Sluggish Bolts lose to Caps, Ovechkin

by Gary Shelton on March 31, 2019 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Johnson scored his 28th goal./TIM WIRT

Sunday, 4 a.m.

Perhaps this is why Lightning coach Jon Cooper is so reluctant to give his players too much time off.

They don't respond well to rest, it appears.

Following a four-day break, the Bolts had a rare stumble Saturday night, losing their final regular-season home game, 6-3. The Bolts fell behind 4-0. Two goals by Alex Ovechkin closed out the game. Ovechkin now has eight seasons 50-goal seasons, one behind Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy.

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Hedman left the game with an injury./TIM WIRT

"We want to win every game, but we had that four day break," forward Steven Stamkos said. "I thought we came out a little sloppy, just a step behind. This game doesn't mean anything to us at this point in the season, but we've played like that for a long time and still found ways to win. We just didn't play well enough to win. Whether we're playing Boston, Toronto, Washington or whoever, you play the way we did the first half of the game and we're not going to win.”

The Bolts' goals came from J.T. Miller, Tyler Johnson (his 28th) and Nikita Kucherov (his 39th).

Vasilevskiy lost his 10th game of the season./TIM WIRT

"We had our chances," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "I don't think we had a break besides the All-Star break or the five-day break of whatever that was. This was the longest break of the season and you don't get these too often. We gave the guys a couple of days off. It was clear that it took us a little bit to get going. After that, we were fine.

"We had plenty of chances. For me though, it was the last few games here, we're giving up too much and that's got to get better in our game. We ended up losing this game, but by no means it needed to be six against us. The penalties we're taking, just keep putting the team on the power play. We just got to be more disciplined in that way."

Ryan McDonagh knows what the team needs to work on in its last four

McDonagh and his teammates gave up six./TIM WIRT


“Just consistent hockey, close to 60 minutes," McDonagh said. "In the playoffs you can’t afford to take five minutes off, ten minutes off, let alone a period. Obviously we were not ready to go there for the first period and that kills your chances for sure. Getting closer to a 60-minute game and playing the right way and giving ourselves a chance to win from the very first puck drop.”

Kucherov now has 122 points on the season. He has recorded at least one point in 59 of 78 games this season.

The Bolts now travel to Ottawa to play a Monday night game. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:30 p.m.

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