Monday, October 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

It starts with a bang and ends with a whimper

TAMPA — After Lightning coach Jon Cooper watched Brock Boeser at the All-Star Game in Tampa last season, he knew he would have his hands full when the Canucks came to town.

"What a talent he is," Cooper said.

The right wing proved Cooper right when he rifled a shot from outside the circle to give Vancouver a 2-1 lead with about eight minutes left in the game.

The Canucks would complete the comeback with two empty-net goals in the final three minutes to defeat the Lightning 4-1 Thursday at Amalie Arena.

Vancouver scored all four of its goals in the third period while the Lightning sputtered to the end.

"We've got to finish," Cooper said. "We're not finishing. We're shooting some pucks at the net, but we aren't going there with a desire to score. That's what you have to do with this league, especially with the goaltending in this league."

It was the exact opposite of the game against the Panthers on Saturday. The Lightning mustered only four shots in the first period against Florida, but a strong finish with a late goal gave Tampa Bay the shootout victory and two points.

Against the Canucks, the Lightning came out firing. The less-than-impressive first period the Lightning put together in the season opener became a thing of the past after the first period that it put together Thursday. Instead of struggling to maintain possession of the puck in the offensive zone, the Lightning seemed to always have the puck in the offensive zone. Tampa Bay fired off 17 shots while going on the power play twice.

Brayden Point capped off the fast start with a first-period goal, giving the Lightning its first lead of the season.

"Great start," captain Steven Stamkos said. "We had a lot of energy. Came out skating. That was something we were focusing on."

The Lightning couldn't keep up that pressure in the second, registering eight shots on goal.

It wasn't because of a lack of opportunities.

The Lightning had three of its five power-play opportunities in the second period. But it could not find a way to convert. The Lighting heads into its third game 0-for-8 on the power play.

"The power play was probably the worst I have seen it in a long time," Stamkos said.

While the power play struggled, the Lightning penalty kill was solid. Tampa Bay killed all four penalties, keeping a perfect 9-for-9 on the penalty kill.

Either way, Cooper said the Lightning can't expect special teams to bail it out all the time. The game was not won or lost on special teams. All goals came during 5-on-5 hockey.

The first even-strength goal from the Canucks came about midway through the third when rookie Elias Pettersson tied the score at 1, coming off a deflection.

Shortly after, Boeser showcased a powerful shot that Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilev­skiy could not get his glove down in time to stop. Jake Virtanen and Markus Granlund scored the empty-net goals.

With two Lightning goals in two games, Stamkos said he is not worried about scoring. He expects that to come soon. Defenseman Anton Stralman said the same thing. The Lightning did lead the league in scoring last season, after all.

But Cooper said the Lightning needs to get inside more if it wants to start turning possession and shots into points.

That, Cooper said, can break a team down.

"You have to go in there and get dirty ones," Cooper said. "They're all not going to be pretty. I think we are resorting a little bit to trying to get the pretty goal."

The Lightning (1-1-0) faces Columbus at 7 p.m. Saturday at Amalie Arena.

Comments
Numbers to know from the Lightning’s record-setting night

Numbers to know from the Lightning’s record-setting night

CHICAGO — The Lightning always strives to put up a high volume of shots in every game.But there is a high volume of shots, and then there's what the Lightning put together Sunday against the Blackhawks in the second period.Lightning players pep...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Nick Kelly’s three takeaways from the Lightning’s 6-3 win over the Blackhawks

Nick Kelly’s three takeaways from the Lightning’s 6-3 win over the Blackhawks

1. The  Lightning put together an impressive response after a tough overtime loss. After dropping the first game on its road trip 5-4 to the Wild on Saturday, it put together a terrific offensive performance in beating the Blackhawks, including ...
Published: 10/21/18
Lightning sets league, franchise shots records in 6-3 win over Blackhawks

Lightning sets league, franchise shots records in 6-3 win over Blackhawks

CHICAGO — Blackhawks goaltender Cam Ward has seen the Lightning more than his fair share of times. Forty-five before Sunday's matchup, to be exact.But in none of those games had Ward faced pressure like he did in the second period of his 46th g...
Published: 10/21/18
What’s my room number? And other, more special, Lightning road-trip hallmarks

What’s my room number? And other, more special, Lightning road-trip hallmarks

CHICAGO — Before all the Wild fans had the chance to leave Xcel Energy Center on Saturday night, reach their parking garage and let their cars warm up, the Lightning was probably already on a bus to the airport.There, they would take a charter ...
Published: 10/21/18
Lightning falls to Wild in overtime

Lightning falls to Wild in overtime

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Lightning coach Jon Cooper wasn't kidding when he said Xcel Energy is a tough place to play.The Lightning extended its winless streak in Minnesota to six games under Cooper on Saturday with a 5-4 overtime loss to the Wild as M...
Published: 10/20/18
Updated: 10/21/18
Lightning journal: J.T. Brown reflects on Tampa Bay time

Lightning journal: J.T. Brown reflects on Tampa Bay time

ST. PAUL, Minn. — J.T. Brown's past year has been nothing short of busy and filled with changes.The Lightning put the forward on waivers in January in the middle of his sixth season with the franchise after he signed as an undrafted free agent ...
Published: 10/20/18
Nick Kelly’s takeways from Saturday’s Lightning-Wild game

Nick Kelly’s takeways from Saturday’s Lightning-Wild game

Having won only twice all time in Minnesota, the Lightning needed to start fast to quiet the crowd in what coach Jon Cooper called one of the three toughest NHL buildings in which to play. Ryan Callahan accomplished that with his goal in the first th...
Published: 10/20/18
J.T. Brown talks about life after the Lightning

J.T. Brown talks about life after the Lightning

ST. PAUL, Minn. — J.T. Brown's past year has been nothing short of busy and filled with changes.The Lightning placed him on waivers in January  in the middle of his sixth season with the franchise after he signed as an undrafted ...
Published: 10/20/18
Diana C. Nearhos: Being the Lightning beat writer is a dream job

Diana C. Nearhos: Being the Lightning beat writer is a dream job

TAMPA — I distinctly remember the moment I fell in love with hockey.I was 10 years old at my first game between Boston College and Boston University. It's an intense rivalry BC's Conte Forum was crazy when the game was close in the third period...
Published: 10/19/18
Updated: 10/20/18
A road trip worth taking for the Lightning

A road trip worth taking for the Lightning

TAMPA — The Lightning opened the season with a five-game homestand. That was the easy part.Now for the hard part. Tampa Bay hits the road for the first time this regular season. And what a long road it is.Nine days. Five games. More that 5,000 ...
Published: 10/19/18