It was another slow start for Jon Cooper’s squad on Thursday night as the Tampa Bay Lightning got itself in a whole early and were not able to overcome a two goal deficit.
The Bolts played with fire early and often in the first period as two turnovers in the offensive zone lead directly to two Calgary Flames goals. It turns out that it would be enough to take care of a Lightning team that looked listless at times.
Although Flames’ goalie Karri Ramo gave up rebounds, he got lucky as the puck usually ended up bouncing out of reach of a Lightning player. Ramo also created his own luck as he stood tall in the net on some decent chances by the Bolts. The Flames clogged up the neutral zone, blocked shots and protected hockey’s most dangerous lead. It wasn’t until the final two minutes that the game broke open as Curtis Glencross added a power play goal and the empty netter.
The Lightning started slow yet again and it’s a disconcerting trend that the Bolts have had lately as they don’t seem to start well of late and have fallen behind in their last few games but were able to pull it out.
“Players in the room have to take a little accountability for themselves. They need to be able to show up ready to play,” Cooper said. “You don’t want to shorten a game down to forty minutes. It’s a 7:30 start not an 8:10 start.”
Lightning Captain Steven Stamkos echoed his coach’s sentiments as well.
“We’re not playing the way we are capable. Our game is so inconsistent. I think we just got ahead of ourselves. It’s apparently a mental thing, just being prepared to play.”
With the playoffs starting soon, the Lightning need to break this habit of “slow starts” as they are only guaranteed four games each round and coming from behind is a lot harder in the postseason.