Carolina blanks punchless Lightning

by Gary Shelton on November 12, 2023

in general

Cooper didn't see a lot./TIM WIRT

Sunday, 4 a.m.

Perhaps Nikita Kucherov deserves a raise.

The sight of the Tampa Bay Lightning playing without Kucherov Saturday night was a disappointing one. The Bolts were sluggish and ineffective on offense in a 4-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, clearly missing Kucherov’s vision and play-making ability.

Kucherov had 12 points in the previous four Lightning games . Without him, no one got a point.

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"He’s a premier player in the league," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Take the top player off any team right before the game, it’d be somewhat of an issue."

That said, Cooper said other leaders on the team have to step up. They did not.

The Bolts got off only 23 shots on the evening, 11 of them in the third period. They didn’t score a goal for the first time this season.

The Bolts also lost defenseman Erik Cernak during the game.

Tampa Bay's inability to protect their net haunted them again. They have given up 26 goals in their last six games.

Goaltender Pyotr Kochetkov won his first game of the year for Carolina.

The Bolts are on the road, playing at St. Louis at 8 p.m. on Tuesday night.

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