WINNIPEG — Here is a stat coach Jon Cooper can't like at all.
In the first three games of the Lightning's four-game road trip, it has scored four goals in first or second periods. In third periods it has scored five.
After Tuesday's 4-3 shootout loss to the Jets at the MTS Centre, it has yet to play with a lead.
"It'd be nice to play with a lead," Cooper said, "and see what happens."
What has happened on this trip, which ends Thursday in Montreal, is the continuation of a long story for Tampa Bay, outscored 86-73 in the first and second periods this season but topping opponents 62-45 in the third.
It happened again against Winnipeg.
Down 3-1 entering the third, the Lightning got goals from Pierre-Cedric Labrie on a rebound and Steven Stamkos, who scored his 27th with 8:43 remaining to tie the score and earn Tampa Bay (17-22-4) a point for the regulation tie.
"We're putting ourselves behind the eight ball for the first 20, 40 minutes of games," said Stamkos, who had only his second goal in nine games and trails Washington's Alex Ovechkin by one for the league lead. "It's tough to play when you have to come back all the time. We showed we're willing to keep working and fighting."
"For whatever reason, it's a wake-up call when we're down. If we haven't learned that by now, that's why we're not in a playoff position."
Why Tampa Bay fell behind the Jets was easy to see.
Despite Marty St. Louis' 12th goal that made the score 1-1 in the first period, the Lightning's fourth line of Labrie, B.J. Crombeen and Dana Tyrell was by far the team's best.
Winnipeg's Andrew Ladd scored after Eric Brewer turned over the puck and goalie Ben Bishop whiffed on the shot. Blake Wheeler scored after Ladd gained the puck by outworking Victor Hedman along the boards.
Cooper said the Lightning, outshot 36-27, also "started getting back to being too cute and didn't get enough pucks to the net."
"We had an animated conversation about how we have to get back in the game, and they executed that in the third," he said.
It helped Bishop redeemed himself with 33 saves, though he lost the shootout 2-0 as Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec made outstanding right-leg stops on Teddy Purcell and Richard Panik.
"When we play the right way, there are not many teams that can play with us, but when we cheat and try to make pretty plays, we can be the worst of the worst," Crombeen said. "Everyone in here would take our chances if we played the right way."
First—1, Winnipeg, Ladd 17 (Wheeler, Little), 1:23. 2, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 12, 10:27. Penalties—None.
Second—3, Winnipeg, Wheeler 16 (Ladd, Bogosian), 8:37. 4, Winnipeg, Ladd 18 (Wheeler, Bogosian), 17:54 (pp). Penalties—Jokinen, Wpg (hooking), 5:42; Thompson, TB, served by Panik, minor-major (boarding, fighting), 13:13; Tangradi, Wpg, major (fighting), 13:13; Lecavalier, TB (hooking), 15:56.
Third—5, Tampa Bay, Labrie 2 (Thompson, Gudas), 5:19. 6, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 27 (Carle), 11:17. Penalties—Salo, TB (holding), 5:35.
Shootout—T.B. 0 (Purcell NG, Panik NG), Wpg 2 (Wheeler NG, Santorelli G, Ladd G). Shots— T.B. 11-4-10-2—27. Wpg 13-11-8-4—36. Power plays— T.B. 0 of 1; Wpg 1 of 3. Goalies— T.B., Bishop 10-8-1 (36 shots-33 saves). Wpg, Pavelec 19-18-2 (27-24).