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NHL Tampa Bay Lightning

Defense Collapses Late as Tampa Bay Lightning Fall Again to Washington Capitals

Kim Klement – USA TODAY Sports

For the second time this season, the Tampa Bay Lightning fell victim to late game heroics from the Washington Capitals. This time it was a goal from Eric Fehr with just 51.5 seconds to play in regulation, that broke a 3-3 tie and led the Capitals to a 4-3 win over Tampa Bay. The game was a heartbreaker for the Lightning who have now lost three-straight games on home ice.

With starting goaltender Ben Bishop on injured reserve, the Lightning have turned to backup Anders Lindback who hasn’t been all that impressive in the first couple starts. Lindback has however, given the Lightning chances to win games late, but a turnover-plagued defense has prevented it.

It was the same story for Tampa Bay on Thursday against Washington as the Lightning managed to turn the puck over 16 times, most of which led to dangerous scoring chances. Unfortunately at the very end of regulation, the turnovers ended up costing the Lightning as the Capitals took advantage of a steal and turned it into the winning goal. After battling back from a 3-1 deficit earlier in the game, the Lightning were left once again questioning their ability to lock games down in the final minutes.

Although the Lightning continue to play good overall hockey, it is games like these that could end up haunting Tampa Bay as they look for extra points in the standings later on in the season.  As the team embarks on another three-game roadtrip it will be vital for the Lightning to get back to fundamental defense and hopefully have key injured players return to the lineup.

Connor Akeman is a Tampa Bay Lightning and NHL writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and join his Google network.