Saturday, November 18, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

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

RECOMMENDED READING


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
Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

TAMPA — If you told coach Jon Cooper his team would open the season with wins in 15 of the first 19 games, well, "I’m not sure I can sit here and say I would have predicted that," he said Saturday morning.But the Lightning did just that to lead the N...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Islanders

Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Islanders

This is what happens when you have the best record in the league: You get the best from the other team. The Islanders came out strong and the Lightning couldn’t match it, falling behind 4-0 early in the third. For the most part, the Lightning has bee...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

TAMPA — The Lightning magic was nowhere to be found for much of the night. It was a step behind, a tick too slow to shoot. The usual suspects that pushed the team to the best start in franchise history were nowhere to be found.And then they were.What...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Early Lightning awards: Tough call on MVP

Early Lightning awards: Tough call on MVP

TAMPA — It’s still way early, but if the Lightning’s record start continues, there will be a lot of hardware up for grabs. And we’re not just talking about the Stanley Cup. Nikita Kucherov has league MVP written all over him. Andrei Vasilevskiy coul...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Red-hot Lightning leading NHL in more than wins

Nikita Kucherov, top left, celebrates with teammate Steven Stamkos (91) after scoring against Florida Panthers goalie James Reimer. [AP photo]The Lightning (15-2-2) enters tonight’s game against the visiting Islanders (10-6-2) leading the leagu...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Brayden Point becomes ‘the heartbeat’ of the Lightning

Brayden Point becomes ‘the heartbeat’ of the Lightning

TAMPA — A local TV crew set up shop in front of Brayden Point’s locker stall the other day, waiting for the Lightning forward to be ready.Then, captain Steven Stamkos walked into the room for his scrum. It didn’t take long for the TV crew to change c...
Published: 11/17/17
Lightning pummels Stars for fifth straight win

Lightning pummels Stars for fifth straight win

TAMPA — The Lightning welcomed Ben Bishop back with a classy, fitting video tribute in Thursday’s first period. The sellout crowd of 19,092 at Amalie Arena gave Bishop, the greatest goalie in franchise history, a standing ovation. It was an emotional...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Lightning journal: Specials teams in the spotlight vs. Stars

Lightning journal: Specials teams in the spotlight vs. Stars

TAMPA — C Braydon Point’s shorthanded goal tipped the game in the Lightning’s favor and the three penalties it killed during the second period kept it that way in Thursday’s 6-1 victory against the Stars.Dallas entered the game with an NHL-best 30.2 ...
Published: 11/16/17

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Thursday’s Lightning-Stars game

There was a classy, fitting video tribute to former Lightning goalie Ben Bishop in the first period. Think of all the moments in his five seasons in Tampa Bay. It had to be emotional for Bishop, who calls Tampa his second home. He touched his heart a...
Published: 11/16/17
Lightning vs. Stars vs. Bishop vs. No. 1 PP in NHL

Lightning vs. Stars vs. Bishop vs. No. 1 PP in NHL

Stars’ G Ben Bishop returns to Amalie Arena tonight for the first time since his last home game as a Lightning, which came before last season’s trade deadline.The teacher vs. the pupil (Lightning G Andrei Vasilevskiy) is one story line.He...
Published: 11/16/17