The Lightning began their 14 day road trip in the big apple last night, a trip that will see them play all three teams in the New York City area before embarking on a trip to Sweden to play two games giant the Buffalo Sabres.
The trip did not start the way the Lightning wanted it too as the New York Rangers beat the lightning 4-1 dropping the Bolts to 5-4-2 on the season. This was a game that saw the Lightning lose two key players to injuries and the penalty kill continue to struggle.
Victor Hedman played just over six minutes in the first period before leaving the ice and not returning.
Pat Maroon got into a fight with Michael Haley two minutes into the game and took a hit to the back of the head and was not able to return.
Both Hedman and Maroon are listed as day to day on the injury report. Anthony Cirelli, the Lightning’s best defensive center was also out of the line-up and Braydon Point was not 100 percent, although he did set up the goal by Nikita Kucherov in the first period.
The Lightning won the first period against the Rangers opening up a 1-0 lead, but you could see as the game went along, being down two players, the extra minutes piled up and a lot of the players simply did not have that extra busrt of energy needed to get to that loose puck or make that hit and it took its toll on the Lightning as the game went on.
There is something not right with this team and no one has been able to put their finger on it. Is it a hangover from last year when the Lightning steamrolled through the regular season winning 62 games only to be swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Blue Jackets?
We know the special teams stink. Especially the penalty kill. The Lightning rank 28th in the league in the penalty kill this season at 69 percent after being number one last year and leading theleague at 85 percent.
The way the Lightning continues to take penalties, it is going to be a long season if they can’t get better on the penalty kill.
The Lightning are very competitive five on five, but the power play is not as good a it was last year. The Lightning are currently 10th in the league on the power play converting just 24 percent.
The Lightning are also chasing the puck too much. They are passing to much looking for that perfect setup. This team with the offensive talent they have need to take more shots in the offensive zone and pass less. Good things will happen when you shoot the puck.
There is a lack of a sense of urgency, a trap that this team has fallen into before and just thinking that they can turn it on at will and everything will fall into place.
This mentality cost them a playoff spot a few years ago.
Jon Cooper said after last night game that it was disappointing to not get any points out of the game. They will try to get a win tonight against a New Jersey team that has also struggled to open the season.
The Devils are currently 2-5-2 and in last place in the Metropolitan Division.