Saturday, January 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning falls to Devils (w/ video)

NEWARK, N.J. — The Lightning never feels its out of a game, and its comeback ability has enabled it to save face — and points — early this season.

But playing catchup is starting to catch up to Tampa Bay.

"It's a recipe for disaster," coach Jon Cooper said.

Saturday provided another example, a 3-1 loss to the Devils at the Prudential Center. The Lightning has lost two in a row for the first time this season, and both losses came against teams that were playing in the second game of back-to-backs.

There was no excuse for the Lightning (5-3-0) to get outplayed from the beginning by a New Jersey team that had lost in overtime the night before. Aside from the Toronto game on Tuesday, the Lightning has been outscored 7-0 in the first period.

"This league is tough. You can't take anything for granted," captain Steven Stamkos said. "No one (cares) what you did last year as a team or what you did the last two years. But we've got to be better.

"Just come prepared to play. We've been down (in) so many games at the start. That's on us as players to be better."

For the second time against the Devils this season, the Lightning dug itself a two-goal, first-period hole. The second goal Saturday came after a defensive zone turnover and loose coverage in front of the Lightning net; defenseman Damon Severson pounced on a rebound.

"They came out harder than us," center Tyler Johnson said. "We definitely weren't at our best."

The Lightning won its first three games with resilient rallies, but Cooper said that's not how a team has long-term success, especially if it wants to be a Stanley Cup contender.

"Ask any coach — systems or structure, none of that matters if you don't have urgency in your game," Cooper said. "That's part of executing. It's working, and it comes down to 50-50 battles on pucks, which we didn't win a lot of those (Saturday). We didn't get our nose dirty enough."

Devils wing Devante Smith-Pelly won a 50-50 battle in front with Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn, redirecting a centering pass past goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy to make it 3-0 early in the third period. The game could have gotten ugly had it not been for Vasilevskiy, who made a stellar stop on a two-on-one and three straight stops in a flurry later in the period.

The Lightning made a strong push in the third. Tyler Johnson finished a slick cross-zone pass by Brayden Point to cut New Jersey's lead to 3-1 two minutes into the third. "Perfect play by 'Pointer,' " Johnson said.

Tampa Bay has to bounce back quickly. It faces the Rangers at Madison Square Garden tonight, the fifth game of a six-game, 11-day trip.

"We've got to find ways to start games on time,' Stamkos said. "You can have all the skill in the world, but if you don't stick to the game plan and structure and work at it, you're going to win a couple games because you're more skilled than the other team. But usually you're not going to win in this league, The parity is too great."

Devils2103
Lightning0011
Devils2103
Lightning0011

First Period1, New Jersey, Henrique 2 (Cammalleri, Severson), 3:57. 2, New Jersey, Severson 1 (Greene, Henrique), 13:13. PenaltiesQuincey, NJ, (interference), 5:12; Tampa Bay bench, served by Conacher (too many men on the ice), 7:26.

Second Period3, New Jersey, Smith-pelly 1 (Quincey, Lappin), 5:22. PenaltiesPaquette, TB, Major (fighting), 0:39; Kalinin, NJ, Major (fighting), 0:39; Henrique, NJ, (cross checking), 1:58; Parenteau, NJ, (tripping), 6:16.

Third Period4, Tampa Bay, Johnson 2 (Point), 1:59. PenaltiesBennett, NJ, (tripping), 13:58. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 12-11-10—33. New Jersey 8-12-3—23. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 0 of 4; New Jersey 0 of 1. GoaliesTampa Bay, Vasilevskiy 2-1-0 (23 shots-20 saves). New Jersey, Schneider 4-2-1 (33-32).

Comments
Fennelly: Lightning needs a reset on the road … pronto

Fennelly: Lightning needs a reset on the road … pronto

TAMPA — Vegas has left the building.Wasn't the Lightning just arranging place settings for next weekend's NHL All-Star Game party?With that in mind, I headed to the home dressing room at Amalie Arena late Thursday after the Lightning was manhan...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Golden Knights move within one point of Lightning for top spot in NHL

Golden Knights move within one point of Lightning for top spot in NHL

SUNRISE — Aaron Ekblad scored 40 seconds into overtime to lift the Panthers to a 4-3 victory over the Golden Knights on Friday, spoiling Vegas coach Gerard Gallant’s return to Florida. By gaining a point, Vegas moved within one point of the Lightning...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Time for Lightning leaders to snap team out of funk

Time for Lightning leaders to snap team out of funk

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Steven Stamkos sat at his stall in a near-empty Lightning dressing room Thursday and did what captains often do:He shouldered some blame for the Lightning's listless 4-1 loss to Vegas."As a leader, I've got to be a lot better,...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Why I hate the NHL All-Star Game

Why I hate the NHL All-Star Game

TAMPA — The NHL All-Star Game is coming to town next weekend, reaffirming our community's ability to step into the breach when needed. We don't stop until we get the Winter Olympics. So, don't be surprised if those next Rays stadium plans ...
Published: 01/19/18
Steven Stamkos: ‘I have to be a lot better’

Steven Stamkos: ‘I have to be a lot better’

There was plenty of blame to go around after the Lightning's 4-1 loss to the Golden Knights Thursday night.This loss wasn't on one person, no question.But captain Steven Stamkos showed some leadership by shouldering some responsibility for the team's...
Published: 01/19/18
Lightning falls to Golden Knights

Lightning falls to Golden Knights

TAMPA — The door to the Lightning dressing room remained closed a little longer than usual Thursday night, and that wasn’t surprising. After the kind of performance displayed in its 4-1 loss to the expansion Golden Knights, this had team...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18
Lightning journal: Cory Conacher ready to take advantage of J.T. Brown’s departure

Lightning journal: Cory Conacher ready to take advantage of J.T. Brown’s departure

TAMPA — The loss of wing J.T. Brown to Anaheim will be a gain for some Lightning forwards in terms of ice time. Whether those players are currently with the team or still at AHL Syracuse has yet to be determined.For now, C Cory Conacher will try to t...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Thursday’s Lightning-Golden Knights game

Thought the bye week was a much-needed break for Andrei Vasilevskiy. And though you can’t pin Thursday’s loss on the goalie, he still gave up at least four goals for the fourth straight start (19 overall). Tampa Bay is used to Vasilevskiy’s brillianc...
Published: 01/18/18
Jonathan Marchessault on Lightning: ‘It started here’

Jonathan Marchessault on Lightning: ‘It started here’

Life is good for Jonathan Marchessault.The former Lightning forward is thriving for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, which recently signed the undrafted forward to a six-year, $30 million deal. Marchessault's wife is expecting their third child, a...
Published: 01/18/18
Lightning’s Cory Conacher hopes ‘simple’ leads to more ice time

Lightning’s Cory Conacher hopes ‘simple’ leads to more ice time

The loss of wing J.T. Brown to Anaheim will be a gain for some Lightning forwards in terms of ice time. Whether that player is currently with the team or still at AHL Syracuse has yet to be determined.Center Cory Conacher, a healthy scratch in the Li...
Published: 01/18/18