Monday, April 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Under different leadership, Lightning falls again

WINNIPEG — Their coach was fired, their general manager explained how much they still had to play for, and then Lightning players had to face the Jets in the second of back-to-back games.

"An emotional day," assistant coach Dan Lacroix said.

And it ultimately was disappointing as Tampa Bay fell 3-2 Sunday night at the MTS Centre to finish a Canadian trip 0-3-0.

But there was solace in that the team played one of its better games in a while. It certainly had more passion and urgency than in losses Wednesday and Saturday to the Maple Leafs and Senators, respectively, that helped get coach Guy Boucher fired.

In fact, if not for goaltender Ondrej Palat, who made 23 saves, the Lightning (13-18-1) might have won with Lacroix and fellow assistants Marty Raymond and Steve Thomas running the bench.

"I'm proud of the guys," center Steven Stamkos said. "I definitely thought we played a solid game. I thought we deserved a little better fate."

Stamkos scored his league-best 22nd goal. Marty St. Louis' assist gave him 892 points to tie ex-Capital Peter Bondra for 100th all time. And Cory Conacher's tip-in of Eric Brewer's floater 5:01 into the third made the score 3-2.

But Pavelec was a monster, especially when he stopped Conacher's backhander on a second-period breakaway with a lunging glove save.

"We wanted to win this game for the coaching staff that was on the bench," Conacher said, and then tipped his hat to Pavelec. "A great save."

"It's a tight group in the room," Lacroix said. "They decided to play hard and play together. They gave it everything they had and just came up short."

The day began with the news Boucher had been fired followed by a meeting with GM Steve Yzerman.

After stressing, "We all share the responsibility of where we sit today," Yzerman added, "There's a lot to play for. There's fighting for a playoff spot, playing for your teammates, playing for your own job, playing for your position."

The Lightning made mistakes.

Stamkos' errors led to two goals as he had the puck poked off his stick in the defensive zone by Blake Wheeler before Bryan Little's first-period goal. He also in the defensive zone lost track of Tobias Enstrom, who was free in the slot to score on goalie Cedrick Desjardins for a 3-1 second-period lead.

But overall, the Lightning had the better of play. Pavelec was just up to the task.

Said center Nate Thompson: "I thought he stole the game for them."

Jets1203
Lightning0112

First Period1, Winnipeg, Little 5 (Wheeler), 14:02. PenaltiesNone.

Second Period2, Winnipeg, Byfuglien 6 (Wheeler, Little), 2:35 (pp). 3, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 22 (St. Louis, Salo), 6:20 (pp). 4, Winnipeg, Enstrom 3 (Ladd, Little), 9:35. PenaltiesJohnson, TB (tripping), 2:24; Thorburn, Wpg (kneeing), 6:13; Labrie, TB (hooking), 7:10; Bogosian, Wpg, double minor (high-sticking), 9:13; St. Louis, TB (high-sticking), 9:21; Antropov, Wpg (slashing), 14:22.

Third Period5, Tampa Bay, Conacher 9 (Brewer), 5:01. PenaltiesWheeler, Wpg (goaltender interference), 3:22; Purcell, TB (hooking), 3:47. Shots on GoalTampa Bay 12-7-6—25. Winnipeg 8-9-7—24. Power-play opportunitiesTampa Bay 1 of 5; Winnipeg 1 of 3. GoaliesTampa Bay, Desjardins 0-3-0 (24 shots-21 saves). Winnipeg, Pavelec 14-14-2 (25-23). A15,004 (15,004). Referees—Marc Joannette, Rob Martell. LinesmenVaughan Rody, Thor Nelson.

Comments
Lightning has answer for Devils and David Puddy

Lightning has answer for Devils and David Puddy

You knew those who work the scoreboard for the Lightning games at Amalie Arena would have an answer Saturday during Game 5 to the Devils using David Puddy during Game 4 at the Prudential Center. Puddy meets Homer Simpson. Actually, Puddy met Terry ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Single-game tickets for the Lightning's Eastern Conference semifinal series go on sale to the general public at 1 p.m. Monday at nhl.com/lightning/tickets.The Lightning plays the winner of the Bruins-Maple Leafs series. Game 6 of that series is Monda...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

TAMPA — As usual, Andrei Vasilevskiy didn't speak in front of the cameras after the game. He has been like that since he hit the NHL. He still isn't comfortable with his English on TV.But Vasilevskiy spoke loudly and clearly in the first-round ...
Published: 04/22/18
Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bay’s clinching 3-1 victory in Game 5

Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bay’s clinching 3-1 victory in Game 5

TAMPA — Closers.That's what the Lightning looked like as it closed out the New Jersey Devils in five games with a 3-1 win Saturday.Nikita Kucherov's star power blazed again, the defense controlled the game and not even Jersey goaltend...
Published: 04/21/18
Updated: 04/22/18
Maple Leafs force Game 6 with Bruins

Maple Leafs force Game 6 with Bruins

BOSTON — Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk scored 1:19 apart in the second period, and then the Maple Leafs killed off a 5-on-3 and three more power plays in a row to beat the Bruins 4-3 in Game 5 on Saturday night and avoid playoff eliminatio...
Published: 04/21/18
Lightning-Devils: How the NHL’s top offense went on the defensive

Lightning-Devils: How the NHL’s top offense went on the defensive

TAMPA — It was a couple of days after the Lightning beat the Bruins at home late in the regular season when associate coach Rick Bowness talked about how the defensive effort used in that shutout victory was the one the Lightning would need in ...
Published: 04/21/18
Rookie? Lightning D Mikhail Sergachev’s playing like a seasoned pro

Rookie? Lightning D Mikhail Sergachev’s playing like a seasoned pro

TAMPA — Pardon Mikhail Sergachev if he isn't so good at one of hockey's greatest traditions. After all, growing a Stanley Cup playoff beard isn't easy when you're still just a teenager.As he stood in the Lightning locker room Saturday evening w...
Published: 04/21/18
Roger Mooney’s takeaways from the Lightning’s first-round series

Roger Mooney’s takeaways from the Lightning’s first-round series

TAMPA — In the postseason, teams want to bank days off so they are as fresh as can be for the next round. That's why it was so important for the Lightning to close out Jersey in five. The fewer the games, the less wear and tear on the body, les...
Published: 04/21/18
Lightning stays patient, even through 0-for-5 power-play drought

Lightning stays patient, even through 0-for-5 power-play drought

TAMPA — The Lightning so dominated the second period Saturday that the Devils had more penalties (five) than shots on goal (four), and yet Tampa Bay was unable to build on a 1-0 lead as they sought to clinch the opening-round series.Nowhere was...
Published: 04/21/18
Nikita Kucherov’s goal sets Lightning playoff series scoring record

Nikita Kucherov’s goal sets Lightning playoff series scoring record

TAMPA — After clinging to a 1-0 lead for more than two periods Saturday, the Lightning got a long-awaited cushion — and ultimately the winning goal — when Nikita Kucherov scored with 7:33 left in the final period of a 3-1 victo...
Published: 04/21/18