Thursday, December 14, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning shut out for second game in a row (w/video)

ST. LOUIS — To captain Steven Stamkos, giving up just two combined regulation goals in two games — one an empty-netter — should be more than enough.

"Usually, you win 95 percent of them, especially on the road," Stamkos said.

But you can't win if you don't score, and the Lightning stunningly hasn't in the past two games, including a 2-0 defeat to the Blues on Tuesday in front of a sold-out Scottrade Center. Tampa Bay lost 1-0 in overtime to the Blackhawks on Saturday.

The Lightning (5-3-2), the league's highest-scoring team last season, has been shut out in back-to-back games for just the second time in 12 years, the first since Nov. 29 and Dec. 3, 2013, against the Penguins and Blue Jackets, respectively.

"When you're in those little funks, things just don't seem to bounce your way," Stamkos said.

It made for a bitter end to what could have been a great "measuring stick" road trip. Tampa Bay did okay, going 1-1-2 and picking up four of eight possible points against playoff teams Nashville, Winnipeg, Chicago and St. Louis, but it lamented missed opportunities in the final two games.

"Can't sit here and sugarcoat it, got shut out in two games," coach Jon Cooper said. "Did (the trip) start okay? It did. But it didn't finish well."

Said Stamkos: "I don't think this group is satisfied with that."

Like Kristers Gudlevskis did on Saturday with 31 saves, goaltender Ben Bishop — returning to his hometown — gave Tampa Bay a chance to win Tuesday.

But though the Lightning had its share of chances, outshooting St. Louis 26-24, it couldn't convert. Alex Killorn hit the post in the second period, and Stamkos' one-timer deflected off the crossbar in the third. The Lightning had just half a minute of power-play time.

"There's obviously opportunities to score," forward Tyler Johnson said. "Can't be too upset by that, but at the same time, we've got to bear down and make sure we get one."

The Lightning got off to a strong start, controlling play for much of the first period and having better possession, chances and shot attempts (24-12). But Tampa Bay trailed 1-0 after the first. It has not led after the first 20 minutes yet through 10 games this season.

Blues center Scott Gomez made a perfect redirection of a point shot with four minutes left in the first to make it 1-0.

"From my vantage point, it's coming over the net," Bishop said of the shot. "It's a tough break, a good tip, can't do much about it."

Bishop's close friend and former AHL teammate Jake Allen earned the shutout, and bragging rights.

With the Lightning's scoring slump approaching five periods, Cooper mixed it up in the second, splitting up the touted Triplets line, which has just one even-strength goal through the 10 games. Johnson, who still has zero goals, moved around, with Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov playing alongside Stamkos.

Cooper said they need to get to the "dirty areas," and put more traffic in front of the net, not try to score as much from the perimeter. Stamkos said his team has no reason to panic and is confident it'll get through this scoring slump.

"When you need (a goal), you've got to find a way to grease one out," Cooper said. "And we're having trouble doing that right now."

Blues 1 0 1 2
Lightning 0 0 0 0

 

First Period1, St. Louis, Gomez 1 (Parayko, Brouwer), 15:59. PenaltiesNone.

Second PeriodNone. PenaltiesCondra, TB (tripping), 7:05.

Third Period2, St. Louis, Brouwer 3 (Pietrangelo), 19:19 (en). PenaltiesTampa Bay bench, served by Namestnikov (too many men), 7:48; Lehtera, StL (interference), 8:16; Nesterov, TB (holding), 14:39. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 12-8-6—26. St. Louis 8-7-9—24. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 0 of 1; St. Louis 0 of 3. GoaliesTampa Bay, Bishop 5-3-1 (23 shots-22 saves). St. Louis, Allen 2-2-0 (26-26). A19,184 (19,150). T2:24. Referees—Marc Joannette, Kyle Rehman. LinesmenBrian Murphy, Jay Sharrers.

Comments
Andrei Vasilevskiy’s dreams are coming true

Andrei Vasilevskiy’s dreams are coming true

GLENDALE, Ariz — Nikita Kucherov’s toughest challenge isn’t facing Canadiens goalie Carey Price, or Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky.It comes in practice against Andrei Vasilevskiy. "I’ve been saying, I thought he was going to be the top goalie in the leag...
Published: 12/13/17
Switch to wing helps Lightning’s Tyler Johnson

Switch to wing helps Lightning’s Tyler Johnson

ST. LOUIS — Tyler Johnson hasn’t played very much wing in his career, primarily sticking to his natural center position. But lately, Johnson has been stellar on the right side.Johnson’s assist in Tuesday’s win over the Blues extended his point streak...
Published: 12/13/17
Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

ST. LOUIS — This showdown was supposed to be about the best team in the East versus the best in the West. In reality, the Lightning’s 3-0 win over the Blues on Tuesday night pretty much came down to this:Andrei Vasilevskiy is one of the best goalies ...
Published: 12/12/17

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Lightning-Blues

Andrei Vasilevskiy might have made the save of the year. With the Lightning leading by one midway through the second, an Alex Steen dump-in took a wild carom off the boards. Vasilevskiiy somehow sprawled out for a right-toe save. Then, on his back, V...
Published: 12/12/17
Lightning face Blues in showdown between NHL’s top two teams

Lightning face Blues in showdown between NHL’s top two teams

The Lightning's west coast trip will start with a bang tonight in St. Louis.Tonight's game will pit the top two teams in the NHL, with Tampa Bay (21-6-2) atop the Eastern Conference, the Blues (21-8-2) the No. 1 team in the West.Fittingly, an NBCSN-a...
Published: 12/12/17
How Lightning coach Jon Cooper reinvented himself

How Lightning coach Jon Cooper reinvented himself

BRANDON — The best team in town had just wrapped up practice. The Lightning had a plane to catch, to St. Louis, where Tuesday in St. Louis begins a four-city road trip that ends at expansion Las Vegas, exclusive engagement, one show a night, unless y...
Published: 12/11/17
All boxes checked on Lightning home stand sweep; now, back to the road

All boxes checked on Lightning home stand sweep; now, back to the road

TAMPA — You don’t often see a coach making shadow puppets on the wall with his hands at the start of his postgame news conference, but that’s where the Lightning is these days after sweeping a four-game home stand with Saturday night’s 4-3 overtime v...
Published: 12/10/17
Updated game story: Lightning’s Brayden Point credits luck, opportunity for OT winner vs. Jets

Updated game story: Lightning’s Brayden Point credits luck, opportunity for OT winner vs. Jets

TAMPA — His coach says he plays every game as if he doesn’t play his best, he’s going to be sent down. That is not the case with Brayden Point, but who doesn’t want that kind of effort from a second-year player who has more than established himself i...
Published: 12/09/17

Brayden Point scores in OT to give Lightning win over Jets

TAMPA — The Jets saw Saturday’s game against the Lightning as a benchmark game, a way to measure themselves against the NHL’s top team. The Lightning had circled the game, the last of a four-game home stand."It’s going to be a big test for us," Light...
Published: 12/09/17
Lightning journal: Power-play players make me look good, Jon Cooper says

Lightning journal: Power-play players make me look good, Jon Cooper says

TAMPA — How about that Lightning power play."Coaching," coach Jon Cooper said before Saturday’s game with the Jets.He was kidding."You always look like a good coach when you can throw (Nikita) Kucherov and (Steven) Stamkos and (Victor) Hedman over th...
Published: 12/09/17