Tampa Bay Archives - Page 4 of 24 - SaintPetersBlog

Another penalty in overtime dooms the Lightning in loss to Panthers

The hollow feeling was familiar. Once again, the Tampa Bay Lightning had let an opportunity slip away.

Once again, the game went into overtime. Once again, Tyler Johnson – the hero of the upset of the Chicago Blackhawks – was called for a penalty. Once again, the opponent quickly scored to win a 2-1 game. It was, in other words, just like the team’s loss on Jan. 17 to Anaheim.

This time, the loss was to the Florida Panthers, who got a goal 1:49 into overtime from former Bolt Jonathan Marchessault for the win.

“Obviously, we’re extremely frustrated right now,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “Let’s be honest, that was a long road trip. It was so long we sat through two presidents. But for us to point, we pointed in four of the six games, it’s just a little bit frustrating because you sit here and say, ‘It could have been an unreal trip, but it turns into a mediocre trip just because we got six points out of it.’

“Ultimately, we defended extremely well for most of the game. It’s tough when you’re only scoring one a game. Some of the Grade-A’s we have, we’re not finding a way to bury them. We’ve got to bear down and put these in the back of the net. When you get to overtime and take penalties, you’re pretty much almost giving the game away, and we’ve done that twice now and it’s hurt us.”

The Bolts gave up a shorthanded goal to Jussi Jokinen, another former member of the Lightning. Nikita Kucherov tied the game at one on a power play goal, his 19th goal of the year, but the Lightning couldn’t score again.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 35 of 37 shots in the loss.

“I haven’t been in this spot before,” Cooper said, “but, ultimately, I’m sure every team that hasn’t made the playoffs at the end of the year looks back and says, ‘We left points here, we left points here, we left points here.’ That’s ultimately how it adds up. Now in saying that, we’ve played fairly well here. We’ve just got to find a way to push ourselves over and get the two points that we feel a lot of these games we’ve deserved. But there’s no moral victories here. We ended up losing. We can’t sit here and pat ourselves on the back and say ‘good effort.’ We need to find a way to win games. But going into the break, pick up three out of four points and hopefully a little bit of momentum for Boston in a few days.”

The Lightning is now 2-17-5 this year when scoring two goals or fewer.

The Bolts have the weekend off for the all-star game (except for Victor Hedman and Kucherov, who are playing) before returning to play Tuesday night against Boston.

Earlier Thursday, the Lightning traded Nikita Nesterov to Montreal for defenseman Jonathan Racine and a sixth-round draft pick.

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For Evan Longoria, losing teammates has to be getting old

If the trade of Logan Forsythe by the Tampa Bay Rays was tough for you to see, imagine it through the eyes of Evan Longoria.

He is  31, and his chances are fading away. His team keeps trading todays for tomorrows, and the payroll remains low, and the team’s place is in the cellar. And now, a trusted comrade is bound for Los Angeles, following the departure of so many others. David Price and Ben Zobrist and James Shields and Carl Crawford and B.J. Upton and the rest of them.

And so you have to wonder: Are the Rays running out of time? Is Longoria?

Perhaps that is why it didn’t sit well with Longo when the team turned loose of Forsythe to obtain the Dodgers’ Jose De Leon.

“I’m surprised and upset at losing a player, clubhouse presence and friend like Logan,” Longoria told the Tampa Bay Times. “He’s a rare player.”

For the Rays, it’s the only way to keep afloat. The farm system hasn’t done well, and there is no money for the top free agents. So the only way the Rays can survive is to trade veterans, and their high paychecks, for younger players.

But that doesn’t mean it’s always a good solution for the players, who watch teammates leave.

And Longo. The guy in the third row?

He knows just how you feel.

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Lightning star Tyler Johnson scores back-to-back goals to lead win

One game after losing to one of the worst teams in the National Hockey League, the Tampa Bay Lightning beat one of the best.

The Lightning, still struggling in its effort to make the playoffs, came from behind to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 Tuesday night. Coming one game after losing to Arizona, it was a needed win.

“This is desperation mode for us,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “This was a winnable hockey game. A lot of good things came out of tonight.”

One of those good things was the play of Tyler Johnson, who gave the Bolts the lead when he scored two goals in 30 seconds in the third period. Brian Boyle, Nikita Nesterov and Nikita Kucherov all scored for the Bolts as well.

“Johnny (Johnson) been playing hard,” Cooper said. “We had a passion to go and win this game. It was led by Tyler Johnson. It was big.”

Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy won for the first time in seven games. He stopped 34 shots in an excellent outing.

“Vasy gave us a lot of life,” Cooper said.

The Bolts play at Florida on Thursday night to complete a six-game road trip. They are home next Tuesday night against Boston.

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Tampa Bay Rays trade Logan Forsythe for young Dodger pitcher

The Tampa Bay Rays have traded one of their steadiest, most dependable players.

For him, they got a hunk of potential.

Good trade? Bad trade? For the Rays, sending second baseman Logan Forsythe (519 major-league hits) to the Dodgers for 24-year pitcher Jose De Leon was a trade the team had to make. The reasons? Last place. High salary. The constant need for lively arms.

Forsythe, 30, was scheduled to make $5,750,000 this season.

In De Leon, the Rays are getting a highly rated prospect (third on the list of Dodgers’ prospects). De Leon was called up at the end of last season and had a 2-0 record, even though his ERA was a high 6.35. De Leon was 7-1 in AAA last year, posting a 2.61 ERA across 86.1 innings.

The Rays could consider moving infielder Brad Miller to second base.

The Rays also signed free agent pitcher Shawn Tolleson, a one-time closer for the Rangers.

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Tampa Bay Lightning embarrassed by a bad Phoenix Coyotes team

What does it say about a team when it is blasted by the next-to-worst team in the league?

No, the Tampa Bay Lightning isn’t the worst team. But it’s far from good, too. No one would argue it after a 5-3 blasting at the hands at the point-at-and-laugh Phoenix Coyotes. Phoenix was near the bottom of the league in most statistics, including 25th on the power play and 27th on the penalty kill.

Against the Lightning, however, Phoenix was an explosive team, taking a 2-0 lead and adding three goals in the second period. Tampa Bay scored the last two goals of the game to make it close.

“It’s a low point,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “Not because we lost, but we didn’t play to our capabilities in the first two period. You can say what you want about the third, but they had a 5-1 lead. I’m sure they sat back a little bit.”

Ben Bishop started for the Lightning, but he was pulled after the second in favor of Andrei Vasilevskiy.

Particularly disappointing was the Bolts failing to convert on a four-minute power play in the first period.

“That was a big moment for us, no doubt. Our power play’s been pretty good all year,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “But it wasn’t that one, it was the one we got a minute and a half into the game, and we weren’t working. And it kind of set the tone for the way that first period was going. It kind of sucked a little momentum out of us, and then all of a sudden it’s 2-0 and now we’re chasing the game. Give them a little credit: The boys battle back and make it 2-1 and then we have a big moment there, we come out and have a great start to the second and we do nothing with the power play. They did something with there’s, and that was it.”

 The Bolts now travel to Chicago to face the Blackhawks.

“That’s what’s tough because your margin for error is . . . there is none,” Cooper said. “We can sit here and say we deserved points out of those games, the bottom line is we didn’t get them. So now you’ve got to get the points the next night, and we didn’t deserve points tonight. We’re not in a position where we’re playing games and we’re stealing points. We have to work for everything we’re getting. Sometimes we’re working and not getting them, but it can’t work the way we did tonight in the first couple periods.”

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Tampa Bay area led state in STEM job openings in December

Looking for a STEM job? The Tampa Bay region is might just be the place to be.

The Tampa area led the state in demand for high-skill, high-wage STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) occupations in December. The area had 14,673 openings in December, according to the Governor’s Office.

The region also led the state in job demand during the one-month period, with 45,632 job openings.

“Tampa businesses created 29,100 new jobs in 2016 and the area remains first in the state for online job demand and job openings in high-wage STEM occupations. This is great news for Tampa families,” said Gov. Rick Scott in a statement. “We want Florida to become the top destination for business growth and new opportunities, and we will continue to do all we can to help Florida compete in the global economy.”

The Tampa area had an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent in December, slightly below the statewide unemployment rate of 4.9 percent. Scott touted statewide job gains in the past year, boasting boasting Florida businesses created 237,300 private sector jobs in 2016.

“Over the last six years, we’ve worked each day to make it easier for job creators to invest and create new opportunities in our state, and we will continue to do everything we can to help Florida out compete other locations as the best place for jobs,” he said.

Scott typically makes the monthly jobs announcement during a press conference, but the Naples Republican was in Washington, D.C. on Friday for the inauguration of Donald Trump.

“Today, as we proudly welcome a new president who will make job creation a top priority across our nation, we stand ready to fight for another great year of economic growth in Florida,” he said.

