TAMPA – It’s the preseason and the Lightning looked like it on Tuesday night.
The pieces didn’t come together at all as Tampa Bay fell to Carolina 3-0 in the first preseason game.
The good news is it doesn’t really matter. This isn’t the lineup that will hit the ice in 16 games, a lot can happen between now and then. But Tuesday’s showing with too many penalties (six) and not a lot of offense (15 shots) wasn’t what anyone wanted to see.
There were some flashes of promise.
Mitchell Stephens, second round pick in 2015, showed off some good hands in the first period. He created a turnover on the penalty kill forecheck and then put a backhand shot on net. The puck rang off the crossbar, but it was a good move from a promising prospect.
“He was on the puck quite a bit,” Jon Cooper said of Stephens. “He was one of the guys who was skating tonight, so that was good.”
The coach credited Stephen’s skating as standing out. He also played the most penalty kill time of the forwards.
The six penalties were disappointing to Cooper, especially since that has been a point of emphasis in training camp. He doesn’t worry about wins and losses at this point, but sees the penalties as an issue.
Contact Diana C. Nearhos at email@example.com. Follow @dianacnearhos