Ben Bishop calls penalty kill 'almost embarrassing'
There are plenty of reasons why the Lightning is in its current funk, having lost nine of its last 11 games.
But a somewhat glaring problem has been the team's penalty kill unit, which has dropped to 26th in the NHL at 78.2 percent. Tampa Bay has allowed multiple power play goals in three of its last four games, including two in Saturday's 3-2 shootout loss to the Oilers.
Goalie Ben Bishop said, "Enough is enough."
"We've got to have more passion to kill these penalties," Bishop said. "It's starting to get almost embarrassing. Coaches are giving us the right structure to do it. It comes upon us, starting with the goalies. But we've got to change something here. It's on us as players. It's starting to get a little bit ridiculous."
To be fair, the Lightning is missing one of its key penalty killers in veteran wing Ryan Callahan, who has missed the last nine games with a lower body injury. Ondrej Palat and Cedric Paquette, both regulars on the penalty kill, were out last night too.
But Bishop says that's no excuse. It has cost them games in losses to St. Louis (three power play goals allowed), Pittsburgh (three power play goals allowed) and Saturday (two). These points are precious as the Lightning has racked up just six in the last 25 days, though just two behind Boston for third place in the Atlantic Division.
"We've go to sit down as a staff and keep working at it," coach Jon Cooper said. "It's been tough because special teams is a big part of the game. And it seems like killing penalties is costing us some points down the stretch. If the power play sputters a bit here and there, if you're still defending and keeping the puck out of the net, you win games. But if you're giving up a goal or two on the PK, it's tough to (win)."
Most of the Lightning's PK failures have been on the road, where the team has been shorthanded a league-most 70 times. Sixteen of the 24 power play goals Tampa Bay has allowed have been on the road.
"We've got to do a better job," Tyler Johnson said.