Just because you have more ammo doesn’t mean you will win the battle. The Tampa Bay Lightning learned that the hard way Tuesday night in Jon Cooper’s second game as head coach.
Despite outshooting the Florida Panthers 41-25 in the game, it was Florida that came away victorious in a 3-2 road shootout win at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The 41 shots were a season-high for the Lightning.
It was the young goaltender Jacob Markstrom who kept Florida in the game, making big save after another, including stopping all three Lightning attempts in the shootout. He stopped 39 in total, outplaying his counterpart Mathieu Garon for the Lightning.
Stop me if you’ve heard that one before. Garon wasn’t all bad, making 23 of 25 saves in the game, but he allowed two goals from the blue line. Sure, one of the goals was a bit screened, but Garon simply doesn’t work hard enough to fight through screens and look for the puck. He becomes stiff in the net and allows goals he should stop.
Obviously, with Anders Lindback on injured reserve and the inconsistent Cedrick Desjardins looking on from the bench, there obviously isn’t much the Lightning can do to amend the situation at the time. However, the goaltending needs to be addressed in the offseason unless management is confident in Lindback evolving into a number-one goaltender.
Since Cooper took the reins (only two games, I know), it seems goaltending is the only thing holding this team back. The offense was continuously and aggressively on attack for the second straight game, and the defense was pretty good. Defenseman Andrej Sustr is looking like a nice addition, providing a big able body to the back line.
On Tuesday night, the Bolts went down 2-0 after the first two periods, allowing power-play goals to Tomas Kopecky (13) and Greg Rallo (1).
In the third, the Tampa Bay defense clamped down, and the offense amped up. They only allowed five Florida shots in the period, as they fought back to tie the game.
Tom Pyatt (7) tipped in Teddy Purcell’s pass to cut the lead to one at 5:38 in the period, and Alex Killorn (6) got his stick on a Victor Hedman slap shot that bounced off the boards and back to the side of the goal. Killorn’s came with less than ten minutes remaining.
Peter Mueller scored the only goal in the shootout for the Panthers to pick up the third point.
On the night the Lightning’s season-long sellout streak ended, their four-game home winning streak went by the boards as well. Tampa Bay will look forward to another Southeast Division opponent on Thursday night, as the Bolts begin a three-game road trip against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The puck drops at 7 p.m. ET.
Florida, with a season-high three-game winning streak, will not hit the ice again until Saturday, when they host the Washington Capitals at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Trade Deadline Notes:
- The Lightning acquired forward Adam Hall and a 2013 seventh-round pick from the Hurricanes in exchange for defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron on Tuesday. Bergeron was a minus defender, and the Lightning placed Hall on waivers earlier this season, so the move seems to be intended to shore up an ever-increasing stock of draft picks for general manager Steve Yzerman. It’s hard to believe Hall will contribute any more than he did before, but he’s probably glad to be back with his long-time teammates.
- On Monday night, the Lightning inexplicably signed notorious fight loser BJ Crombeen to a two-year extension. Sure, he’s a great “character” guy because he fights a lot, but frankly, he’s a very average player. Meh.
- The Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks also swapped a pair of minor leaguers on Tuesday, as Chicago sent forward Philippe Paradis to the Bolts in exchange for defenseman Kirill Gotovets. Paradis will be assigned to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, and you’ll probably never hear me say his name again.