Lightning lose special teams battle in loss to Toronto
The Toronto Maple Leafs beat the lightning 4-3 on Tuesday night, a game in which the Lightning had a lead for three minutes in the first period before Toronto scored two unanswered goals to take a 2-1 lead and led the rest of the way.
The lightning have now lost three in a row for the first time since the spring of 2018, not counting of course the sweep by the Columbus Blue Jackets in last years first round of the playoffs.
The Lightning were hoping to come back home and come out of the locker room with a sense of urgency. That was not the case and the Lightning looked the Lightning of November and December getting outshot 20-15 in the first two periods.
The Lightning, then down 4-2 came out and swarmed the Leafs in the third period outshooting Toronto 14-3, but was only able to get one Yanni Gourde goal to cut the deficit to 4-3 and thats the way the game ended.
Nikita Kucherov scored his 30th of the season in the first period that put the Lightning up 1-0, but the Bolts were only able to get a Patrick Maroon goal in the second period and trailed 4-2 after two periods.
During this three game slide, a lot of old habits have crept back into the Lightning game and it has ultimately cost them.
The Lightning have allowed five power play goals during the three game losing streak and are 5/12 on the penalty kill. That equates to 42 percent which is an awful number for any form of a penalty kill.
On the season, the lightning are ninth in the league at 82 percent.
After being in the top five in the league most of the season on the power play, the lightning have slipped to sixth at 23.3 percent. The Lightning have gone 2/8 on the power play during this three game skid.
To be fair, the lightning have a lot of key people hurt, but as Jon Cooper said after the loss to Arizona, its next man up, no excuses. These guys have been playing in the system all year now and its time to step and play better.
Ryan McDonagh, and Jan Rutta, along with Erik Cernak have all missed substantial times with injuries, although Cernak was able to play in the game last night.
Steven Stamkos left the game with an injury thats been bothering him off and on and and there is no word on if he will be able to play against Chicago.
The Lightning are also breaking in three new players and two of those players were seeing their first game action with the Lightning last night.
Barclay Goodrow and Zach Bogosian were making their debuts last night and this was Blake Coleman’s second game. It may take a game or two for every one to get comfortable with one another in their new roles.
Maybe a little bit of a adversity is good for this team as last year they were not faced with any real adversity until the playoffs. Not having gone through that during the regular season, the team struggled to deal with that in the playoffs and were swept out in the first round.
The Lightning will continue their home stand Thursday night with a matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks.