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NHL Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning See Playoff Hopes Dwindle

New York Islanders Celebrate Goal

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

It sounds all too familiar, but defensive miscues cost the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 4-2 loss to the New York Islanders.

Goaltender Ben Bishop allowed a softie to Matt Martin, which ended up being the game-winner. However, early turnovers by forwards Nate Thompson and Tom Pyatt put Tampa Bay behind the eight ball. This marked the teams first regulation loss under new head coach Jon Cooper.

Unfortunately, tonight brought Lightning fans back to reality following a nice winning streak. No, the game didn’t smash all playoff hopes, but it spotlighted any glaring weaknesses.

The Lightning were sluggish for the entire first period. However, once they found their legs, things kicked into high gear, with both teams trading scores until late.

Cooper spoke about those giveaways following the game, saying the team “must get better at coming out of the defensive zone clean”. They didn’t do that tonight and it proved costly.

Young defenseman Victor Hedman missed this game after suffering a lower-body injury during last Thursday’s game in Carolina. He’s also expected to sit out tonight so Matt Taormina was called up from AHL Syracuse.

Lightning fans can enjoy what’s left of this season, as it’s looking more and more likely their team will miss the postseason yet again. That doesn’t mean we’re giving up, but instead facing reality.

Either way, the Lightning must come prepared to play tonight against the Washington Capitals. Game time is 7 p.m. Ready or not, this is crunch time for Tampa Bay.

 

Lauren Burg is a Tampa Bay Lightning and NHL writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter, like her on Facebook and join her Google network.