Lightning optimistic it will avoid first 3-game skid

Captain Steven Stamkos says the Lightning knows how to rebound from bad games quickly. “We’re a resilient bunch.”
Captain Steven Stamkos says the Lightning knows how to rebound from bad games quickly. “We’re a resilient bunch.”
Published May 10, 2015

MONTREAL — Throughout this season, the Lightning has had a penchant for not letting a loss slip into a streak.

It's the reason Tampa Bay was the only team to not lose three in a row in the regular season.

The Lightning will lean on that experience heading into Tuesday's Game 6 against the Canadiens after dropping the past two games to cut its lead to 3-2 in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal.

"We're a resilient bunch," captain Steven Stamkos said before Saturday's 2-1 loss in Game 5. "I think we realize what to do when we have a bad game. We fix things pretty quickly. We watch things on the video, and we hold ourselves accountable.

"I think that's a big reason why even all year (we've been) able to avoid those long losing streaks. We know what we have to do."

Said D Anton Stralman after Game 5: "We're a character team, resilient. We're going to bounce back for sure."

Stamkos said Thursday's 6-2 loss in Game 4 "could have been one of the worst games we've played in a long time." But he said Tampa Bay played better Saturday, especially in the third period, when it "came to life."

"I hope we can keep that up," he said.

Coach Jon Cooper said before the game that the leadership in the locker room has helped the Lightning bounce back and avoid long losing streaks.

"When you're trying to make the playoffs in an 82-game year, the one thing that kills you is if you go on a prolonged losing streak," Cooper said. "And you don't have to have a major winning streak, but you can't go on a big losing streak. That was a mind-set we had all year. Guys would dig their heels in anytime something like that happens."

NO WORRIES: Though Stamkos entered Saturday with just one goal in 11 postseason games this year, he has kept a positive mind-set. And not only did Stamkos snap his two-game streak without a shot on goal, he scored, too, putting in a rebound for the tying goal midway through the third.

"I'm not frustrated at all. I'm excited," Stamkos said. "(Winning) is what it's about this time of year. Definitely the furthest thing from frustration at this point."

Cooper said he had to do something to put Stamkos in better positions; Saturday, Stamkos started at right wing, with Valtteri Filppula at center. RW Ryan Callahan, Stamkos' usual linemate, was moved to the third line with C Brian Boyle and LW Cedric Paquette.

Callahan has zero goals this postseason after scoring 24 in the regular season. "(Callahan has) been gritty," Cooper said. "He's been in front of the net. He's done all the things he's done all year. They just haven't gone in for him. He's had his chances."

LINING UP: LW Brenden Morrow, a healthy scratch in Game 4, returned to the lineup. Cooper said one reason the 36-year-old veteran sat Thursday was due to Games 3 and 4 being played back to back. "He's a big part of our team," Cooper said.

Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene

Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene

Subscribe to our free Sports Today newsletter

We’ll send you news and analysis on the Bucs, Lightning, Rays and Florida’s college football teams every day.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

With Morrow back, LW Jonathan Drouin, who had played the previous two games, was a healthy scratch. So were D Mark Barberio and C Vladislav Namestnikov. D Nikita Nesterov was back in as the Lightning went with seven defensemen for the first time in this series.