Lightning Blow 2-0 Lead In Loss To The Devils

It started well for the Tampa Bay Lightning as they jumped to a 2-0 lead on the New Jersey Devils. But the Devils answered with five unanswered goals and beat the Lightning 5-2 to snap Tampa’s three-game winning streak.

Lightning Jump Out To Early 2-0 Lead

Nikita Kucherov got the Bolts on the board first, scoring his 28th goal of the season to put the Lightning up 1-0. It was the 100th point for Kucherov, the third 100-point season of his career.

Kucherov is also one of six active players with three 100-point seasons.

Early in the second period, Alex Killorn would give the Bolts a 2-0 lead before New Jersey would get their game going and dominate the Lightning the rest of the way.

The Devils were quicker all night, generating more chances and outshooting the Lightning 39-24.

Once again, the Lightning’s power play was shut down by one of the best penalty-killing teams in the league. The Lightning were 0/4 on the PP and could not manage much offense with the man advantage.

Both teams played on Saturday night, but the Lightning like the more tired and worn-out team as the game went along.

Jon Cooper liked the way the game started for the Bolts. “I really liked our first period, and I think probably the first eight minutes or seven minutes of the second period. We had the game under control. We scored that second goal. They had a couple chances, and we come back and score that second goal. It’s 2-0.”

After the Killorn goal, the wheels began falling off for the Lightning. Cooper talked about the Lightning meltdown. “It was just senseless turnovers and managing the puck, and we couldn’t get through the neutral zone. Jersey didn’t reinvent the wheel. We just smashed the wheel ourselves. It was horrendous.”

The loss snaps the Bolts ‘ three-game win streak, and New Jersey snaps their three-game losing streak with the win on Sunday Night.

Lightning And The Fatigue Factor

Could fatigue be a factor in Tampa’s 5-5-1 record in March? It could be a significant factor.

The Lightning will end a stretch of playing 19 games in 33 days this weekend. Also, the Lightning had a very soft schedule in the first half of the season and will have played more games since the All-Star break than any team in the NHL.

Let’s not forget that the Lightning have played in the Stanley Cup Finals three years in a row, equivalent to one extra season.

That’s a lot of hockey, and fatigue has to set in at some point. But the Lightning aren’t going to use that as an excuse.

Despite the loss to the Devils, the Lightning are 5-2-1 in their last eight games after a very slow start to begin the month of March.

The Lightning has eleven games left in the regular season and is currently 42-23-6, good for 90 points.

What’s concerning for this team is being unable to play a solid 60-minute game. With the playoffs approaching, there is little margin for error. Every turnover, every errant pass, and every mistake is magnified.

Jon Cooper thinks that a bit of rest is what the team needs at this point in the season. “The biggest part of this part of the season is the rest. The practice time is out the window. Maybe we get one a week now for the rest of the year. To me, it’s all about the mental rest, the physical rest for our guys. To me, we have so many games. Now it’s all about playing the games. If they don’t know what we’re doing in our system from 65 games in, then that’s a whole different problem. But our guys are dialed in. But for me, it’s keeping our guys as fresh as possible, which is really, really tough this time of year.”

One thing that Fans have to get used to is that this team will not dominate the opposition every night. However, because the team has had so much success in the last three seasons, we expect this team to dominate every night.

The Bolts have eleven games to get their game playoff ready.

That will start Tuesday Night in Montreal with a four-game road trip that will also take them to Ottawa, Boston, and Carolina.

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