The Tampa Bay Lightning lost again. This time, 5-1 to the New York Islanders swiftly erasing the goodwill the team built with an impressive 7-1 win over the Sharks on Saturday. As has been the case all year, the Lightning played relatively well but did not get a result that reflected that.
Neither team scored in the first period. The Isles opened up a 2-0 lead in the second behind goals from Ross Johnston and Josh Bailey. Steven Stamkos cut the lead in half before the end of the period but that would be the only goal of the game for the Bolts.
In the third, the Lightning dominated the flow of the game but Brock Nelson scored a goal against the run of play to make it 3-1. A few minutes later, Victor Hedman scored but the goal was overturned correctly for an obvious offsides. From there, the Lightning fell apart and gave up consecutive goals to Nelson and Anders Lee to seal the deal.
The Lightning led in shots and expected goals, still lost. You know the drill.
I’m so tired of watching and writing about these types of games. At some point, this team has to get some saves. It doesn’t really matter what you do, if you’re giving up three goals above expected, you’re not winning. This game was unique in that the offense also underperformed making it doubly frustrating.
All the same narratives will come out after this kind of loss. People will blame the coach. People will blame the skater defense. Luke Schenn will get the scapegoat treatment for a poor play on the third goal. And yes, there’s plenty of blame to be shared for these kinds of losses. But ultimately, what’s happening right now is that every mistake ends up in the back of the net. And yes, it would be nice if they reduced the mistakes. But also, the goalies have to do something.
Andrei Vasilevskiy was the star Saturday night putting up his best game of the season. Tonight, Curtis McElhinney had his worst game of the season. Hopefully, Vasy can get the team back on track tomorrow. Because this season is wearing on everyone. We’re over a third of the way into the season now and that’s long enough for everyone to be concerned about where this team will be come spring.
There weren’t any.