COLUMBUS, Ohio — Through an 82-game season, every team goes through ebbs and flows, and perhaps that is what the Lightning is experiencing right now with its penalty kill.
But after allowing two power-play goals in the third period doomed Tampa Bay to a 3-2 loss to the Blue Jackets Monday night at Nationwide Arena, coach Jon Cooper didn't let his penalty-kill squads off the hook.
"It just seems we're giving up a power-play goal every game, and that's unacceptable," he said. "We have to change what we're doing or change the personnel or something."
After Nathan Horton and Mark Letestu scored on Columbus' two third-period power-play chances to overcome a 2-1 deficit, the Lightning in its past eight games has allowed 11 power-play goals in 31 shorthanded chances.
That is a 64.5 percent efficiency and no way to survive.
Tampa Bay, whose overall efficiency is 80.1 percent, even worked on penalty kills at the morning skate.
"The PK isn't getting the job done," defenseman Matt Carle said. "I don't think it's one guy or one thing. It's frustrating."
Especially after the Lightning (27-15-4) got second-period goals in 57 seconds by Alex Killorn, on the power play, and defenseman Victor Hedman for a 2-1 lead.
But Horton's power-play wrist shot from above the left faceoff circle 3:09 into the third tied it, and Letestu's deflection of Jack Johnson's shot from the blue line with 2:38 left came after B.J. Crombeen whiffed on a clearing attempt.
"You need that to go down the ice, no doubt," Cooper said.
All that made more acute Tampa Bay's two power-play failures in the third period with the score 2-2.
It was a frustrating night, too, for goaltender Anders Lindback, who because of heavy screens never saw Columbus' first two tallies.
That all three Columbus goals originated with long-range shots also was a sore point.
"I didn't pick up any of them," Lindback said. "We either have to block those or I have to get those."
"The first forward has to do the best job he can to make (the shooter) miss," Carle said. "Then the onus is on the D in front of the net to try to block a shot and have layers there. When you don't have that … they're going to make plays."
Columbus might not have gotten its last power play had Hedman's stick not snapped on a slap shot. That led to a breakout in which Tyler Johnson was caught hooking.
Even so, Cooper said, "Sometimes you need your special teams to bail you out. (Monday) it cost us."
First—None. Penalties—Dubinsky, Clm (tripping), 4:28; Gudas, TB (cross-checking), 10:16; Gudas, TB (interference), 16:18; Sustr, TB (cross-checking), 18:40.
Second—1, Columbus, Johansen 17 (Murray), 3:46. 2, Tampa Bay, Killorn 12 (Carle, Gudas), 5:07 (pp). 3, Tampa Bay, Hedman 9 (T.Johnson, St. Louis), 6:04. Penalties—Dubinsky, Clm (cross-checking), 4:17; Hedman, TB (hooking), 10:41.
Third—4, Columbus, Horton 2 (J.Johnson, Anisimov), 3:09 (pp). 5, Columbus, Letestu 5 (J.Johnson, Wisniewski), 17:22 (pp). Penalties—Cote, TB (hooking), 2:11; Horton, Clm (slashing), 5:42; Tyutin, Clm (holding), 12:18; T.Johnson, TB (hooking), 16:32. Shots—Tampa Bay 9-12-7—28. Columbus 10-7-11—28. Power plays—Tampa Bay 1 of 4; Columbus 2 of 6. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Lindback 5-10-1 (28 shots-25 saves). Columbus, Bobrovsky 13-11-2 (28-26). A—14,070 (18,144). T—2:25.