Lightning Take a Gut Punch in Carolina.
By Jake Ricker
The Lightning took on the Carolina Hurricanes last night as they looked to snap their four-game losing streak. Things unfortunately, things did not go according to plan, and the Lightning found themselves in a bigger hole and are now dealing with some significant injuries. Here are a few things we noticed from the loss.
Let's start with a positive. Both Tanner Jeannot and Michael Eyssimont have looked like they are fitting in well with their new team. Jeannot and Eyssimont are playing physically and helping bring a new energy to the team. They have contributed offensively as well. While neither player picked up a point in the game, it did not stop them from creating chances. Eyssimont nearly had his first goal as a Bolt after positioning himself right in front of the net and grabbing a rebound but was denied by Anderson on a good save. The bottom line is that the Lightning wanted to get some new life for the bottom six, and Jeannot and Eyssimont have done exactly that.
The Lightning had one of the worst games of the season, and a large part of that came from the effort. The Lightning were unable to get much going in the first period getting only four shots on goal. The Second period only got worse when the Lightning failed to put up a single shot. Their only good opportunity came off a shorthanded breakaway chance which hit the post.
Instead of digging their heels in the Lightning let things slip further away. As mentioned before, the Lightning had just four shots on goal through 40 minutes. This can largely be attributed to the flat-footed and sloppy play from the Lightning. Credit where credit is due, Carolina played a great game and took advantage of the Lightning's poor play, but they made it easy for the Hurricanes.
The Lightning had to deal with multiple injuries throughout this game, which did not help their cause. With Erik Cernak already out of the lineup, the Lightning were already playing with limited numbers.
Later in the game, Victor Hedman would take a spill and go into the boards awkwardly. Hedman would leave the game but come back for just one shift before leaving again. The extent of Hedmans's injury is still unknown, but losing your best defender is never a good thing. Many have speculated Hedman has been dealing with nagging injuries over the course of the season. Hopefully, at the very least, this will force Hedman to take some time off and get back to 100%
***UPDATE*** According to Kevin Weeks, the Lightning do not expect Hedman to miss any extended time.
The Lightning also lost Nikita Kucherov for a brief period after he took a puck to the face. Luckily Kucherov was able to come back and finish the game. Sergachev then also took a puck off the ankle and barely made it to the bench. Sergachev did not return, forcing the Lightning to play with just four defenders. Again no update has been given on Sergachev, but the good news is, from what we know, he is not expected to miss any time.
Depending on how long Hedman could be out, as well as any other unknown issues with guys like Sergachev or Cernak, the young defenders are going to need to step up. Look towards Perbix and Raddysh to see an increased role over the next few games.
This was nothing but a mess for the Lightning. They looked slow, unengaged, dealt with injuries, and got their doors blown off. There is a lot of work to be done, and the team knows that. The Lightning will have a few home games coming up this week and will have a chance to get their game back before the playoffs begin. As long as they can break out of this funk, which there is no reason to believe they can't, the Lightning will be just fine.
Media’s three stars
1. Jesperi Kotkaniemi (1G, 4A)
2. Tuvo Teravinen (3G)
3. Shayne Gostibehere (1G, 2A)
The Lightning's next game will be against the Philidelphia Flyers on Tuesday, March 7th, at 7:00 PM ET.
Want to start your journalism career by writing about the Tampa Bay Lightning? Send us a message via our contact form located in the upper right-hand corner under the more tab, or send us a message via Twitter to get started.