Make us your home page

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 hopes miniskid is a wakeup call

Goalie Ben Bishop, beaten by Flyers center Brayden Schenn for a goal Friday, says it’s time for the Lightning to look in the mirror after three straight losses. “We’ve got to be better,” he says.


Goalie Ben Bishop, beaten by Flyers center Brayden Schenn for a goal Friday, says it’s time for the Lightning to look in the mirror after three straight losses. “We’ve got to be better,” he says.

TAMPA — Coach Jon Cooper called his team "comfortable" Friday.

"Maybe you get a little too overconfident," wing Alex Killorn admitted.

After a franchise-record nine-game winning streak put the Lightning in first place in the Atlantic Division, the defending Eastern Conference champions exhaled. And it has cost them dearly. The Lightning has dropped three straight heading into today's game against the Blue Jackets in Columbus, a game that opens a crucial four-game road trip.

"You take your foot off the pedal for a brief second, you catch your wind, and the other team is coming," associate coach Rick Bowness said. "That's how good the league is."

Tampa Bay isn't the first team to experience a skid after a streak. The Blackhawks lost three of four after rattling off 12 wins in a row this season. The Panthers went on a four-game losing streak after 12 straight victories. The Ducks have lost three in a row after 11 straight wins.

Bowness said the tendency is for bad habits to creep in, even when a team is winning, with coaches warning those habits eventually will come back to bite it.

"The more you win, the more opponents bring their 'A' game; they want to be the team that ends your (streak)," Bowness said. "Then all of a sudden you get your (butt) handed to you and you have to get it going again."

Center Tyler Johnson lamented how the Lightning didn't do the "little things" in Friday's 3-1 loss to the Flyers. Goalie Ben Bishop said the team was "too cute" offensively.

"You get away from the work ethic necessary," Bowness said. "Because you go on the ice and it's, 'Okay, this is going good.' You forget there's a process to make that go good. The process is preparing yourself; you've got to prepare to make things happen. (You can't) go on the ice expecting things to happen; the league is too good."

The Lightning came close to getting shut out for the second consecutive game Friday, held to 19 shots. It took Brian Boyle scoring with an extra attacker in the final 21/2 minutes, putting in a rebound in front, to get Tampa Bay on the board.

That kind of dirty goal is what the Lightning needs more of, Bishop said.

"We've got to look in the mirror here," Bishop said. "It's obviously not a good enough effort to score one goal in two games. We've got to be better. We've got to play a little more north-south, get those dirty goals, get back to basics the way we're playing on the road. Get to the net and good things happen."

Johnson said that with the Lightning's offensive talent, "sometimes we maybe try to skill it out a little too much."

"You just got to remember to get your nose dirty every night," Bowness said. "The more you win, the less willing you are to get your nose dirty. We've got to get back to that."

Tampa Bay has been through this before. It lost four of five last month after a streak of 10 wins in 11 games. The Lightning responded with its nine-game winning streak.

With just 14 games remaining in the regular season, captain Steven Stamkos said Tampa Bay — holding on to a top-three spot in the division — needs to bounce back in similar fashion.

"Guys have to realize that this time of year, nothing is easy," Stamkos said. "There are teams playing desperate hockey. Just because you might think you're comfortable in a spot, any given night can swing a lot of things. We know that from previous years, and we have to show that desperation."

Contact Joe Smith at Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Lightning hopes miniskid is a wakeup call 03/12/16 [Last modified: Saturday, March 12, 2016 11:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays morning after: The bats have disappeared



  2. Bryan Harper's path to the majors, where his brother is a star, has been bumpy

    The Heater

    He has thrown 215 professional innings over 168 minor-league outings, and at various points the kid from Las Vegas has called Viera and Hagerstown, Md., and Harrisburg, Pa. and Syracuse, N.Y., and even Arlington, Va. home. During that summer he lived in the D.C. suburbs, he would rise some mornings with his brother in …

  3. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.
  4. Rays vs. Orioles, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Orioles

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  5. Rays journal: Sergio Romo excited for fresh start in AL

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Sergio Romo was about to play catch with LHP Adam Kolarek before Monday's batting practice when he paused.

    RAMOS EXITS: Rays catcher Wilson Ramos clutches his head after being beaned by Ruben Tejada’s broken bat in the fifth inning. Ramos leaves the game and receives six staples to close a laceration on his head.