Nobody likes to lose. It’s obvious, that given a choice, any athlete would rather emerge on the side of victory than that of defeat. Still, there can be some positives drawn from a losing stretch. Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos alluded to it in his post-game comments following his team’s loss to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night (video in links below).
“There’s some adversity and some uncomfortable moments for this group. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. We want to try and work out the kinks as you go towards the playoffs.”
With all the success they’ve had the last two postseasons, maybe they need this reminder of what it’s like to struggle so that they can work it before the games really matter. After all, the last time they went into the playoffs without adversity things didn’t work out that great for them (2018-19).
Whether it’s due to boredom with the regular season or just being worn out from two short offseasons, there is something off with this team. The good news is that there is time for them to sort it out and get ready for the playoffs. There were some signs that they might be emerging from their funk as they did have some solid stretches of play against the Capitals.
If they can start stringing consecutive strong games together, and Ryan McDonagh comes back healthy, they may be able to get to the point where they’re peaking at the right time. In order to get there they’re going to have to start executing their game plan better. There is no need to write this team off until they are eliminated, they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt, but some signs of the team that we’ve seen over the last few scenes would go a long way to easing a bit of worry.
Lightning / NHL News
Lightning lose, 4-3, to Capitals [Raw Charge]
Despite 40 minutes of passable play, the Lightning couldn’t pull off the comeback in D.C. At least the power play scored. And Nick Paul continues to look like a bit of a steal. And we’re one day closer to Ryan McDonagh coming back. See, it’s not all bad.
Carlson nets a pair to lift Capitals to victory [Japers’ Rink]
The view from the other side of the ice. As our friends point out, both teams came into the game scuffling along, but it was the Capitals that were able to find a way to win.
“It wasn’t one of our worst efforts.” Well, that’s one way to find the positive.
“It’s a pivotal one” - While it’s just Game 71 of an 82 games season, Coach Cooper knows that the next game against the Bruins will be a big test physically and mentally for his “boys”.
No more messing around, time for Kucherov to show up [Tampa Bay Times]
This is an...interesting take from Romano. We all know that Kucherov has a tendency to turn the puck over at times. Even when he’s at the top of the game he still turns it over. But to lay blame on Kucherov and pull out +/- as the center piece of your argument is pretty lazy in my opinion.
Crunch fall to Marlies, 4-3, in overtime [Syracuse Crunch]
Another game, another goal for Cole Koepke. Nick Perbix also made his season professional debut.
Is Mathieu Joseph’s ceiling higher than we thought? [Silver Seven Sens]
It seems old friend MattyJo has found his groove in Ottawa with 10 points in 7 games since making the switch.
Joey Burke and Billy Burke have been suspended indefinitely (they won’t be allowed to apply for reinstatement prior to June 1, 2024) and the team was fined $150,000 after finding their conduct violated the league’s Harassment & Abuse / Diversity Policy. The league launched their investigation after receiving a transcript of a WhatsApp conversation that took place on March 6th. No details were released about the transcript, but the league did add that their conduct “runs counter to the OHL’s Onside program which emphasizes the importance of demonstrating respect for women through actions and words.”
AHL player suspended 8 games for using anti-gay language [Buffalo News]
Rochester Americans forward Ben Holmstrom was suspended for eight games by the American Hockey League after he used homophobic language in a game on March 30th against the Utica Comets. The 34-year-old signed a contract with the Amerks in February after beginning the season in the ECHL with the South Carolina Stingrays.