at least find a way to get a point. We’ll have to regroup here. That’s two in a row that we’ve dropped. Obviousl,  we don’t want to keep that trend going.”

The Bolts have now given up the opening goal of the game in eight of their last nine games.

“We want to start better," Stamkos said. "It’s not an easy league to win in. It’s not an easy league to score goals in. So when you’re spotting teams a goal or two goals early in the game, we know we have it in this room to come back but you don’t want to make that a trend.

"Things like that can happen where you run into a hot goaltender, you don’t end up getting as many goals as you’d like. We need to clean up a few things defensively to start the game, but other than that, I thought today was a pretty solid game. It just didn’t go our way.”

Cirelli's goal was his third of the season.

“It was an unbelievable pass by Killer to lob it over that D," Cirelli said. "I just wanted to get it on net, get a quick shot off and luckily it went in.”

For the Bolts, Erik Cernak played in his first NHL game.

“I’m not happy with the result of the game, but I think that was my best feeling in my life stepping into my first NHL game," Cernak said. "You’re always dreaming about playing in the NHL and today it’s come. It’s a dream come true. I’m really happy about it.”

Cirelli said that Cernak played well.

“I thought he was great tonight," Cirelli said. "I’m so happy for him getting into the game. He’s strong. He’s mean. He skates well. He has a hard shot. He’s kind of that all-around defenseman. I definitely don’t like playing against him in practice. He plays hard.”

The Lightning continues its road trip Thursday night in a game against Pittsburgh. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m.


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