Lightning Fall Flat Against Panthers.
By Jake Ricker
The Lightning took on the Florida Panthers last night as they looked to come back from the All-Star break with a win. The Lightning were 4-5-1 over their last ten games after the All-Star break, and they looked to break a five-game losing streak over that stretch. Here are a few things we noticed from the loss.
It was clear from the start that the Lightning had some Rust to get off. While shots were only 17-11 at the end of the first, the Panthers had a lot more high-danger chances and more offensive zone time. Ian Cole and Erik Cernak specifically had a hard time keeping up with the Panther's offense. Luckily by the end of the first period, the Lightning did only trail by one.
Despite the slow start, the Lightning did still show signs of life, and Vasilevskiy made some excellent saves to prevent this game from getting out of hand quickly. Unfortunately, things did not get better as the game went on.
The defense was the main issue for the Lightning in this game, which says a lot in a game where almost nothing went right. The Panthers were able to rack up 49 shots on goal, and a majority of them came just a few feet from the net. In fact, all seven goals were scored close to the net as the Lightning failed to control the crease and let the Panthers get into prime scoring spots.
Nick Perbix did make a great play when making a clean poke check to prevent a potential scoring chance. Perbix continues to improve night in and night out and is a real top defenseman in the Lightning lineup. Unfortunately, not much else went right, especially for Eric Cernak, who took two penalties and was a -4 along with his D partner Ian Cole.
Vasilevskiy did not have a great game letting in seven goals, but on many of these, he was left out to dry. He had one bad turnover when attempting to play the puck that led to a goal. Other than that, Vasilevskiy still made 42 saves in this game and was a large reason it wasn't until late in the second period the Lightning were still in this game. There is no doubt Vasilevskiy was too thrilled with this game and will be looking for redemption in his next start.
This was a bad game for the Lightning that can be chalked up to rust. Really nothing went right for the Lightning aside from a few good plays from Vasilevskiy, Kucherov, and Perbix. Even the offense only created a few good opportunities. The Panthers outplayed the Lighting, plain and simple. Luckily the Lightning will have a chance to bounce back quickly against the Sharks on Tuesday night.
1. Tkachuck (2G, 3A)
2. Verhaeghe (2G, 2A)
3. Bobrovsky (1GA)
The Lightning's next game will be against the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, Febuary 7th, at 7:00 PM ET.
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