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Lightning searching for consistency after loss to Avalanche

Tampa Bay is looking to string more wins together, starting with Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
Lightning's Yanni Gourde and Tyler Johnson (9) are stifled by Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz (39) during the first period of Saturday's game against Colorado. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Oct. 21
Updated Oct. 21

TAMPA — After giving up six goals to an upstart Colorado team, Tampa Bay is looking for a bounce-back performance when they host Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.


After a 4-3 overtime loss at Carolina on Oct. 6, Tampa Bay posted seven goals in its next game against Toronto. After a 4-2 defeat in Ottawa on Oct. 12, the Lightning rebounded for a 3-1 win against Montreal. Lightning coach Jon Cooper sees a positive in the team’s ability to rebound.

“You look at the Carolina and the Ottawa game, they probably weren’t our best efforts,” Cooper said. “(The coaching staff) challenged the team, and they responded.”

Now the Lightning need another effort after the Avalanche, the leading team in the Western Conference standings, handed Tampa Bay a 6-2 loss Saturday at Amalie Arena.

“There’s no doubt we have it in us,” said defenseman Ryan McDonagh. “We’ve got to get it consistent, find that motivation and find that competitiveness right from the first puck drop. We’ve got to look each other in the eye at the start of each game and make sure that we’re all there and ready to battle for one another.”

Despite the thumping at the hands of the Avalanche, the Lightning identified at least one positive takeaway from Saturday’s showing – the team finished the night with 46 shots on goal, nearly doubling Colorado’s 24. Unfortunately for the Lightning, Avalanche goalie Pavel Francouz stuffed 44 of those shots, limiting Tampa Bay to two goals in only his fourth career game.

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Cooper said his team can’t worry about who’s in net for the opponent because, whoever he is, he’s good enough to be a National Hockey League goalie.

“It’s more about us,” Cooper said before Saturday’s loss. “How is our shot volume going? Are we doing all the right things around the net?”

Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz (39) stops a shot from Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken) [JASON BEHNKEN | AP]

The shot volume was not the problem Saturday night, as evidenced by Tampa Bay’s overwhelming advantage in shot differential. Forward Anthony Cirelli said his team needs to take better advantages of their scoring opportunities.

“It’s not easy to score in this league,” Cirelli said. “We’ve got to kind of do a better job of getting some traffic through and try finishing our chances.”

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During last year’s record-shattering campaign, Tampa Bay put together a averaged 3.89 goals per game and led the league with 319 scores, 30 more than any other team. Through a small sample size of eight games this season, Tampa Bay’s offensive output of 3.5 goals per game ranks in the top-third of the league, checking in at No. 8 before Monday night’s games, but does not match last year’s performance.

“I think comparing the years is really – it’s unfair,” Cooper said after Saturday’s loss. “Pretty much everything last year, up until the playoffs, went right for us.”

RELATED LIGHTNING: Lightning return home, falter 6-2 to Avalanche

Paquette returning to form

Tampa Bay Lightning center Cedric Paquette (13) leaves the ice after getting injured during the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game against the Florida Panthers Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) [CHRIS O'MEARA | AP]

Cooper said forward Cedric Paquette is “definitely in the day-to-day range now.” The forward was on the ice in a regular jersey at Sunday’s practice, and he is nearing a return after suffering an undisclosed injury in a Sept. 28 preseason game against Florida. The Lightning will reevaluate Paquette when they return to practice on Tuesday.

“I don’t know if the injury is as much the issue now as working him back into game shape,” Cooper said.

Up next

The Lightning host Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins 8 p.m. Wednesday at Amalie Arena.


  1. 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.
  2. Pictured from the center ice display, LT Robert McClintock, 101 years old, from the US Army Air Corps (Ret.), performs the National Anthem along with USAF Technical Sergeant (Ret.) Sonya Bryson (not pictured) before the Tampa Bay Lightning take on the New York Rangers on Military Appreciation Night at Amalie Arena on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 in Tampa.  DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The Lightning brought back Robert McClintock to join Sonja Bryson, also a veteran, for Military Appreciation Night
  3. The Lightning return to home ice and dominate the Rangers
  4. The Lightning's Victor Hedman (77). Alex Killorn (17) and Nikita Kucherov (86) celebrate after an NHL hockey game against the Sabres in Globen Arena, Stockholm last week. ANDERS WIKLUND/TT  |  AP
    Tampa Bay’s schedule returns to a more normal pace tonight when it takes on the young, gritty Rangers.
  5. In this March 24, 2010, file photo, hockey personality Don Cherry, right, speaks during a news conference as actor Jared Keeso is displayed on a video screen while playing Cherry in the bio film "Keep Your Head Up Kid: The Don Cherry Story" in Toronto. Sportsnet cut ties with Cherry on Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, after the veteran hockey commentator called new immigrants "you people" on his "Coach's Corner" segment while claiming they do not wear poppies to honor Canadian veterans. DARREN CALABRESE  |  AP
    Cherry has not apologized for his remarks.
  6. The Stockholm City Library turned out to be the perfect place to get engaged. SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
    Stockholm City Library has a beautiful round hall that turned out to be the perfect place to get engaged
  7. Patrick Maroon of Tampa Bay Lightning against Buffalo on Nov. 9 in Stockholm. JONAS LJUNGDAHL  |  Bildbyran via ZUMA Press
    The team got practice, a reset and bonding from the week in Stockholm.
  8. Members of the Tampa Bay Lightning look on during the 2019 NHL Global Series Sweden, at the Ericsson Globe on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019 in Stockholm, Sweden. DAVE SANDFORD/NHLI  |  TNS
    Plus, a challenge to the NHL Challenge system, Tyler Johnson’s Sweden highlights and a Jon Cooper question. | Diana C. Nearhos
  9. A full-color model of the Vasa sits in front of the 391-year-old reconstructed Swedish warship at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. DIANA NEARHOS  |  TIMES
    Swedish travels continue with two of the most popular attractions in Stockholm.
  10. Tampa celebrates after Victor Hedman, left, scored, during a NHL Global Series hockey match between the Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning at the Globen Arena, in Stockholm Sweden, Saturday. JESSICA GOW/TT  |  AP
    Yanni Gourde scored twice and Pat Maroon once as Tampa Bay swept the Globe Series back-to-back against the Sabres