This time, Panthers take control against Bolts in 3rd

by Gary Shelton on October 8, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Nikita Kucherov has two goals in two nights./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Nikita Kucherov has two goals in two nights./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Sunday, 1 a.m.

This time, the finish went the wrong way.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, for the second straight night, was facing the Florida Panthers. The Lightning, for the second straight night, took a 2-0 lead. The Lightning, for the second straight night, let the Panthers back into a tie.

And then the third period came.

This time, it belonged to the Panthers.

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Point is off to a good start for Tampa Bay./JEFFREY S. KING

Point is off to a good start for Tampa Bay./JEFFREY S. KING

Florida outscored the Lightning 3-1 in the third period, leaving both teams with a 1-1 record after their opening weekend. The Panthers got off 48 shots, including 40 in the first two periods. It was the most shots against the Lightning since December of 2014.

“It was our speed,” said coach Jon Cooper. “When we had an ability to get to a loose puck, they beat us to it. We just didn’t play fast on the ice. Even defensively we didn’t play fast. We didn’t shut them down down low. We didn’t separate the man from the puck. We let them get out of corners, and once you do that with a team, eventually it’s going to end up in your net, and that’s what happened in the third.”

The Lightning had goals from Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Vlad Namestnikov. Andrei Vasileveskiy stopped 43 shots, but he let five in.

The Lightning had four penalties in the first period.

“Yeah, that did suck a little momentum away from us, just as the momentum got sucked away from them when the penalties went reverse and when that happens and there’s a steady stream of infractions going against one team, of course it’s going to work against you and that’s what happened tonight,” Cooper said. “But there was 5-on-5 at some points in the game, and they were better than us at that. And I look at these two games, we split, probably feel a little fortunate we got two points out of this because we didn’t deserve the two points tonight. The more deserving team got the two points. Ultimately in this league, if you want to be a playoff team, you can’t be giving up four goals a night, and that’s what we’re doing right now. And if it wasn’t for the heroic play of our goaltending, it could be worse. So, it’s just learn from this and if players want to continue to play the way they feel, it’s going to be tough for us. We know our recipe for success. It’s worked for us, and it works for us in spurts, we just have to do it consistently. We just didn’t do that tonight.”

The Lightning is at home Monday night against the Washington Caps.

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