According to the Department of Economic Opportunity, Florida’s job growth has exceeded the nation’s rate since 2012. The agency reported December was the 77th consecutive month with “positive over-the-year growth.”

The leisure and hospitality industry continues to make the most gains, growing by 4.6 percent year-over-year.

“With more than 250,000 job openings across the state and more than 1.25 million new private-sector jobs created in the last six years, it’s clear Florida is a great place to find a good job,” said Cissy Proctor, the executive director of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, in a statement. “Our low unemployment rate and strong record of job creation prove Florida is a great state to do business.”

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Latest Lightning loss makes you wonder about their goaltender

Here’s something for the Tampa Bay Lightning to consider as they go nowhere.

What if Andrei Vasilevskiy isn’t the future?

Vasilevskiy lost his sixth consecutive start Thursday night as the Bolts fell 2-1 to the San Jose Sharks. With the loss, the Lightning fell to 21-21-5 on the season. Vasilevskiy fell to 10-11-2. He has now given up 24 goals in his last six starts.

Tampa Bay has now lost 12 of its last 14 road games.

For the Bolts, the plan all along was that Vasilevskiy would be the future, and that the team would barter starting goaltender Ben Bishop somewhere along the way. But Vasilevskiy’s recent skid has called all of that into question.

The Sharks got goals from Ryan Carpenter and Logan Couture in the win. The Bolts’ goal came on a highlight-reel power play from Jonathan Drouin.

Still, it was not enough to pull out the win for Tampa Bay, which plays at Arizona Saturday night.

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Rays announce start times, single-admission doubleheader

Now, here’s a concept for you.

How about twice the Rays for the price?

On Saturday, June 10, the Tampa Bay Rays will play the Oakland A’s in a single-admission doubleheader. It will be Major League Baseball’s first scheduled doubleheader since July 16, 2011, when the A’s hosted the Los Angeles Angels, and only the second scheduled doubleheader in the last two decades.

The Rays also announced their game times for the upcoming season, which opens on Sunday, April 2, when the team plays host to the New York Yankees.

Monday through Friday home games begin at 7:10 p.m. With select matinee games throughout the season. Saturday games are scheduled for either 6:10 p.m. or 4:10 p.m., with Sunday games scheduled for 1:10 p.m.

This will be the team’s third season under manager Kevin Cash.

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Struggling Lightning loses quickly to Ducks in overtime

Overtime hockey can be cruel. Quick, too.

The Anaheim Ducks, who have struggled in overtime for most of the season, took only 54 seconds to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in overtime Tuesday night. The Ducks’ winning goal came only four seconds after Tyler Johnson was called for hooking.

The Bolts had hoped to win again behind goaltender Ben Bishop, who had been excellent in his two wins since coming off an injury. Bishop stopped 19 of 21 shots.

The Lightning scored first on a goal by Valtteri Filppula. Twenty-one seconds later, however, the Ducks tied the score on a shot by Ryan Getzlaf.

The winner was scored for Rickard Rakell.

The Lightning has won two games in a row only once since Nov. 19.

Tampa Bay plays against San Jose Thursday.

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Bucs’ Vernon Hargreaves III makes NFL All-Rookie team

The charmed life of Vernon Hargreaves III added another chapter Tuesday.

Hargreaves, a graduate of Wharton High School in Tampa and the University of Florida, was named ot the NFL all-rookie team. He was the 11th overall pick of the Tampa Bay Bucs.

Hargreaves had only one interception, but he started most of the year in a secondary that got better as the season went along.

Hargreaves started all 16 games, recording 76 tackles, three for loss, nine passes defensed, one interception and one forced fumble. He is only the fifth Buccaneers rookie defensive back to start all 16 games, joining Johnthan Banks, Mark Barron, Tanard Jackson and Rod Jones. His nine passes defensed are the most by a Buccaneers rookie defensive back since Barron had 10 in 2012 and the most for a Buccaneers rookie cornerback since E.J. Biggers had 11 in 2010. This season, Hargreaves tied for the seventh-most passes defensed among NFL rookies.

Hargreaves is the first Buccaneers defensive back to be selected to the PFWA All-Rookie team since 2012 (Barron) and the first cornerback to earn the distinction since Donnie Abraham in 1996.

Hargreaves was familiar with other members of the secondary on the all-rookie team. Former Florida teammate Keanu Neal (Falcons) and former FSU rival Jalen Ramsey (Jaguars) both made it.

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