Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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.

Related News/Archive

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.

Jets 1 3 2 6
Lightning 0 1 3 4
Jets 1 3 2 6
Lightning 0 1 3 4

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.

Lightning falls at home to Jets 01/03/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 3, 2017 11:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bills' comeback against Bucs a win for the process

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It hasn't taken Sean McDermott long to understand how to play to his base. Asked if the Bills had "gotten away with one" Sunday, the first-year coach gushed about his team reflecting the character of the town.

    Under first-year coach Sean McDermott, the Bills are 3-0 at home for the first time in six years. “I love playing here,” he says.
  2. No. 18 UCF closes in on USF, which drops to No. 17

    College

    USF remained ahead of UCF in the Associated Press Top 25 poll released Sunday — just barely.

  3. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.
  4. Jones: Where are the difference-makers on the Bucs defense?

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — They can't tackle. They can't cover. They can't pressure the quarterback, let alone sack him.

    Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) scrambles past Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (98) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Bucs-Bills journal: Breakout game for Bucs tight end O.J. Howard

    Bucs

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It's obscured by the final score and a disappointing loss, but Bucs rookie tight end O.J. Howard had a breakout game Sunday, exceeding his season totals for catches and touchdowns in one afternoon.

    Bucs tight end O.J. Howard (80) celebrates a touchdown catch with quarterback Jameis Winston (3) during the second half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]