Panthers bump Bolts down to third place

by Gary Shelton on April 18, 2021

in general

Point took over lead in goals for the Lightning./CHUCK MULLER

Sunday, 4 a.m.

A year ago, they ruled the world of hockey.

This year, they are in third place in the NHL Central.

That's the thing about titles. They don't give you any advantages the following season. The Bolts, with 12 games to go in the regular season, now trail both Carolina and Florida in their division race after a 5-3 loss to the Panthers on Saturday night.

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The Bolts gave up three first-period goals against Florida and were not able to climb back into the game. They did come within 4-3 in the third period, but they were unable to tie the game.

“We did a lot of good things, but we still gave up four, and with the empty net it was five," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "You can’t equate that to ‘that was a good game.’ It was a step forwad. In the end, you can’t be giving those chances up and we can’t be giving those goals up. What was tough was that we had the puck a lot tonight so it felt good, but we’re still giving up four on some big chances. That’s what we have to start taking out of our game.”

The Bolts have now two of their last three, and they've given up 15 goals in that span.

We had a lot of puck possession tonight," Coper said."I just don’t know much we generated. I thought we played better tonight than we did the other night when we won. Sometimes that happens.It was just tough.We just shot ourselves in the foot tonight.

"You should be able to get points when you score three."

The Bolts got goals from Brayden Point, Erik Cernak and Mathieu Joseph.

Are the Bolts looking at the standings yet?

“You look to see," Cooper said. "We want to finish in the top four, so we're in good shape there. We've got Carolina in a back-to-back coming up. That will give us a little feel for where we’re at."

The Hurricanes play against the Lightning at Amalie Arena on Monday night at 7 p.m.

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