Special Teams The Difference For Tampa Bay Lightning In Loss

By evanleblanc
USA Today Sports

In the third period, it became evident that the Tampa Bay Lightning were being closely watched/defended by the Columbus Blue Jackets. With this lack of space, the best way for the Lightning to hope to score was the two man advantages that they had in the final frame.

However, the Lightning really failed to set things up in a way that was able to beat Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky, who is a quality goalie, was able to anticipate the passing movement on the PP. To me, Tampa Bay needed to be a bit more direct in their approach.

I think that more shots and traffic would definitely have benefited the Lightning, who seemed to be taking their time before making a decision about what to do with the puck. Sometimes, this creates time for the opposing keeper to read the play as it is developing. It also allows the defense to set up and engage a shot-blocking, lane-clogging penalty kill.

The Blue Jackets were able to do so and more, creating short-handed chances and springing counterattack offense the entire third period. It seemed as though Columbus was determined to continue their winning streak, while Tampa Bay was content to sit back a little and hope the game went to overtime.

The Lightning failed to put the pressure on the Jackets with their PP, thus creating momentum for them when they went to the man advantage. Besides failing to have discipline, Tampa Bay was completely unable to prevent the game from spiraling away from them. They should know that scoring two goals is not usually sufficient for winning a hockey game. I was disappointed with their inability to keep the pressure on with a 2-1 lead after two periods.

To me, this game could easily have gone Tampa’s way. The Victor Hedman broken stick aside, I think that they just did not do enough to come away with the victory.

Columbus knew that special teams was a great way to climb back into a game as well as build momentum, and their skaters were able to come through when it mattered most.

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