“I don’t know what else to say anymore,” Pat Maroon said. “We have to better. You have to figure out how to limit turnovers, manage the puck better.”
“We played poorly,” Cooper said. “That was it.”
Two observations from coach Jon Cooper and forward Patrick Maroon after the game against the St. Louis Blues, as the Lightning played another lackluster game in dropping a 3-1 decision to the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
The Lightning got on the scoreboard first on Anthony Cirelli’s third goal of the season and the Lightning led 1-0 after the first period.
The Lightning lost MVP Nikita Kucherov on a nasty hit delivered by Blues defenseman Braydon Schenn which knocked Kucherov off his feet, causing him to slam his back hard on the ice.
Kucherov left the ice and did not return, but word from the Lightning today is that Kucherov is expected to be back for the game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday.
The Lightning were outplayed, outhustled, and looked out of sync from start to finish in the loss to the Blues getting outshot 34-17.
This season is beginning to mirror the 2016-17 season for the Lightning when they were favored to get back to the Stanley Cup Finals and ended up missing the playoffs.
During that season, the Lightning were in last place in January, but played much better after the All-Star break but game up a bit short in their playoff push.
The players were saying the same things during that season as they are now. It seems almost every night there is one player saying “We just have to play better. We have to be better on the power play and penalty kill.”
Jon Cooper in his post game interview after the Blues said what has been obvious most of the season “We played poorly.”
That sense of urgency and killer instinct is sorely missing from this years team.
The Lightning trail Boston by 11 points for the division lead and have a one point lead on Ottawa and a three point lead on last place Detroit.
The Lightning are four points out of a wild card spot right now.
The Lightning have a lot of work to do to get back into the playoff picture. This time of year is when you need to pile up some points that you may need later in the season and the Lightning are letting a lot of points slip away.
The next chance for the Lightning to pick up some points will be Thursday night in Chicago, a game the Lightning should win and need to win.