1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Lightning

Steven Stamkos rips Lightning after OT loss to Hurricanes

“Unless we change things, it’s going to be a really, really, really long year," the captain says.
Carolina Hurricanes' Erik Haula (56) of Finland, shoots the puck past Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney (35) for a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker) [KARL B DEBLAKER | AP]
Published Oct. 6
Updated Oct. 7

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Lightning couldn’t find the net. That’s not a euphemism to say they couldn’t score. The Lightning couldn’t get a shot.

This wasn’t just for a few minutes, either. Tampa Bay did not put a shot on net for the entire second period of a 4-3 overtime loss to the Hurricanes on Sunday.

To be exact, the Lightning went 25 minutes, 52 seconds between Steven Stamkos’ goal at 17:44 of the first period and a shot by him early in the third. That’s not a winning recipe.

MORE LIGHTNING: Sign up for our Lightning Strikes newsletter to get all the news and exclusive analysis in your inbox

Stamkos, with an eye on last season’s playoff exit, ripped into the team for habits it can’t seem to break.

“We just continue to be the freewheeling team that thinks we can just come into games and win because we’re skilled,” Stamkos said. “We keep falling back into the same old bad habits that we’ve been doing, that cost us the season we had last year.

“Unless we change things, it’s going to be a really, really, really long year.”

Tampa Bay (1-1-1) started training camp talking about the need to be more responsible defensively and to rely less on its goaltending. They did neither of those things Sunday.

Why couldn’t the Lightning put shots on net? Because they didn’t have the puck. The Hurricanes dominated possession so much that on the their way to putting 44 shots on goal in the game, they missed more shots (21) than the Lightning put on net, 13.

The Lightning didn’t exactly light up the net in the first period, but they were productive, with three goals on 11 shots. Then in their shotless span, they went from being in relative control of the game leading 3-1 to leading 3-2 and being caught in an offensive spiral.

And then it got worse. The Lightning put only two shots on net in the third period while giving up that narrow lead on Carolina’s second power-play goal of the game at 12:48.

The Lightning didn’t put on shot on net in overtime while Carolina added three to its total, including the goal to win it all, by Jaccob Slavin 1:53 in.

The Lightning ended up leaving Curtis McElhinney out to dry against his former team. McElhinney, making his Lightning debut, made save after save, doing his best to keep them in it.

The four goals he gave up don’t seem like that many given the shot total he faced. The Lightning never gave him a chance to catch his breath by not sustaining pressure in the other end. Coach Jon Cooper said McElhinney was the only player to “show up” in the latter two periods.

“Our goaltender was outstanding,” Stamkos said, “and I feel bad for him that he had that effort and we had the effort we had.”

Tyler Johnson agreed with Stamkos that this is a mental issue for the Lightning.

“We have skill, but you don’t always need to use that skill,” he said. “We try to make those cute plays. We try to make almost Globetrotter plays. In reality, that doesn’t win games.”

He said the solution is for the Lightning to simplify their game. They have gotten away from basics and the Hurricanes beat them playing a simple game.

“We do it to ourselves,” Stamkos said.

As Stamkos continued on about the Lightning’s issues, he stopped himself and said the good news is this was only the third game of the season. There’s plenty of time for the Lightning to change things.

Cooper said a team has two or three dud games a year and maybe the lesson for the Lightning is something about taking one step backward to take two steps forward.

Stamkos is about ready to be done learning these lessons, though.

“Everyone is sick of talking about it and not doing it,” he said. “Let’s go do it.”

Contact Diana C. Nearhos at Follow @dianacnearhos.

Hurricanes 1 1 1 1 4

Lightning 3 0 0 0 3

First Period—1, Carolina, Pesce 1 (McGinn, Svechnikov), 1:14. 2, Tampa Bay, Johnson 1 (Hedman), 2:22. 3, Tampa Bay, Shattenkirk 2 (Sergachev, Gourde), 9:53 (pp). 4, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 2, 17:44. Penalties—Edmundson, CAR, (interference), 9:48 Cirelli, TB, (hooking), 15:03.

Second Period—5, Carolina, Haula 3 (Teravainen, Hamilton), 13:49 (pp). Penalties—Hamilton, CAR, (tripping), 0:55 Hedman, TB, (hooking), 12:31 Stamkos, TB, (hooking), 15:40 Teravainen, CAR, (tripping), 15:50.

Third Period—6, Carolina, Hamilton 1 (Teravainen, Svechnikov), 12:48 (pp). Penalties—Foegele, CAR, (hooking), 5:33 Coburn, TB, (hooking), 12:26. Shattenkirk, TB, (interference), 19:15.

Overtime—7, Carolina, Slavin 2 (Staal), 1:53. Penalties—None.

Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 11-2_13. Carolina 17-16-8-3_44. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 1 of 4. Carolina 2 of 5. Goalies—Tampa Bay, McElhinney 0-0-1 (44 shots-40 saves). Carolina, Mrazek 2-0-0 (13-10).


  1. Tampa Bay Lightning's Pat Maroon (14) is unable to score past St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington and Mackenzie MacEachern (28) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, in St. Louis. JEFF ROBERSON  |  AP
    Maroon helped the Blues win the Stanley Cup last season. On Tuesday night in St. Louis, they took what is usually a private ceremony and went public for a hometown hero.
  2. New Jersey Devils' Nico Hischier, right, (13) defends Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos (91) during the second period of a game Oct. 30 in Newark, N.J. FRANK FRANKLIN II  |  AP
    Stamkos has not missed a game since April 2017.
  3. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak (81) before an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    Tampa Bay’s second-year defenseman is primed to take on an even bigger role.
  4. Long faces dominate some of the remaining Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans during the fourth quarter of the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, November 17, 2019, in Tampa. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: What remaining game will Tampa Bay be favored to win?
  5. The Lightning hosted 5,000 middle school students at Friday's practice. Courtesy of Everfi
    Slap Shots: Plus, thoughts on the Hockey Hall of Fame, a scary moment in Calgary and Military Appreciation Night.
  6. Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrates with the bench after his goal against the Winnipeg Jets during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    Victor Hedman calls the milestone “an unreal accomplishment by an unreal player.”
  7. Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Pat Maroon (14) is taken down by Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (7) as he tries to wrap the puck past goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) during the second period Saturday in Tampa. CHRIS O'MEARA  |  AP
    They lose to the Winnipeg Jets after a power-play goal scored due to a failed challenge.
  8. Tampa Bay Lightning center Alex Killorn (17) celebrates his second goal of the game during the second period of Tampa Bay's 9-3 victory over the New York Rangers Thursday at Amalie Arena. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Alex Killorn’s decision to just skate away Thursday night is part of a positive trend in Tampa Bay.
  9. Jameis Winston (3) points to fans after the Bucs' 2017 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Tampa Bay Times
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Previewing Bucs-Saints, justice for the Astros, answers for the Lightning.
  10. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Luke Schenn (2) celebrates his goal, the first of the game, along with right wing Nikita Kucherov (86), defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) and center Tyler Johnson (9) beating New York Rangers goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) during first period action at Amalie Arena on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 in Tampa. DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Lightning 9, Rangers 3: Tampa Bay posts its highest-scoring game of the last two seasons.