Bolts slide further back after overtime defeat

by Gary Shelton on April 2, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

For once, Kucherov can't rescue the Lightning./JEFFREY S. KING

For once, Kucherov can't rescue the Lightning./JEFFREY S. KING

Sunday, 3 a.m.

Where else would you want the puck to be?

Who else would you want to be in control?

When else would make better sense?

Overtime, game on the line, and this time, Nikita Kucherov – the author of so many big goals for the Tampa Bay Lightning, did not convert.

What? Is this possible? After all of the big goals Kucherov has scored, especially lately, how does this happen?

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Kucherov had a great opportunity 39 seconds into overtime, but he was unable to finish. Twelve seconds later, Montreal scored the winner off the stick of Alexander Radulov.

Gourde has scored three in three games./Steven Muncie

Gourde has scored three in three games./Steven Muncie

"That cliche of there's a fine line between winning and losing?” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “You know that was it. We got the right guy in the right spot, the puck on the stick and it's too bad cause it rolls on him at the very end. And that’s a tough break at the end. And then the other guy comes down and he didn't get all of that either.”

The Lightning gained a point with the regulation tie, but they fell further behind in the playoff race. They now trail Boston by four points in the wild-card race and both Toronto and Ottawa by five in the Atlantic Division.

"I look at it as a complete positive because we got a point out of the game and we can sit here and say, ‘They got the better of us tonight,'” Cooper said. “I guess there's not much wiggle room left, but not getting a point out of that game would have been devastating."

Yanni Gourde scored to send the game into overtime halfway through the third period. It was his third goal in as many nights.

"He’s been a diamond in the rough for us down the stretch here, there’s no question,” Cooper said. “We had some chances tonight. They always got a stick on something it felt like but just another huge goal for us. It seems like his goals are getting us points. The timing of them are big.”

The Bolts play Dallas at home tonight.

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