Bolts lose third straight as special teams struggle

by Gary Shelton on February 26, 2020

in general

Kucherov scored his 30th goal of the season./CHUCK MULLER

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

The new guys were supposed to be the cavalry. They were supposed to push the Tampa Bay Lightning over the top.

So far, however, it has been a bad chemistry experiment. And the reinforcements -- Blake Coleman, Barclay Goodrow and Zach Bogosian -- haven't tasted victory since joining the Bolts.

Tampa Bay lost its third straight game Tuesday night, falling 4-3 to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Lightning has given up 16 goals in the three losses -- all with Andrei Vasilevskiy in goal -- and 22 in its last five games.

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"We didn’t play poorly five on five," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "It was a total special teams game. When you play a hockey game and you lose  and all your players are plus and the other team's are minus, it is all special teams. Their odd man rushes were coming off our power play.  Their penalty kill out-chanced our power play and their power play scored (twice). That was the difference in the game."

The Bolts are four for their last 54 on their power play. They've given up five power play goals in the last three games.

"I think when you’re so good for so long, it opens eyes when you give up goals," Cooper said. "The reason we won so many games for so long was because our penalty kill was so good. It happens when you play 82. It’s not going to be a Picasso every night. "

Cooper admitted it would take the new guys a few games to fit in with the Lightning.

"It takes time so we can get our flow," Cooper said.

The Bolts have lost three straight for the first time all season. They get another chance Thursday night when they play against Chicago at Amalie Arena. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m.

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