Monday, July 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning falls to Blue Jackets (w/ video)

TAMPA — Lightning coach Jon Cooper opened Friday night's postgame news conference as if he was prepared to face a firing squad.

"All right, unleash,' he said. "You (media) have a lot of ammo."

The Lightning had just lost 5-3 to the Blue Jackets at Amalie Arena, but it shouldn't have been even that close. Tampa Bay got outplayed throughout. Though goalie Ben Bishop took the blame for allowing the fifth goal, it was his teammates who let him down in one of the team's worst efforts of the season.

"We could have put Ben and (backup Andrei Vasilevskiy) in the net at the same time and I don't think it would have made a difference," Cooper said. "It had nothing to do with goaltending.

"We were just red rotten. That was it. From start to finish. In 82 games, you got to chalk one up to a stinker, and that was it. We got taught a lesson by a team that worked way harder than us."

The Lightning (13-8-1) got outshot 38-28, but it had just eight shots until late in the second period. It was sloppy with the puck with 12 giveaways, four leading directly to goals. And it was soft in defensive zone coverage in front of its net, leading to several "freebies," as Cooper put it.

"We wanted to skill the game and not get in anybody's way and not go into any area (where) you have to pay the price," Cooper said. "And that's what happened."

Said wing Ondrej Palat: "They outskated and outworked us for the full 60 minutes."

The Lightning's only other "stinker" this season came Oct. 30 in New York when the Rangers won 6-1. But Tampa Bay had won five of its previous six entering Saturday, including a come-from-behind victory Wednesday against Philadelphia.

The Lightning nearly pulled this one off, too. The Triplets line of Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson and Palat once again provided a spark, Kucherov's second-period goal making it 2-1 Columbus. After giving up a goal on the next shift, Tampa Bay pulled within one again late in the second on Jason Garrison's first goal of the season. Palat tied it four minutes into the third, set up beautifully by Kucherov, and the sellout crowd of 19,092 exploded.

The tie was short-lived. Columbus scored a minute later when Brandon Saad was left wide open in the slot and beat Bishop.

"We just gave them easy opportunities," Garrison said. "That's not the way we play defense."

The Lightning is feeling the loss of top-pairing defenseman Anton Stralman, who missed his seventh straight game with an upper-body injury. That put a bigger load on young defensemen Slater Koekkoek, Nikita Nesterov and Luke Witkowski, who picked up his first NHL point assisting on Garrison's goal.

But even Tampa Bay's best defenseman, Victor Hedman, wasn't immune to mistakes. With the Lightning down one and on a power play midway through the third, Hedman turned the puck over in front of his net. Cam Atkinson surprised Bishop with a shot from the slot, sealing the wins. Bishop felt he let the team down. But this "stinker" was a group effort.

Blue Jackets2125
Lightning0213
Blue Jackets2125
Lightning0213

First1, CBJ, Wennberg 4 (Johnson, Saad), 3:46. 2, CBJ, Foligno 8 (Atkinson, Werenski), 8:35 (pp). PenaltiesWitkowski, TB, (tripping), 7:36; Palat, TB, (delay of game), 16:55.

Second3, TB, Kucherov 11 (Johnson, Palat), 8:33. 4, CBJ, Anderson 6 (Hartnell), 9:02. 5, TB, Garrison 1 (Filppula, Witkowski), 18:28. PenaltiesNone.

Third6, TB, Palat 4 (Kucherov, Hedman), 3:37. 7, CBJ, Saad 5 (Wennberg), 4:34. 8, CBJ, Atkinson 8, 11:13 (sh). PenaltiesSustr, TB, (roughing), 3:54; Anderson, CBJ, (roughing), 3:54; Killorn, TB, (slashing), 7:15; Jenner, CBJ, (slashing), 7:15; Foligno, CBJ, (hooking), 9:16. Shots on GoalCBJ 10-13-15—38. TB 4-9-15—28. PP oppsCBJ 1 of 2; TB 0 of 1. GoaliesCBJ, Bobrovsky 11-5-1 (28 shots-25 saves). TB, Bishop 7-7-0 (38-33).

     
                     
Comments
Hereís our Mount Rushmore for the Lightning

Hereís our Mount Rushmore for the Lightning

The Lightning just celebrated its 25th anniversary season — long enough to have a Mount Rushmore.Here it is:Marty St. Louis (2000-14)St. Louis is the all-time franchise leader in points and the only Lightning player to make the Hall of Fame aft...
Published: 07/13/18
Lightning names AHLís Derek Lalonde as new assistant

Lightning names AHLís Derek Lalonde as new assistant

The Lightning has completed Jon Cooper's coaching staff for the upcoming season, announcing on Thursday the hiring of Derek Lalonde, who spent the last two seasons as head coach of the American Hockey League's Iowa Wild.Lalonde, 45, has steadily work...
Published: 07/12/18
Lightning re-signs left wing Adam Erne to one-year contract

Lightning re-signs left wing Adam Erne to one-year contract

A busy few weeks of re-signing players continued Wednesday, as the Lightning brought back the last of their restricted free agents, signing left wing Adam Erne to a one-year, $800,000 contract for 2018-19.Erne, 23, was a second-round pick in 2013 and...
Published: 07/11/18
Lightning locks up Nikita Kucherov with 8-year, $76 million extension

Lightning locks up Nikita Kucherov with 8-year, $76 million extension

CLEARWATER — Nikita Kucherov could have waited a year, allowing the demand for a top young NHL scorer to escalate as he hit restricted free agency next summer.But when the Lightning made him an offer to become the highest-paid player in the tea...
Published: 07/10/18
Lightning signs Nikita Kucherov to richest contract in team history

Lightning signs Nikita Kucherov to richest contract in team history

The Lightning took another step toward securing its future Tuesday by announcing that right wing Nikita Kucherov will sign the richest contract in franchise history.Kucherov's eight-year contract extension will pay him an average of $9.5 million star...
Published: 07/10/18
Kucherov signing helps Lightning finish what it started

Kucherov signing helps Lightning finish what it started

TAMPA — The Erik Karlsson sweepstakes hasn't ended for the Lightning.But the Nikita Kucherov sweepstakes is over before it began.The Lightning has locked up its star right winger. An eight-year extension that begins in the 2019-20 season will p...
Published: 07/10/18
Meet the girl behind the Marty St. Louis sign

Meet the girl behind the Marty St. Louis sign

ST. PETERSBURG — When the call from the Hall came, there she was again.The girl with the "I (heart) U Marty" sign, in the newspaper again, this time on the cover of the June 27 Tampa Bay Times sports section. She was frozen in time, doing what ...
Updated one month ago
What might Lightning give up to get Erik Karlsson?

What might Lightning give up to get Erik Karlsson?

TAMPA — Shortly after the excitement of the real possibility Thursday night that the Lightning could be trading for defenseman Erik Karlsson, fans quickly came to an uneasy place: What exactly would Tampa Bay give up to get the two-time Norris ...
Updated one month ago
The Lightning advantage in Erik Karlsson trade talks

The Lightning advantage in Erik Karlsson trade talks

He wants to be here.This is the place.In case you'd missed it amid the gloom and doom of a Lightning season that came up short again, there are still people who want to play in Tampa Bay.One of them is Erik Sven Gunnar Karlsson of Landsbro, Sweden. T...
Updated one month ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Will the Lightning trade for Erik Karlsson?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Will the Lightning trade for Erik Karlsson?

Rick Stroud returns from vacation to discuss reports that the Lightning will acquire star defenseman Erik Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators.He also talks about reaction to Jameis Winston's three-game suspension, the Rays' crazy home stand and which p...
Updated one month ago