Lightning Round: 7-0 loss in the eyes of the Lightning’s coaches and players

The Bolts are down 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Final ahead of two home games

Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Lightning suffered probably the most embarrassing and hopeless loss in their franchise playoff history. The Colorado Avalanche trounced the Bolts, scoring seven unanswered goals in Game 2. The Lightning was completely outplayed at 5-on-5, the defence were destroyed, leaving Andrei Vasilevskiy all alone against the relentless Avs’ offence. The Lightning’s power play was lifeless and the team’s leader in points Nikita Kucherov finished the game with zero shots on goal. With this victory, Colorado are up 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Final [Raw Charge]

Usually, even in blowouts, you can point to one or two players on a team and say that they had a good game. It might be the guy who only played 7 minutes, but there is usually at least one. That was not the case in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 7-0 loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Game Two of the Stanley Cup Final. It was truly a team effort in the loss as they were outclassed at every turn by the home team. Valeri Nichushkin and Cale Makar scored twice while Darren Helm, Josh Manson, and Andre Burakovsky added one goal a piece for the Avalanche. Darcy Kuemper had an easy 16-save shutout while Andrei Vasilevskiy set a new career-high in goals allowed with 7 on 30 shots faced.

It’s not the first time this postseason, when Tampa Bay find themselves in these conditions. They were already trailing 2-0 in the series against the New York Rangers in the previous round, but managed to turn the things in their favor, eventually winning the series 4-2.

This time, however, the things look completely different. Hoping that Colorado will crumble is very naive. Yesterday, the Avs scored seven goals even without their biggest stars Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog or Mikko Rantanen scoring a single goal. The Avs also will likely get their second line center back, when the series move to Tampa Bay, as Nazem Kadri has been already skating with the team in the past days.

This playoff run for the Lightning, however, was mostly about resilience and getting over themselves. They were defeated 5-0 in the opening game against the Toronto Maple Leafs,  and were trailing 2-0 in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Rangers, but none of that broke them. This is what Steven Stamkos, the Lightning’s captain, talked about after this game too [Sportsnet]

“You guys all saw what happened tonight. That’s totally not acceptable,” Stamkos said, “Especially at this time of year.

“Listen, people are gonna be watching this game tonight and probably think the series is over. But our group, we’re a very resilient group.

“Whether it’s 1-0 or 7-0 or 10-0, it’s a loss in the playoffs — and you gotta move on. We’ve got to man up, as a team and as a person. Our team is going to do that. Let’s get back home in front of our fans, and let’s see what we’re made of.”

Jon Cooper also addressed questions why he didn’t pull off Vasilevskiy from the net, saying that he gives them best chance to win a hockey game. Cooper pulled Vasilevskiy only once previously in the postseason — against the Washington Capitals in the 2018 Eastern Conference final.

Nick Paul also talked about confidence in their group, learning from the loss: “We’re going to go back home, come together as a group, and figure things out. We’re going to be a much better team next game.”

The Lightning will face the Avalanche in Game 3 at Amalie Arena on Monday at 8:00 PM EST.

Hockey News

The Washington Capitals player Nicklas Backstrom has underwent a left hip resurfacing surgery on Friday. There’s no timetable for his return yet.

As it was noted yesterday by Frank Seravalli, Backstrom might not be able to return to the NHL due to seriousness of this surgery.

According to Kevin Weekes, the Edmonton Oilers are close to re-signing their head coach Jay Woodcroft to a three-year deal.

The New Jersey Devils’ Jesper Bratt has been linked to some trade rumours ahead of the offseason.