Bolts give up seven in loss to Panthers

by Gary Shelton on February 7, 2023

in general

Kucherov scored his 20th goal./TIM WIRT

Tuesday, 4 a.m.

Was there a phone call? Did anyone send a letter? How about an email?

Did anyone in the NHL offices inform the Tampa Bay Lightning that the all-star break is over?

The Lightning, still sleeping late, took it between the eyes in Monday night’s return to play. They were clobbered 7-1 by the Florida Panthers, who scored the final five goals of the game.

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Vasi gave up seven goals against Florida./TIM WIRT

"I don't want to say we were still on vacation," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "But their will to win was a little stronger than ours was."

Who would have seen this coming? When the all-star break happened, the Bolts had won three in a row over elite teams. But against the Panthers -- a team barely above .500 -- they gave up 49 shots and seven goals.

Then again, the Bolts were on the road, where horrible things keep happening to them. The Bolts are 32-16 at home this year; they're just 12-12 on the road.

The seven goals were tied for the most allowed in a game this season, but the seven given up to Detroit earlier included two empty-net goals.

Andrei Vasilevskiy was in net for all seven of Florida's goals, the most he has given up since 2020.

The Bolts' only goal came from Nikita Kucherov, his 20th.

Matthew Tkachuk had a five-point night for the Panthers. Former Bolt Carter Verhaeghe had four points.

"This isn’t the only time we’ve had a tough time in this building," Cooper said. "You don’t expect what happened tonight to happen. But in the end it’s 82 games. This one we have to make sure it’s a one off."

The Bolts are on home ice tonight, facing San Jose at Amalie Arena at 7 p.m.

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