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Defensive miscues sting Lightning again in loss

Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, starting his ninth straight game, gives up a goal to Eric Fehr during the second period of a 6-2 loss in Pittsburgh. [Associated Press]

Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, starting his ninth straight game, gives up a goal to Eric Fehr during the second period of a 6-2 loss in Pittsburgh. [Associated Press]

PITTSBURGH — Once again, the numbers don't look good for G Andrei Vasilevskiy, who gave up six goals in Sunday's 6-2 loss to the Penguins. Vasilevskiy, starting his ninth straight game, has given up five or more in three of the past four games.

But it wouldn't be fair to pin Sunday's loss on Vasilevskiy, who made some huge stops to keep it a one-goal game at 2-1 entering the third period. He made 34 saves but was let down by defensive miscues in front of him. It was the second straight game he faced at least 40 shots.

"You look back at those goals and three-fourths of them we just handed to (the Penguins) on a platter," coach Jon Cooper said.

That has been a recurring theme for the Lightning, which has allowed 22 goals in its current four-game losing streak. Sunday was the 16th time this season it gave up at least four goals in a game; it had 11 such games all last season.

"We've got to protect the house," D Anton Stralman said.

STAMKOS UPDATE: There is some good injury news for the Lightning. C Steven Stamkos is progressing on schedule in rehabilitation from mid-November knee surgery.

Stamkos was recently given the green light to increase his workload, GM Steve Yzerman said. Stamkos has recently been seen doing workouts on a stationary bike. Yzerman said Stamkos' return date isn't set. But it seems like Stamkos is making progress in his expected four-month recovery, which would put him back in March. "Everything is very encouraging," Yzerman said.

BROWN OUT: RW J.T. Brown was put on injured reserve with an upper-body injury after taking a hit to the head from Flyers RW Wayne Simmonds on Saturday. Brown, who missed Sunday's game, will be out for at least Thursday's and Friday's games at Amalie Arena. He is eligible to return on next week's road trip, which begins Monday in Los Angeles. There was no discipline from the league for Simmonds, who didn't receive a penalty on the play.

MEDICAL MATTERS: RW Ryan Callahan (lower body) did not play. With Callahan recently returning from a nagging hip injury, the Lightning wants to bring him along slowly and back-to-back games are tough, Cooper said. D Braydon Coburn (upper body) missed his second straight game. C Brian Boyle (lower body) remains on injured reserve but is eligible to return Thursday.

NUTS AND BOLTS: Forwards Michael Bournival and Erik Condra, called up from AHL Syracuse on Sunday, were in the lineup. … D Jason Garrison appeared in his 500th career game.

Defensive miscues sting Lightning again in loss 01/08/17 [Last modified: Sunday, January 8, 2017 10:38pm]
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