Lightning's 5-2 loss to the Kings 'just one of those games'
LOS ANGELES — This is when you know it’s not going to be your night: when your opponent losses the puck off his stick and the puck goes in your net anyway, bouncing off a skate and then a leg.
The Kings scored a goal like that against the Lightning Tuesday night, one of the many things that went wrong for Tampa Bay in a 5-2 loss at the Staples Center.
“Just one of those games,” wing Alex Killorn said.
It was the second straight loss for the Lightning (14-7-0), which lost back-to-back games for the first time this season and fell out of first place in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division.
It was not a pretty sight.
Tampa Bay was outshot 31-21, including 11-2 in the second period. It allowed a power-play goal and its league-worst fourth shorthanded.
Center Valtteri Filppula scored a power play goal, his ninth goal of the season which matches his output in 41 games last season for the Red Wings. And defenseman Victor Hedman had a goal and two points to give him 100 points in his career.
But other than that, it was a rough night for the Lightning, not the way Marty St. Louis wanted his 1,000th career game to go.
“The work ethic has to be there,” St. Louis said. “I don’t think it’s been an issue for our team this year, but we have to want it a little more, especially at the puck drop.”
“I can’t sit here and say our guys didn’t try. We tried,” coach Jon Cooper said. “We've just hit a little bit of a rut.”
And when that happens, you don’t get the bounces you use to get. In fact, they start to go against you. Such as when Los Angeles’ Matt Frattin scored to make it 2-0 in the first period with a sharp deflection of Slava Voynov’s shot from the right boards.
Tampa Bay’s Teddy Purcell, with one goal in 15 games, clanked a shot off the cross bar with 36 seconds left in the first period. But that just set the stage for the weirdness that made it 3-0 2:38 into the second period:
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty carried the puck deep in the Tampa Bay zone and lost control. After Justin Williams pushed it toward the net, the puck deflected off the skate of Tampa Bay defenseman Matt Carle and then off the left leg of Killorn and past goalie Ben Bishop.
“We’re getting some unlucky bounces a little bit, so that makes it look worse,” St. Louis said. “I don’t think it was a 5-2 game.”
That said, “I believe if you earn it every night, you’re probably going to get some bounces,” St. Louis added. “It averages out and equalizes toward the end of the year. But right now we’re not getting those bounces, and we have to get them, not waiting for something to happen. Individually, you have to try to want to make a difference.”
Bishop tried to do that during a Lightning power play when he rimmed the puck around the boards expecting a teammate to be there. But the only player there was Los Angeles’ Linden Vey, who shot from the right boards. Dwight King tipped the puck past Bishop and it was 4-0 with 4:52 left in the second period.
“I’m trying to make sure I can play (the puck) while I’m in the trapezoid, and I kind of had my back to the guy coming in,” Bishop said. “I either have to go to the right or the left. I’m not going to eat it. I went to my forehand and nobody went over there.”
Filppula made it 4-1 with 3:43 left with his one-timer from the right faceoff circle that broke goalie Ben Scrivens’ shutout streak at 191 minutes, 19 seconds.
“I look to see work ethic, and our guys worked,” Cooper said. “They tried. They did a lot of good things out there. We just didn’t get any bounces. It’s been going like that for the past couple of games. The only way to do it is to work yourself out of it.”
A difficult task with games coming up Thursday and Friday at San Jose and Anaheim to close out the four-game road trip.
“We have to go back to the drawing board a little bit,” Killorn said. “There’s a lot of things we’ve got to figure out.”