Friday, May 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning falls at home to Jets

TAMPA — After rookie Matthew Peca tied the score Tuesday with his first NHL goal early in the second period, he received a hug from coach Jon Cooper on the bench.

The sellout crowd of 19,092 at Amalie Arena exploded.

But stunningly, the Lightning imploded.

"We should have fed off that and found our game, but we didn't," defenseman Anton Stralman said. "We just kept going in the same spiral."

Within 96 seconds of Peca's milestone, the Jets took a two-goal lead en route to a 6-4 victory. For a Tampa Bay (19-16-4) team desperate for points, this one hurts, losing to a sub-.500 Winnipeg team that had lost two straight.

"We let one slip through our fingers," Cooper said.

And it wasn't just that the Lightning lost, allowing Toronto to tie it for fourth in the Atlantic Division, but how. After a dominant first period, outshooting the Jets 17-6 despite trailing 1-0, Tampa Bay got outplayed on home ice.

"It was men against boys after the first period," Cooper said.

Said Stralman: "You don't win in this league playing 40 minutes."

The Lightning got a boost in the return of veteran wing Ryan Callahan, who said he felt exactly like a player who had missed 15 games with a nagging hip injury. "I've got to be better than I was (Tuesday)," he said.

So does the entire team. There were some bright spots. Peca showed poise, making it tougher on the Lightning to send him back to AHL Syracuse when the team is healthy. Forward Adam Erne held his own in his debut, earning some power-play time. Nikita Kucherov scored two power-play goals, his first since Dec. 3, to help pull the Lightning within one with 2:30 to go.

But this game was lost in the second period, when the Jets held a 27-14 shot attempt advantage. The shift after Peca's goal, Nikolaj Ehlers got free on a breakaway, earning a penalty shot on a hooking call on Kucherov. While you can question Ehlers' goal, it was just one of three in that period by Winnipeg. While goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy gave up a season-high matching five goals, the Jets could have easily had eight or nine with the chances they got.

"We just didn't defend," Cooper said. "We thought about one net only and once you do that, that's it. Next thing you know it's 4-1, and that's a long way to come back."

Said Stralman: "It was everything. Not working hard enough. Turnovers. We just kind of let them roll us over."

The Lightning (16 turnovers) entered the third trailing 4-1, and battled back. Ondrej Palat's goal three minutes in cut the lead to 4-2. But six minutes later, Ehlers finished off a 2-on-2 rush with his second goal of the game. A frustrated Callahan spun from his knees in the crease and smashed his stick on the crossbar.

It was that kind of night for the Lightning.

As Stralman said, "Not good enough."

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected] Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Jets1326
Lightning0134
Jets1326
Lightning0134

First Period—1, Winnipeg, Scheifele 16 (Laine, Enstrom), 7:25 (pp). Penalties—Petan, WPG, (holding), 2:38; Hedman, TB, (tripping), 3:15; Laine, WPG, (slashing), 3:33; Palat, TB, (hooking), 6:59; Bournival, TB, (hooking), 8:16; Ehlers, WPG, (delay of game), 10:43; Palat, TB, (hooking), 10:58.

Second Period—2, Tampa Bay, Peca 1 (Killorn, Namestnikov), 3:43. 3, Winnipeg, Ehlers 11, 4:30. 4, Winnipeg, Trouba 2 (Perreault, Wheeler), 5:19. 5, Winnipeg, Byfuglien 5 (Morrissey, Wheeler), 14:44. Penalties—Kucherov, TB, Penalty Shot (interference on breakaway (penalty shot)), 4:30; Wheeler, WPG, (holding), 8:48; Palat, TB, (slashing), 10:51; Perreault, WPG, (tripping), 18:33.

Third Period—6, Tampa Bay, Palat 7 (Kucherov, Johnson), 3:26. 7, Winnipeg, Ehlers 12 (Laine, Trouba), 9:28. 8, Tampa Bay, Kucherov 14 (Hedman, Johnson), 12:22 (pp). 9, Tampa Bay, Kucherov 15 (Hedman, Drouin), 17:29 (pp). 10, Winnipeg, Laine 20 (Ehlers, Scheifele), 18:37. Penalties—Armia, WPG, (high sticking), 12:06; Trouba, WPG, (delay of game), 17:01.

