Sunday, December 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning falls to Flames

TAMPA — Steven Stamkos had a ready-made excuse when it came to explaining Thursday night's 4-1 loss to the Flames at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

After the emotions of Tuesday's hard-fought win over the Canadiens that clinched a playoff spot, the game was a letdown waiting to happen, he could have said.

Instead, the captain took his team to task.

"You can't play like that if you want to win," Stamkos said. "It just felt like we didn't want to win the game."

It was a clunker from the start. In a first period in which coach Jon Cooper said, "Mentally, I didn't think we were all there," the Lightning allowed two goals in 15 seconds off turnovers by goaltender Ben Bishop to fall behind 2-0.

Rookie Ondrej Palat scored his 20th to cut the deficit to 2-1 in the second period. But the Lightning power play was 0-for-3 with just four shots, the Flames blocked 24 shots (though Tampa Bay didn't work hard enough to get shots through), and when defenseman Eric Brewer was called for tripping with 2:19 left in the third period, Calgary's Curtis Glencross converted for a 3-1 lead.

Former Lightning goaltender Karri Ramo, in his first game back in Tampa, made it stand up with 31 saves.

The loss snapped an eight-game home points streak for the Lightning (42-26-9), which is tied for second in the Atlantic Division in points with Montreal, its likely first-round playoff opponent, with which it is fighting for home-ice advantage.

It also was the seventh straight game in which the Lightning at some point fell behind. It is 3-2-2 in that stretch, but it is an unsustainable trend.

Worse was the lack of overall execution and first-period focus.

"You can't just throw your sticks into the middle of the ice and expect to win," Cooper said. "Players have to take a little accountability for themselves, too. They didn't show up ready to play. Preparation, work ethic, they have to bring that."

Instead, Bishop, from behind his goal line, passed directly to Calgary's Mike Cammalleri, who scored into an empty net for a 1-0 lead with 9:40 left in the first period.

"I was trying to go to (J.T. Brown). Cammalleri read it and cut it right off," Bishop said.

Fifteen seconds later, Bishop rimmed a puck past Ryan Malone. Christopher Breen's point shot deflected to Kevin Westgarth, who had a tap-in.

"You can talk about letdowns, you can talk about whatever," Stamkos said. "Once the puck drops, you're not worried about that. You're worried about playing the way we know we're capable. It's disappointing this time of year to play like that."

No matter what the excuse is.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected]

Flames2024
Lightning0101

First Period1, Calgary, Cammalleri 25, 10:20. 2, Calgary, Westgarth 4 (Breen), 10:35. PenaltiesNone.

Second Period3, Tampa Bay, Palat 20 (Carle, Callahan), 15:56. PenaltiesBrodie, Cal (cross-checking), :26; Killorn, TB (holding), 6:20; Butler, Cal (slashing), 9:36.

Third Period4, Calgary, Glencross 11 (Cammalleri, Russell), 18:04 (pp). 5, Calgary, Glencross 12, 19:44 (en). PenaltiesGiordano, Cal (tripping), 4:27; Brewer, TB (tripping), 17:41. Shots on GoalCalgary 8-10-7—25. Tampa Bay 5-15-12—32. Power-play opportunitiesCalgary 1 of 2; Tampa Bay 0 of 3. GoaliesCalgary, Ramo 15-13-4 (32 shots-31 saves). Tampa Bay, Bishop 37-13-7 (24-21). A17,495 (19,204). T2:25. Referees—Chris Lee, Kelly Sutherland. LinesmenMichel Cormier, Brad Lazarowich.

     
     
Comments

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Lightning-Avalanche

Could tell just how much Ryan Callahan meant in the Lightning dressing room by hearing teammates talk about his latest injury. Steven Stamkos said he was "sick to my stomach." Brayden Point called him a "heart and soul player." Teammates all saw how ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning journal: No easy answers on replacing injured Ryan Callahan

Lightning journal: No easy answers on replacing injured Ryan Callahan

The good news for the Lightning is that GM Steve Yzerman is hopeful RW Ryan Callahan will be ready to go in 3-4 weeks when his upper body injury is re-evaluated. The hard part, however, is finding someone to replace the veteran wing. "I don’t know if...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning trying to replace ‘heart and soul’ Ryan Callahan

Lightning trying to replace ‘heart and soul’ Ryan Callahan

With veteran wing Ryan Callahan out at least 3-4 weeks with an upper body injury, the natural question is who will fill his shoes?"I don't know if anyone can," coach Jon Cooper said.That's not to say the Lightning (26-6-2) can't win without Callahan....
Updated: 6 hours ago
Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

Q&A with Syracuse coach Benoit Groulx about the Lightning’s next generation

DENVER — There might be one team in hockey hotter than the Lightning.It is Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate, Syracuse.The Crunch has won 10 straight after Friday’s victory over Providence. Why is this important? While the AHL is a developmental league, the ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Ryan Callahan out at least 3-4 weeks for Lightning

Ryan Callahan out at least 3-4 weeks for Lightning

When Lightning wing Ryan Callahan took a nasty spill into the boards Thursday night, it didn't look good.Turns out, it wasn't. Callahan will be sidelined indefinitely with an upper body injury, evaluated after three to four weeks, per GM Steve Yzerma...
Published: 12/15/17
When you think you’ve got Brayden Point figured out, a surprise awaits

When you think you’ve got Brayden Point figured out, a surprise awaits

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Center Brayden Point is the Lightning’s calmest player, both on the ice and off, according to Victor Hedman.Point’s soft-spoken nature belies his baby face and 5-foot-10 frame. "I’ve never seen him angry before," Hedman said.That ma...
Published: 12/15/17
Ryan Callahan injury makes Lightning win ‘bittersweet’

Ryan Callahan injury makes Lightning win ‘bittersweet’

The Lightning's 4-1 victory over the Coyotes Thursday night still featured the usual post-game music in the dressing room.But there was more of a somber tone with veteran right wing Ryan Callahan's right arm in a sling. Callahan, who got hurt on a na...
Published: 12/15/17
Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

Lightning routs Coyotes for sixth straight win

GLENDALE, Ariz. — As much as the Lightning has been rolling, it remembered how it lost twice last season to the Coyotes.That included blowing a one-goal third-period lead at home down the stretch, with Tampa Bay missing the playoffs by a point."You l...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
Lightning’s Mikhail Sergachev earns more minutes, praise

Lightning’s Mikhail Sergachev earns more minutes, praise

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Coyotes center Clayton Keller is very familiar with fellow rookie Mikhail Sergachev, the dynamic Lightning defenseman. They both were top 10 picks in 2016, Keller at No. 7 and Sergachev No. 9 to Montreal. They faced each other in th...
Published: 12/14/17
Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Mikhail Sergachev earning trust – and more minutes with Lightning

Coyotes center Clayton Keller is very familiar with fellow rookie Mikhail Sergachev, the Lightning defenseman.They both were picked in the top-10 of the 2016 NHL Draft, Keller at No. 7 and Sergachev No. 9 to Montreal. They faced each other in three w...
Published: 12/14/17