Sunday, January 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

To score, Lightning learns it must shoot

TAMPA — The Lightning was efficient in one way Wednesday, scoring four goals on its 16 shots in regulation.

But that type of shooting percentage likely won't hold up over a series against acclaimed Canadiens goaltender Carey Price.

"At the end of the day, you're not going to score too many goals on Carey Price if you don't take enough shots," Lightning defenseman Eric Brewer said.

It's Hockey 101: If you don't shoot, you can't score. The Lightning believed it didn't get enough extended offensive zone pressure during Wednesday's 5-4 overtime loss in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference first-round series, something it needs to improve tonight in Game 2.

"If you watched the game (Wednesday), we were in the zone and out of the zone before you'd blink," coach Jon Cooper said. "All that does is swing momentum.

"We've been a pretty good puck-possession team all year. If you make (the Canadiens) play 25, 30 seconds of (defense), they're not going to have much going the other way. The problem is, they were doing that to us."

Bad entries and giveaways led to trouble for Tampa Bay, including defenseman Mike Kostka's turnover near the Canadiens' blue line that quickly turned into an odd-man rush and a goal by Montreal forward Lars Eller in the third period. Including overtime, the Canadiens outshot the Lightning 44-25.

"We're used to being in the offensive zone pretty much the entire game," Lightning center Tyler Johnson said. "So for them to really take that and shove it back at us, they played a great game. They threw a lot of pucks on net, and sometimes we were looking for that pretty play. In the playoffs, that just doesn't happen."

Brewer said it starts with the Lightning getting out of its zone a little cleaner, something it worked on during Thursday's practice. Johnson said Tampa Bay needs to establish a forecheck and sustain pressure. There's a fine line between being too offensive or defensive while with the puck, he said.

Associate coach Rick Bowness believes a key is defensemen getting shots through from the point into the "bogged down" area in front of the net, where many playoff goals are scored. "They're scrambles," Bowness said. "Not a whole lot of pretty plays."

Said center Alex Killorn: "I think that throughout the season, it's come in waves. We've had games where we had a ton of shots, some where we haven't had that many.

"In the playoffs, it's big to get shots on net, especially with a goalie like Carey Price. He's really good at challenging the shooter, but with rebounds, that's where we're going to score most of our goals."

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