Game 73: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New York Islanders
The Tampa Bay Lightning continued the losing streak to three in tonight's game against the New York Islanders, falling 5-2.
Against the Islanders, who entered the game seated second to last in the Eastern Conference, the Lightning fell apart in another night of losing to a team they should have beat. It's the same story as before, but it's getting worse. It's the one we weren't hoping to repeat, and certainly the story we weren't wanting to bring home.
Martin St. Louis called it a lack of energy, saying that overall the team was unable to execute, that they were waiting. The absence of both mental and physical energy led to another dismal night of play.
And in a night where the most memorable event was adding to the pile of shorthanded goals, the league-leading 15 short-handed goals against for the season, it's becoming difficult to maintain faith in the team who at the beginning of the season, was able to fight their way to the top of the Conference.
In the first period, the Bolts opened up the scoring quickly, with Nate Thompson's goal one minute into the period.
Despite the goal, the Bolts had trouble establishing themselves early in the game, as the Bolts were forced onto a penalty kill less than a minute later.
Eight minutes into the game, Andrew MacDonald's tripping penalty on Steven Stamkos gave the Bolts a power play opportunity, but the man advantage was diminished when St. Louis' tripping penalty in the neutral zone, leading to a 4-on-4. The Isles found the net in the closing seconds of the power play, when Milan Jurcina sent the puck in from the blue line to Josh Bailey, who found the net against Roloson to even the score at one.
The problems were evident from the first period. The Bolts finished the first with only a quarter of the faceoff wins, and trailing shots in goal 11-9, though the bulk of those shots were taken in the closing moments of the period.
"This is a fast team. They caught us," St. Louis said afterwards.
The Islanders gained the two point lead in the second period, and continued the onslaught into the third with shorthanded goal from Frans Nielsen. Nielsen rocketed the puck from the left circle past Roloson to raise the score 4-1 in eight minutes to the period.
The Lightning were able to lower the deficit on the power play with a goal from Dominic Moore, assisted by Sean Bergenheim and Thompson, but fell again when Michael Grabner raised the score to five on the empty-netted shorthanded goal.
It's the same thing that has happened all season, but in the waiting game, the Lightning don't win. Injuries, complacency, adversity. Waiting for things to come together doesn't work.
"It's adversity right now, we're being tested," said St Louis. "Each and every one of us has to fight through that test."
Up Next: The Lightning (39-23-11) will continue the home stand on Friday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. If you aren't in attendance, follow the game along with Raw Charge by stopping in at the game thread.
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