Lightning's Defensive Issues Continue in 5-4 OT Loss to the Penguins.
By Jake Ricker
The Lightning took on the Pittsburg Penguins last night as they looked to bounce back from a rough week of games. The Lightning also called up Darren Raddysh, who would slot in for Zach Bogosian. Here are a few things we noticed from the overtime loss.
The Lightning have had some defensive issues for the past few games, and tonight was no different. Tonight's main issue was keeping the Penguins in front of them. Multiple times in tonight's game, the Penguins were able to get behind the defense for a quick break or a breakaway.
For example Darren Raddysh was beaten one-on-one by Jason Zucker late in the second period that lead to a Penguins goal. Zucker used his stregth and strong armed his away around Raddysh with realive ease. Raddysh is still a young defenseman, but his inexperience showed on this one. The Lightning also gave up a breakaway after a penalty kill and failed to be aware of the situation letting a Penguins player get behind the defense and take a free shot on Vasilevskiy.
Erik Cernak was also shaken up in this game which does not help the Lightning. Their defense has been the main issue in these last few games, and it needs to get better. It will be interesting to see if JBB looks to address this problem at the deadline.
One bright spot in this game was the special teams. The Lightning went 5/5 on the penalty kill and 2/5 on the power play. Starting with the penalty kill, the Lightning did a great job of limiting passes and keeping the Penguin's shots from the outside. They even did all this while dealing with multiple broken sticks!
As for the Power play, the Lightning were able to capitalize on a 5-on-3 (late but still scored). And even though they were unable to capitalize in latter power plays, they had good chances and, most importantly, shots on goal. Keep in mind the Lightning rank 2nd in the league at 25.9% when it comes to the power play and were able to find some success tonight.
Stamkos played well overall and even had a goal in tonight's game. With that said, we had to bring up that for the second time, Stamkos blew a tire which lead to the penguins getting a great opportunity and capitalized it. To be fair, the first time, he was hooked, and this isn't a major issue, but we are saying the captain might want to get some new skate blades!
The Lightning got a point when they probably didn't deserve one. While the Lightning have been in a slump as of late, they did show some signs of improvement. The Defense is still the number one issue and is something that needs to be addressed.
Hopefully, Erik Cernak's injury is minor, and he won't miss too many games. As long as the Lightning are able to break out of this slump before playoff time, and it seems they are making strides to do that, there should be no reason to worry. Especially considering they still sit comfortably in a playoff spot.
Media’s three stars
1. Petry (2G)
2. Carter (2A)
3. Point (1G, 1A)
Our three stars
1. Petry (2G)
2. Point (1G, 1A)
3. Carter (2A)
The Lightning's next game will be against the Buffalo Sabers on Saturday, March 4th, at 12:30 PM ET.
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