This did not look like the Lightning team that we are used to seeing on Sunday afternoon.
There were terrible passes and mental errors, and the team looked like they were not ready to play as the team dropped a 2-1 decision to the New York Islanders.
Give the Islanders credit. They showed up and played a pretty flawless game in beating the Lightning 2-1. As a result, the Islanders lead the series 1-0, with game two coming up Tuesday night in Tampa.
This is the first time that the Lightning has been in this position so far in the postseason.
In the 2020 postseason, the Bolts lost the first game in their series with the Boston Bruins and came back to win that series in five games.
In the Stanley Cup Finals against Dallas, the Lightning lost the first game and won four of the next five to win their second Stanley Cup in franchise history.
If you’re one of the Lightning fans that are ready to jump off a cliff, RELAX. It’s going to be okay. The Lightning has been in this situation before. They know what adjustments to make. They will come back and play better game two.
The captain Steven Stamkos spoke after the game. “We dropped a few last year in the playoffs as well, including in the final. We’re fine in this position. We’ve got to respond with another game at home in front of our fans, and then we’ll take it from there.”
“There’s definitely no panic in this room, but we do realize it’s going to be an extremely tight series, and we just have to expect that going forward.”
Jon Cooper summed up the opening game of the series in his post-game press conference. “Our work ethic was there. Our compete was there. Our minds weren’t there. Some of our decisions were poor. That’s what happens. You get this deep into the playoffs, there are only four teams left, you have to have everything working in unison, and we just weren’t quite there tonight.”
One thing that continued to work well for the Lightning was the power play. Braydon Point scored his ninth goal of the playoffs, a power-play goal with just under a minute to play in the game to cut the Islander lead to 2-1, but the Bolts offense couldn’t get much of an attack going in that final minute of play.
While the power play has continued to click, the five-on-five play has left fans scratching their head. The Lightning has scored 39 goals this postseason, with 17 of those on the power play. That’s 22 goals over 12 games which is just under two goals a game five on five.
As Jon Cooper talked after game one, the Lightning needs to play smarter and make better decisions with the puck.
This is a team that has been in this position before. The Lightning know what they have to do to get back in the series.
Tuesday night’s game now becomes the most crucial game of the season for the Lightning.
Going to New York down 0-2 would be a considerable challenge to overcome. The Lightning needs to give themselves some breathing room, with a win on Tuesday night.