TAMPA — Sometimes it's difficult to know whether Lightning coach Jon Cooper is kidding.
Take this bit of commentary, said with a straight face, after Saturday night's 2-1 overtime loss to the Jets at the Tampa Bay Times Forum:
"The game (of hockey) would change if the only goals that were shown on highlight shows are the ones that go off skates and butts into the net, and they didn't show the cool-guy goals. You'd see completely different players. But everybody wants to be that guy, and they want to score that type of goal," meaning the pretty goal with a perfect pass leading to a perfect shot.
A better strategy for the Lightning, with just 13 goals in its past seven games, is get as many shots on net as it can. But seven minutes into the second period, Tampa Bay was being outshot 26-9.
"It wasn't like we didn't have our legs," Cooper said. "We just didn't shoot pucks. When you just want to sit there and try and play keep-away and not shoot, it's not going to work for you."
The Lightning (17-10-2) got a point for the regulation tie, but it wasted Anders Lindback's 34 saves. And it couldn't capitalize on Nate Thompson's goal with 1.1 seconds left in the second period that tied the score 1-1.
Instead, Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele scored 1:04 into the extra period when he outmaneuvered Mark Barberio in front of the net to tap in Blake Wheeler's pass. That came 23 seconds after Tampa Bay's Alex Killorn hit the inside of the left post on a breakaway.
"I thought I scored," Killorn said. "It rolled right behind (goalie Al Montoya). It's frustrating."
What is frustrating for Cooper is that he has preached shooting the puck ad nauseam. And when Tampa Bay actually got pucks to the net — final shots were 36-29 for the Jets — it created plenty of scoring chances. But Montoya was solid with 28 saves, including a right-leg stop on Nikita Kucherov in front of the net with 9:11 left in the third period.
"It was the first 30 minutes of the game," Thompson said. "We didn't shoot the puck. We pushed at the end, but we didn't do enough in the first half of the game."
Thompson's second goal of the season and first in 20 games seemed as if it would be a momentum-changer.
Thompson set up in the slot on an offensive-zone draw after a linesman threw him out of the faceoff circle. Marty St. Louis won the faceoff to Radko Gudas, who passed to Thompson, whose snap shot beat Montoya.
"Weird," Cooper said, "he shot the puck, and it went into the net."
First—1, Wpg, Wheeler 7 (Trouba, Clitsome), 5:25. Penalties—Carle, TB (high-stick), 1:17; Stuart, Wpg (unsportsmanlike conduct), 9:39; Crombeen, TB (unsportsmanlike conduct), 9:39; Stuart, Wpg, major (fight), 11:44; Crombeen, TB, major (fight), 11:44; Thompson, TB (boarding), 16:18; Ladd, Wpg (roughing), 18:58.
Second—2, TB, Thompson 2 (Gudas, St. Louis), 19:58. Penalties—Kucherov, TB (hooking), 7:00.
Third—None. Penalties—Ladd, Wpg (roughing), 13:34; Gudas, TB (roughing), 13:34.
OT—3, Wpg, Scheifele 3 (Wheeler), 1:04. Penalties—None. Shots on Goal—Wpg 15-14-6-1—36. TB 5-12-12-0—29. PP opportunities—Wpg 0 of 3; TB 0 of 1. Goalies—Wpg, Montoya 4-2-1 (29 shots-28 saves). TB, Lindback 2-5-1 (36-34). A—18,354 (19,204).