Sunday, April 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning loses fourth straight, 3-1 to Bruins (w/video)

TAMPA — Goalie Ben Bishop minced no words when it came to the boiling frustration in the Lightning dressing room Saturday night:

"I think everyone in this room is pretty (ticked) off."

Said center Brian Boyle: "It's ridiculous. We've got to take a long, hard look in the mirror right now."

It was bad enough that the Lightning lost its fourth straight game, 3-1 to the Bruins, sparking some boos from the subdued Halloween crowd of 19,092 at Amalie Arena. Worse was how Tampa Bay (5-5-2) was outworked by a team playing the second of back-to-back games.

The Lightning's lack of scoring is puzzling enough — two goals (both on the power play) in its past four games. But its lack of compete level is what's most troubling to the team considering that playing hard was its calling card in its run to the Stanley Cup final in June.

"You've got to go out there and re-prove yourself," captain Steven Stamkos said. "No one (cares) about what happened last year. We have to have that same mentality. That's why we were so good last year, because we played all the Bostons, Detroits and Montreals (with the attitude): 'They're a top team in the league. Let's beat them.'

"Teams are thinking that this year (about the Lightning), and we're thinking, 'We're just going to come in here, we're back at home, now we'll win.' It's unacceptable, and I take responsibility as a leader of this team. We've got to be better."

Stamkos hasn't scored in five games. All-Star center Tyler Johnson is without a goal. The Lightning has gone nearly 270 minutes without an even-strength goal since Oct. 23 in Winnipeg.

"It's time to shake things up," Stamkos said. "We've tried different line combinations. We need something to get a spark."

This will be a telling test for not only the Lightning but coach Jon Cooper, whose team hasn't been in this situation since his first full season, 2013-14.

"It just seemed everyone was looking for someone else to do it instead of themselves," Cooper said of Saturday's loss. "It just kind of snowballed after that."

Stamkos said the "scary thing" is the Lightning has been in all the losses in the streak: 1-0 in overtime in Chicago, 2-0 in St. Louis and 2-1 to Colorado.

The Lightning had a 1-0 lead Saturday on a Nikita Kucherov power-play goal. Adding salt to its wound, Lightning 2010 first-round draft pick Brett Connolly scored the winner six minutes into the third during a 5-on-3 power play. Connolly, traded to Boston in March, has more goals in the past four games (three) than Tampa Bay does.

The Lightning couldn't come back. "When you're struggling to score, that one goal seems like four," Cooper said.

The Lightning's execution has been spotty at best. The power play went 1-for-5 Saturday. Bishop, making his 11th start in 12 games, said the Lightning is playing good, just not "good enough."

Stamkos said it should feel some urgency, pointing out that teams that fall too far back by Thanksgiving have a hard time crawling back into the playoff race. "Nobody is feeling sorry for us," he said. "We've got to stop feeling sorry for ourselves. We've got to go out and find a way, because no one is going to do it for us. We've got to fix this thing pretty quick."

Bruins 1 0 2 3
Lightning 1 0 0 1

 

First1, TB, Kucherov 3 (Namestnikov, Palat), 7:51 (pp). 2, Bos, Beleskey 2 (C.Miller, Hayes), 16:53. PenaltiesSpooner, Bos (holding), 6:30; Hedman, TB (slashing), 19:26.

SecondNone. PenaltiesBeleskey, Bos (boarding), 2:50; Chara, Bos (interference), 4:36.

Third3, Bos, Connolly 4 (Marchand, Chara), 5:54 (pp). 4, Bos, Marchand 5, 18:50 (en). PenaltiesKrug, Bos (interference), 2:56; Hedman, TB (holding), 3:57; Condra, TB (tripping), 5:45; Marchand, Bos (hooking), 9:32. SOGBos 13-10-11—34. TB 7-10-5—22. PP oppsBos 1 of 3; TB 1 of 5. GoaliesBos, Gustavsson 3-0-0 (22 shots-21 saves). TB, Bishop 5-5-1 (33-31). A19,092 (19,204).

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