The fact that Tampa Bay finally took a home loss in regulation on Thursday was not the issue for the Lightning.
It was how it all went down.
The Lightning, who host the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, saw Chicago rookie Connor Bedard turn in his best career performance in just over one period of play as the Blackhawks stormed back from two early deficits in a 5-3 win.
Bedard, 18, posted two goals and two assists for a 4-2 lead that Tampa Bay could not overcome.
“Just egregious turnovers, lack of execution,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “In the end, we just gave them freebies. This is a tough league to win in if you’re just going to continue to do that. …
“If there was one disappointing part to the game, it was our lack of pushback in the last two periods. That was tough.”
Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov notched his team-leading 11th goal, giving him five tallies in four games.
Anthony Cirelli and Steven Stamkos each scored with a one-man advantage — Cirelli on the Lightning’s first power play, Stamkos with his team’s goaltender pulled late in the contest.
However, turnovers were persistent.
“In here as a group, we know we’ve got to be better and we know we can’t be turning the puck over,” Cirelli said. “You see what happens off turnovers. The other team comes at you and they capitalize on their chances. That’s on us, and we’ve got to be better in that regard.”
Toward the end of a stretch of five out of six games on the road, Carolina will complete a Sunshine State back-to-back on Saturday. On Friday in Sunrise, Fla., the Hurricanes trailed the Panthers just 3-2 entering the third period. In the last 20 minutes, Carolina yielded two goals and managed just seven shots, winding up with a 5-2 defeat.
It was Carolina’s first visit to Florida since May 24, when Panthers playoff star Matthew Tkachuk scored the Eastern Conference finals-clinching goal with 4.9 seconds left in regulation in Game 4.
The Hurricanes are 3-2-0 in the six-game, road-heavy schedule that ends in Tampa.
While 4-0-0 on home ice, Carolina is 4-6-0 on the road. Still, the Hurricanes hold second place in the Metropolitan Division behind the New York Rangers.
After his team’s loss to Florida, coach Rod Brind’Amour said the Hurricanes will need a much better effort from the top guys in their third back-to-back set thus far.
“They were good, we were bad — that combination’s not good,” the sixth-year Carolina coach said. “That’s not going to work. I think you’ve got to give them credit. They played exactly how they want to. We never, ever — nothing — got going.
“Our top guys were not very good tonight. You’re not going to win if they’re not at least matching the other team’s top guys. You watch (Florida’s) top guys, they were all over it. I don’t know where our top guys were.”
Replied Brind’Amour regarding the idea of getting revenge against the Panthers after the playoff sweep nearly six months ago: “I don’t give a (darn) about last year. That had nothing to do with tonight. We’re trying to get any kind of a semblance of a season going.”
–Field Level Media
With Major League Baseball’s winter meetings underway in Nashville, the Mariners and Braves announced a five-player trade late Sunday night that sends three players to Atlanta and a pair of…
Jordan Love completed 25 of 36 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns, and the Green Bay Packers held on for a 27-19 win over the visiting Kansas City Chiefs…
Detroit Lions standout center Frank Ragnow will undergo an MRI exam on his left knee on Monday. The two-time Pro Bowl selection was injured in the second quarter of Sunday’s…
Jordan Love, Packers hold off Chiefs for 3rd straight win
Lions C Frank Ragnow (knee) to undergo MRI exam
Top 25 roundup: Southern stuns No. 21 Mississippi State
NHL roundup: Brad Marchand’s hat trick rallies Bruins past Jackets