The Tampa Bay Lightning have been accused of playing with “poor effort” in recent games, wasting minutes on the ice and not playing to the fullest of their abilities. Coach Guy Boucher has tried combating this fact by making the Lightning work extra hard in practices, but it doesn’t appear that it’s making much of a difference. In tonight’s game against the New Jersey Devils, the Lightning looked as sloppy as ever, falling behind early and losing 4-2.
The Lightning started off the game slow, getting outscored 10-3 in the first period. They managed to hold the Devils scoreless, but they weren’t so lucky in the second period. The Bolts allowed three quick goals in the second, letting up one shorthanded(-ish) goal and two power play goals. They played a large portion of the period down in men, as they had a total of four penalties, but they did manage to kill a long 5-on-3 at one point to salvage some self respect.
In the third period, the Bolts decided to show up and make things interesting. Eight minutes into the period, Martin St. Louis got Tampa Bay on the board with a goal, and Ryan Shannon made it a one-goal game two minutes later. They put pressure on the Devils, outscoring them 10-4 in the final period, but it was simply too little too late. As they rushed to tie the game late in the period, the puck took a bad bounce on Dwayne Roloson behind the net, and he was forced under pressure to knock it in front of the goal with his glove. Ryan Carter was waiting right there, and he put the Devils ahead for good with an empty net goal.
It was another sloppy, disappointing game from the Lightning. They had eight penalties in total, and it wasn’t just their defense that was lacking; they couldn’t get their offense going either, and they spent a lot of time in their own zone. Something needs to give, and it needs to happen soon.
The Bolts are now 9-8-2, and 9 out of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference are ahead of them in the standings. Their next game will be Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leaves (10-7-2).
To join in the conversation about this game and talk with fellow fans, check out the game coverage and recap over at SB Nation’s blog for the Lightning, Raw Charge.