Bolts suffer their first losing streak of the year

by Gary Shelton on March 11, 2022

in general

Vasilevskiy has struggled lately./JEFFREY S. KING

Friday, 4 a.m.

So this is what a slump feels like.

Suddenly, the Tampa Bay Lightning is in a swoon. They skate slow, but they fall behind fast. Their goalie is having pucks bounce off of his backside and into the net. There is no power to the power play.

In other words, the Bolts hardly resemble the team that has won the last two Stanley Cups these days.

The Bolts were sluggish again Thursday night, losing 4-1 to the Calgary

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Flames. It was the first time all season the team has lost back-to-back games in regulation, but the poor play has continued for longer. In six of theirlast seven games, the Bolts have fallen quickly behind.

This time, there wsa no catching up after the second period, when Calgary scored twice in the final minute. One of the goals was by Johnny Gaudreau, who had a hat trick on the night against Vasilevskiy.

Vasilevskiy, meanwhile, has struggled. Hes lost three of his last four starts,and he's given up 16 goals along the way.

The Bolts seemed to ahve gotten backc in the game on Alex Killorn's goal, but then gave up two goals in the last minute and never challenged afterward.

"It was an even game for 39 minutes," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "One team hurt themselves and the other team didn’t. That’s what happened.

“We should have been content going in 1-1 and trying to impose our will in the third period. Instead, we got behind 3-1 and you put yourself in position to try to score your way back into the game. That’s not a winning recipe."

The Bolts took heart that their effort was better against Calgary.

"“It was just a lack of exception," said Steven Stamkos. "The last couple of games, it’s more of a lack of effort and belief in the system that has been the trouble. I don't think that was the way tonight. I think that’s something. The effort was better tonight."

"Teams go through tough periods. We’re going through a little bit of a bump. Its process over outcome at this point. Sometimes you have to give the other team credit, too. That's a good hockey team over there."

The Bolts long road trip continues with back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday against Edmonton and Vancouver. The pukc is scheduled to drop at 10 p.m. in both games.

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