The Tampa Bay Lightning know the pressure they’re under. They’ve felt it going on 11 month and for years before that. They know what’s at stake. At this stage in the regular season, when the playoff race is all but closed up, including their opponent (71% chance it’s Toronto), mistakes are allowed to happen.
That’s what I saw the first half of Tuesday night’s game against the Boston Bruins. The Lightning played a good second half, but you really do need to be on top of things at all times against the best teams. And as much as we hate to see it, the Bruins are mostly likely going to be the top team in the regular season.
The Lightning will repeat this in the post-game and practice clips I’m going to link at the bottom here, but the most recent game was a good teaching tool and a reminder for where they need to be come April.
Tonight, the Montreal Canadiens are a hard-working team that uses relentlessness to make up for their lack of talent. This game will be a good confidence builder for the Lightning if they can get it right and smother a team like Montreal for a full game. Because they’re going to have to do it on Saturday in Boston — and early next week in Toronto.
Forget the losses of these past weeks. Reset, and gear into playoff mode. It’s time.
- One of the few areas in the salary capped hockey world where you can win a free wallet is through scouting. Within the CHL, Lauren has been paying attention to all the overagers and has picked out six that the Lightning should jump on. These names will be coming up as their teams bow out from their regular seasons and playoffs. It’ll be good to see if the Lightning can get a hold of some of them.
- I really liked Acha’s Lightning Round from yesterday. She spoke about how close Anthony Cirelli is to getting a Selke nomination (or even win). Because it’s a PHWA award, he’s probably going to have to lead the Lightning in points on a punctured lung and broken hip before he gets the recognition he deserves. (Please, don’t actually do that, Tony).
- Here is Bryan Burns’ 3 Things from the Bruins game. He mostly talked about the bounces that went the wrong way and what the Lightning can do to make their own luck.
And as promised, here is Barclay Goodrow and Alex Killorn talking about what specifically in the Boston game the team fell short on and have paid attention to in their debrief. Goodrow talked about the first half of the game being too careless. Killorn mentioned the area of the game they want to emulate.
“I think probably the first half of the game, we would have liked to be a little more structured and stronger defensively in our end. Vasy made some big saves to bail us out and keep it a close game.” #BOSvsTBL | Barclay Goodrow: pic.twitter.com/NzLqpTWl8D— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) March 4, 2020
“Those last five minutes of the second period [last night] are how we have to start games. We’re in our own building. We kind of have to have a different attitude coming into games.”— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) March 4, 2020
Practice day | Alex Killorn: pic.twitter.com/oaAQce4N8E
The team did have a longer than normal team meeting after practice before interviews. Coop brushed it aside quickly, going into how Boston dictated the game rather than the Lightning making it about how they want to play. In a playoff series with home ice it’s key to keep that control. He and Victor Hedman shared the team’s sentiment that they need to take what they learned and move forward with that wisdom.
“It’s good we’re playing these teams that have something to play for.” Except for Detroit, obviously.
“The boys competed hard [in practice] and [worked on] stuff we have to do down the stretch here if we want to get ourselves into playoffs and be playoff ready.”— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) March 4, 2020
Practice day | Jon Cooper: pic.twitter.com/iHRfIrAvKl