Sunday, June 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning 3-game win streak ends vs. Caps (w/video)

WASHINGTON — The Lightning was feeling good about itself, having won three straight heading into Friday's game in the nation's capital.

Maybe too good.

In a measuring-stick game against one of the Eastern Conference's top teams, the Lightning got stuffed like Thanksgiving turkeys in an admittedly embarrassing 4-2 loss to the Capitals at the Verizon Center.

"We (laid) an egg," center Brian Boyle said.

Tampa Bay is 2-17-2 in its past 21 games in Washington. But it was how the Lightning lost — coming out flat, getting outshot 31-14 in the first two periods — that left a sour taste in its mouth, forcing a much-needed response game tonight against the Islanders in Tampa.

"Good news is we play (tonight), so we don't have to think about the crappy effort we gave (Friday)," captain Steven Stamkos said. "Can't play 15, 20 minutes in a game and expect to win."

That the Lightning (11-10-3) lost center Tyler Johnson for undisclosed reasons 48 seconds into the game didn't help. Neither did Tampa Bay giving up three power-play goals, with star Alex Ovechkin scoring one of them.

"Happy Thanksgiving, Ovi," goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy quipped.

But whether it was the team Italian dinner on Thanksgiving or something else, coach Jon Cooper said his squad didn't "have our legs." And it didn't execute, looking little like the team that beat the red-hot Rangers, Ducks and Kings in the past eight days.

"(Friday) was hopefully a blip on the screen," veteran wing Ryan Callahan said. "It wasn't good enough. Everyone realizes that. That's the hardest part. We feel like we were finding our game the last three games, playing well, getting wins, finding different ways to win."

The Lightning made the game interesting with a push in the third period, during which it racked up 20 of its 34 shots and scored twice (goals by Boyle and Victor Hedman) to pull within two with 7:05 left. But it was too late.

The score would have been a lot worse had it not been for the stellar play of Vasilevskiy, who made 33 saves in his first start since Nov. 16.

Vasilevskiy had little chance on the goals, one on a Ovechkin blast, two on weakside redirections. The Capitals were given way too much space and too many passing lanes.

"Our special teams were not good," Cooper said. "That's ultimately what cost us the game."

The Lightning is still trying to find consistency 24 games into the season, the defending Eastern Conference champion having yet to find its identity.

"If we fought hard, played well and a couple breaks didn't go our way and we lost, that's disappointing," Boyle said. "But disappointing isn't the word for this. It's worse than that.

"We're what our record says we are. That's where we're at. That's our identity right now. If we want to change it, we've got to do it ourselves."

Contact Joe Smith at [email protected] Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Capitals 1 2 1 4
Lightning 0 0 2 2

 

First Period1, Washington, Ovechkin 12 (Chimera, Kuznetsov), 7:09 (pp). PenaltiesHedman, TB (high-sticking), 5:17; Callahan, TB (roughing), 14:43; Latta, Was (roughing), 14:43; Callahan, TB (tripping), 17:30.

Second Period2, Washington, Chimera 6 (Kuznetsov, Niskanen), 18:03 (pp). 3, Washington, Johansson 4 (Carlson, Schmidt), 19:18. PenaltiesCoburn, TB (delay of game), 16:05.

Third Period4, Washington, Oshie 6 (Backstrom, Carlson), 5:16 (pp). 5, Tampa Bay, Boyle 5 (Callahan, J.Brown), 10:49. 6, Tampa Bay, Hedman 2 (Namestnikov), 12:45. PenaltiesSustr, TB (hooking), 4:00; Ovechkin, Was (slashing), 15:16; Johansson, Was (delay of game), 19:48. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 9-5-20—34. Washington 18-13-6—37. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 0 of 2; Washington 3 of 4. GoaliesTampa Bay, Vasilevskiy 2-3-0 (37 shots-33 saves). Washington, Holtby 14-4-0 (34-32).

Comments
Former Mitchell High player Nathan Smith taken in NHL draft by Jets

Former Mitchell High player Nathan Smith taken in NHL draft by Jets

It's rare to see an NHL draft pick with Tampa Bay ties, but the Jets used a third-round pick Saturday on center Nathan Smith, 19, who played for Mitchell High School in Trinity and most recently for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the USHL.Smith was ...
Published: 06/23/18
Report: Lightning to talk to John Tavares during free-agent courting period

Report: Lightning to talk to John Tavares during free-agent courting period

Despite limited salary-cap room, the Lightning is among at least five teams expected to talk with Islanders All-Star center John Tavares, who can be a free agent July 1, when the courting period begins Sunday, ESPN reported.Tavares also is expected t...
Published: 06/23/18
Another small, quick forward headlines Lightning’s draft picks

Another small, quick forward headlines Lightning’s draft picks

Even without a first-round pick, the Lightning wrapped up its draft with seven picks Saturday, starting with Gabriel Fortier, an undersized 18-year-old forward from Quebec in the second round."They were guys that we really wanted," Lightning director...
Published: 06/23/18
Lightning takes Quebec LW Gabriel Fortier with second-round pick

Lightning takes Quebec LW Gabriel Fortier with second-round pick

The Lightning is on the board in the 2018 NHL draft, using their first pick — 59th overall in the second round — on Gabriel Fortier, an undersize left wing from Quebec."I spoke with them a couple of times, so I knew there was an interest,...
Published: 06/23/18
Live blog: 2018 NHL entry draft

Live blog: 2018 NHL entry draft

The Lightning isn't scheduled to pick until the second round, but there's no telling how active they might be with trades, so you'll want to follow our live coverage throughout the NHL draft Friday (Round 1) and Saturday (Rounds 2-7) in Dallas.(funct...
Published: 06/23/18
Lightning re-signs backup goalie Louis Domingue to 2-year deal

Lightning re-signs backup goalie Louis Domingue to 2-year deal

The Lightning has re-signed one of its restricted free agents in backup goalie Louis Domingue, who will be back with Tampa Bay on a two-year deal worth $2.3 million.Domingue, 26, was acquired from Arizona in November after he had posted a 4.33 goals-...
Published: 06/22/18
Lightning names ex-player Jeff Halpern as new assistant coach

Lightning names ex-player Jeff Halpern as new assistant coach

The Lightning has filled one of the openings on Jon Cooper's coaching staff, announcing Friday  that former Tampa Bay forward Jeff Halpern has been hired as an assistant coach.Halpern, 42, has spent the past two seasons as an assistant with the ...
Published: 06/22/18
Steve Yzerman: Lightning won’t re-sign forward Chris Kunitz

Steve Yzerman: Lightning won’t re-sign forward Chris Kunitz

As expected, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he does not intend to re-sign veteran forward Chris Kunitz, who will seek his fifth Stanley Cup with a different team next season.Kunitz, 38, brought much-needed playoff experience in his lone...
Published: 06/22/18
2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

NHL schedules all balance out at the end, but the Lightning will open 2018-19 with five straight home games and end the season with its last four on the road.The Lightning released its schedule Thursday evening for the upcoming season, with all sorts...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

The Lightning doesn't have a first-round pick in this weekend's draft, but that's not to say the weekend couldn't be busy for general manager Steve Yzerman and his front office.The Lightning sent its top draft pick to the Rangers in February as part ...
Published: 06/21/18