Shots on Goal—Winnipeg 6-13-15—34. Tampa Bay 17-10-9—36.

Power-play opportunities—Winnipeg 1 of 4; Tampa Bay 2 of 7.

Goalies—Winnipeg, Hellebuyck 14-12-1 (36 shots-32 saves). Tampa Bay, Vasilevskiy 10-6-2 (33-28).

A—19,092 (19,204). T—2:34.

Comments
Steve Yzermanís summer plans: Make the Lightning better

Steve Yzermanís summer plans: Make the Lightning better

TAMPA — Captain Steven Stamkos said the Lightning's window for contending for a Stanley Cup championship is not closing."I think it's wide open," he said one day after the Lightning lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final to the Capitals.Ge...
Updated: 10 hours ago
When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

TAMPA — Disbelief will eventually give way to acceptance.The Lightning isn't there yet.It isn't there yet in a lot of ways.Will it ever be?Just wondering.Really, what guarantees are there?Late Wednesday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechki...
Published: 05/24/18
Fight off the frustration, Lightning, and donít panic

Fight off the frustration, Lightning, and donít panic

TAMPA — Don't change a thing.Don't blow it up. Don't fire anyone. Don't overreact.Thursday was not an easy day in Lightning Land. It was the day after the end of a season that ended much too soon. It was a day when bags were packed, questions w...
Published: 05/24/18
Lightning journal: Ryan Callahan, among others, played hurt

Lightning journal: Ryan Callahan, among others, played hurt

TAMPA — Not surprisingly, several Lightning players went through the playoffs with what general manager Steve Yzerman called "significant injuries."He would not elaborate Thursday on who they were, though he said that information will be made p...
Published: 05/24/18
Lightning fans leaving Game 7 early: Understandable or bad form?

Lightning fans leaving Game 7 early: Understandable or bad form?

TAMPA — Lightning fans were heading for the exits with three minutes remaining in Tampa Bay's 4-0 loss to Washington Wednesday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final. Understandable given the disappointment of not reaching the Stanley C...
Published: 05/24/18
The single biggest reason Tampa Bay isnít headed to the Stanley Cup final

The single biggest reason Tampa Bay isnít headed to the Stanley Cup final

TAMPA — Washington is on to Vegas. The Lightning is not. So we asked the Times' Lightning coverage team for the single biggest reason Tampa Bay isn't headed to the Stanley Cup final. Here's their answers:Roger Mooney, staff writer: Th...
Published: 05/24/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Scoring drought brings Lightning season to a close

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Scoring drought brings Lightning season to a close

The Lightning will miss out on the Stanley Cup final after being shut out by the Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final. The Bolts were the highest-scoring team during the regular season but failed to score in almost all of the final eigh...
Published: 05/24/18
Postgame reactions from Lightningís Game 7 loss to the Capitals

Postgame reactions from Lightningís Game 7 loss to the Capitals

The Lightning was shut out once in the first 97 games of the season, the playoffs included. Then it was shut out during the last two games of the Eastern Conference final, including 4-0 on Wednesday to the Capitals in Game 7.Here are some postgame re...
Published: 05/24/18
Lightning journal: A rare fight to this finish

Lightning journal: A rare fight to this finish

TAMPA — After Alex Ovechkin's goal 62 seconds into Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final Wednesday, the next highlight was an extended fight between Lightning D Braydon Coburn and Capitals RW Tom Wilson, with a two-minute break for them to spe...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18
Lightningís season ends one win short of Stanley Cup final with 4-0 loss to Capitals

Lightningís season ends one win short of Stanley Cup final with 4-0 loss to Capitals

TAMPA — The Lightning's dream season ended late Wednesday with the final horn, or, if you prefer, early in the second period of Game 5, when it scored its last goal of the Eastern Conference final.How about that? The team with the most regular-...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18