Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning must learn when to gamble

PITTSBURGH — There are two things Steven Stamkos has to do with his game-turning mistake Saturday against the Bruins:

Forget it — "You have to let it go," he said — and remember it.

How else, the Lightning center said, will he become a better player?

"That's another learning step," Stamkos, 23, said. "You go through adversity, that's when you learn the most about yourself. That's when you learn what to do the next time around."

That is where Tampa Bay is as a team as well.

Losers of four straight and five of six, coach Guy Boucher said the biggest problem facing it right now is game management, understanding when to take risks with the puck and when to be cautious.

Get that under control, he said, and the chances of winning increase.

"It's just the gambling we have to stop," Boucher said. "That's what's been hurting us. It's a mentality that's part of this group. We have to be more mature. We gamble in moments when we should be patient.

"Patient doesn't mean you stay back and do nothing. Patient means you are very aggressive in what you do but you manage the game. Right now, we don't manage the game. We play so well, but all of a sudden, we sabotage ourselves by forcing the play."

What happened to Stamkos in the 3-2 loss to Boston is a prime example.

Tied 2-2 late in the third period, Tampa Bay was 37 seconds from killing off a four-minute penalty. But with the team three-on-two in the offensive zone, Stamkos' shot missed the net and the puck rimmed around the boards.

With defenseman Eric Brewer part of the rush, the Bruins were able to mount a two-on-one that led to Brad Marchand's winning goal with 2:16 remaining.

"We wasted it like the gambler who wastes it on the last shot of the day," Boucher said of the chance for at least a point for a regulation tie. "He's done great all day. He's got tons of money and decides to put it on one number on the craps table."

And consider this: 43 of the 66 goals the Lightning has allowed have come in the first or last five minutes of a period, prime time to gain or lose momentum.

The cure? Better goaltending, for sure.

But bigger picture, "It starts with analyzing, watching video, a little teaching," defenseman Sami Salo said. "It starts with doing the right things in practice and working hard and trying to take that into games."

The Lightning practiced hard Sunday ahead of tonight's game with the Penguins at the Consol Energy Center, with pushups required for losers of defensive-zone drills.

There also was plenty of video of Saturday's game-losing play.

"We watched that last clip, and we all learned our lesson a little bit there," said Stamkos, who has a league-best 15 goals.

"You have to be aware of how much time is left on the clock, what the situation of the game is. There are certain areas of the game, you have to mature and realize exactly what's going on, and you learn the hard way. As long as you learn your lesson, then you're going to be a better player."

Something he won't soon forget.

POULIOT OUT: There was no word on the severity of Ben Pouliot's upper-body injury or how long he will be out, but the left wing will not play against the Penguins. Forward Ondrej Palat, with 11 goals and 44 points in 49 games, was called up from AHL Syracuse. Pouliot was hurt in the first period Saturday when mashed into the end boards by Boston's Dennis Seidenberg.

More injuries: Left wing Ryan Malone, out 11 games with a lower-body injury, practiced Sunday but still is not ready to play. Salo, who missed two games with a lower-body injury, will play against Pittsburgh.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
NHL trade deadline: Action picks up with three-team deal

NHL trade deadline: Action picks up with three-team deal

RALEIGH, N.C. — The  Penguins acquired center Derick Brassard from the Senators on Friday night in a three-team deal that sent defenseman Ian Cole to Ottawa and forward Ryan Reaves to the Golden Knights.The Penguins announced the deal...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Can the Lightning win the Stanley Cup?

Can the Lightning win the Stanley Cup?

When it comes to the Tampa Bay Lightning these days, there's only one question that really matters:Will the Lightning win the Stanley Cup?That's it. That's the big question. That's the only thing on everyone's mind.Will it or won't it?Does this ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Erik Karlsson-to-Lightning talk wonít die down until deadline is over

Erik Karlsson-to-Lightning talk wonít die down until deadline is over

MONTREAL — Senators star defenseman Erik Karlsson sure seemed chatty with his Lightning friends as he left the Canadian Tire Center on Thursday night.Karlsson, 27, took his time talking up several members of Tampa Bay's staff in the hallway out...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Lightning not planning to trade from current roster

Lightning not planning to trade from current roster

You can bet that many Lightning fans hoped Senators superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson jumped on Tampa Bay's bus after Thursday night's 4-3 Lightning win.Karlsson, 27, a two-time Norris Trophy winner, is the biggest prize leading up to Monday's trade...
Published: 02/22/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Lightning escapes for 4-3 win in Ottawa

Lightning escapes for 4-3 win in Ottawa

OTTAWA – The Lightning was encouraged it escaped Ottawa with a 4-3 win over the Senators on Thursday night.But it was really disappointed about how it had to "hold on to dear life," as defenseman Victor Hedman put it, after taking a three-goal ...
Published: 02/22/18
Updated: 02/23/18
U-S-A! U-S-A! Womenís hockey beats Canada for Olympic gold

U-S-A! U-S-A! Womenís hockey beats Canada for Olympic gold

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — The Americans' gold medal drought in women's hockey is finally over. They needed the first shootout in an Olympic women's final to do it, too.Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored a dazzling, triple-deke goal in the sixth ...
Published: 02/22/18
Ryan Callahan regaining his confidence for Lightning

Ryan Callahan regaining his confidence for Lightning

When the Lightning put wing Ryan Callahan back on the power play a month ago, there were many reasons for the move.With Ondrej Palat suffering a lower-body injury Jan. 20, Tampa Bay needed a replacement who was fearless in front of the net and a rele...
Published: 02/21/18
The entire Lightning team was sent to Syracuse late Tuesday. Really

The entire Lightning team was sent to Syracuse late Tuesday. Really

On Tuesday night, the entire Lightning team was reassigned to Syracuse.Well, more like re-directed.The team's charter flight from Washington D.C. was diverted around midnight Tuesday night due to fog in Ottawa, where the Lightning was headed for a Th...
Published: 02/21/18
Lightning claims Gabriel Dumont off waivers

Lightning claims Gabriel Dumont off waivers

The Lightning got F Gabriel Dumont back, claiming him off waivers Wednesday from Ottawa.Dumont, 27, was reassigned to AHL Syracuse, where he will provide a veteran presence. He's a potential callup option down the stretch for a bottom six role and fa...
Published: 02/21/18
Nikita Kucherovís trick shot sends Lightning past Capitals

Nikita Kucherovís trick shot sends Lightning past Capitals

WASHINGTON — There was some lighthearted debate in the Lightning dressing room Tuesday night about whether the latest dazzling breakaway move by Nikita Kucherov was a deliberate fake or a slip off the stick.Some teammates playfully gave the All...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/21/18