Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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."

Devils 2 1 0 3
Lightning 0 0 1 1
Devils 2 1 0 3
Lightning 0 0 1 1

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).

Lightning defenseman Andrej Sustr, left, and Devils wing PA Parenteau hit the ice in a net-side scramble.

Getty Images

Lightning defenseman Andrej Sustr, left, and Devils wing PA Parenteau hit the ice in a net-side scramble.

Lightning falls to Devils (w/ video) 10/29/16 [Last modified: Saturday, October 29, 2016 11:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021

    Bucs

    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Sputtering Rays keep falling one run short

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Even going into play against the Angels on Tuesday just a game under .500 at 23-24, the Rays have some issues they have to resolve.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb waits for Mike Trout to finish his trot after homering to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb made mistakes on back-to-back pitches to the first two Angels hitters Tuesday, allowing homers to Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout, but otherwise gave the Rays another solid outing, working into the eighth and scattering seven hits.

  4. Rays journal: Brad Miller won't return from DL when eligible

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — 2B Brad Miller (left abdominal strain) will not return from the 10-day disabled list Friday as he hoped. While he took ground balls Tuesday, he has yet to resume running.

    Rays second baseman Brad Miller, left, with infielder Tim Beckham, says he’s letting his left abdominal strain “cool down” before testing it by running.
  5. USF baseball rallies to beat Tulane in AAC tournament opener

    College

    CLEARWATER — With Tulane runners on first and second and two out in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday, USF's dugout watched as burly American Athletic Conference co-player of the year Hunter Williams' fly to left went deep.

    USF outfielder Chris Chatfield is congratulated by third-base coach Chris Cates after hitting a three-run homer in the third inning, tying the score at 3.