Tampa Bay Archives - Page 6 of 24 - SaintPetersBlog

This time, Lightning loses in overtime after a comeback

One step up, one step back.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, one night after one of their most impressive overtime victories over Montreal, had a second straight comeback blunted in an overtime loss to Toronto. This time, they fell to the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2.

The Bolts came from a 2-0 deficit to tie Thursday night’s game, but lost when Valterri Filppula was called for goaltender interference, setting up the team’s winning power play. Nazem Kadri scored from in-close for the winner.

“I have zero idea what Fil could have done,” Bolts’ coach Jon Cooper said. “The only reason he went into the goalie was he was hooked and pushed.”

The Maple Leafs got the first-ever NHL win from Antoine Bibeau, who stopped 25 shots.

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 32 shots for Tampa Bay in the loss.

After Toronto took an early 2-0 lead, the Bolts got back into the game on goals from Brian Boyle and Ondrej Palat. However, they stopped scoring afterward.

“We stopped doing what got us back into the game,” Cooper said.

Tampa Bay plays Carolina Saturday night.

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Bucs think that Carolina’s Cam Newton remains a star in the NFL

Last year, he was the league MVP.

His team won 15 times. He threw for 35 touchdowns. A year ago, Cam Newton was golden.

This year, not so much. This year, Newton’s Carolina Panthers team has won six times. His team has been eliminted from the playoffs. He’s thrown for 15 scores.

Ah, but to the Tampa Bay Bucs, Newton is still Newton.

“I don’t think you ever really appreciate how big he is,” said Bucs’ coach Dirk Koetter. “Jameis (Winston) is a big man, Cam dwarfs Jameis. Cam is a big, big man and a tremendous athlete.

“He can sit there in the pocket. It’s hard to knock him down, even if you get there. He has a great arm, really throws the deep ball well and if you don’t do a great job of keeping him in the pocket, he’s capable – I’ve been on the wrong side of it – he’s capable of beating you with your legs, either on scramble runs or designed runs. Now, they haven’t been doing quite as many designed runs, but ask any defensive coach or player in the league and a quarterback who can beat you both ways is one of the most difficult things to face.”

Defensive coordinator Mike Smith says there is still one element to defending Newton…late nights.

“Lots of sleepless nights (laughter),” Smith said. “I’ve had lots of them in years past and this week as well. He’s a unique athlete. He’s 6’5”, 260 pounds, he’s hard to get down.

“You say, ‘Okay, you’re going to put a spy on him,’ well, who’re you going to spy him with? Spy him with a guy that runs as fast as him, he’s going to be six or seven inches shorter and 45, 50, or 60 pounds less than him. So, it’s a dynamic that you have to account for and you have to change it up, you can’t do it the same way. He’s a guy that is not running the ball as much, but his per average is still good on his rush attempts. You have to account for the quarterback in this offense and I think (Carolina Offensive Coordinator) Mike Shula does a great job, in terms of putting Cam in situations where he can succeed and put a lot of stress on the defense.”

 Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy says that Newton is still a star, even in last place.

“Cam is Cam,” McCoy said. “You don’t win MVP for not being great at what you do. People kill me sometimes with expecting everything to be identical as the year before. This is the best players in the world. Year in and year out, it’s hard to be the same. So, you are going to have up and down seasons. Is Cam still the same guy? Yeah, he is. He didn’t have the season he had last year. He won MVP last year, so if he doesn’t win MVP this year, then that means he didn’t have the same season, you know? But, he’s still Cam, man. In my opinion, he’s still the best escape artist because of his size, speed, his agility, he can make all the throws and if you let him get on a roll, he will kill you. He loves the game. I think sometimes people confuse his passion for anger or being frustrated.

“He’s just very passionate. If you want to win when things are not going your way, you get upset because you want to win. So, he’s just a very passionate guy and I respect him for that.”

 McCoy said the NFL needs Newton’s personality.

“I hate using the word flamboyant, but he is just very outgoing and is very animated and he is a character, but you need characters. Even how he dresses, his style, all of that, you need that in this league,” McCoy said. “In the NBA, NHL, all these other leagues, you need guys like Cam Newton. He’s a generous guy too man. The kids love him. He is giving out footballs when they score and stuff. He’s one of those guys that he loves the game so much that once he gets on a roll and you start seeing that smile come out, that’s when you know you’re in trouble, so we’re going to need to limit those smiles, man. We’ve got to limit those smiles on Sunday.”

The Bucs play the Panthers at 1 p.m.

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Rowdies add 22-year-old forward Alex Morrell to its roster

After re-signing the core of its team, the Tampa Bay Rowdies have reached out for a new face.

Alex Morrell, 22, has signed with the Rowdies. The forward is from Lakeland.

Morrell spent most of last season in the MLS, playing for the Chicago Fire. He spent part of last season on loan to St. Louis.

“We’re excited to sign a young player of Alex’s quality,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “He spent last year in MLS learning from experienced coaches and players and now he’s ready to make the next step. We look forward to seeing him develop and make an impact here with the Rowdies.”

The Fire selected Morrell 22nd overall in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. He made four appearances for Chicago in his first professional season, logging 56 minutes. Morrell was loaned to Saint Louis in August and played in two USL matches.

Morrell is the 12th member of the Rowdies’ 2017 roster, which opens preseason play January 8 against Germany’s VfL Wolfsburg in the Florida Cup.

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Triplets lead Lightning’s huge comeback against Montreal

Hey, didn’t you used to be The Triplets?

Frankly, it’s good to see you again.

The Triplets – the Tampa Bay Lightning’s line of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov, couldn’t have picked a better time to show back up Wednesday night. At the time, it was the third period, and the Bolts trailed the Montreal Canadiens 3-1, and Carey Price was in goal.

None of it mattered. The Bolts charged from behind to win, 4-1. Johnson scored twice. Palat and Victor Hedman also scored for Tampa Bay.

Shea Weber, Alexander Radulov and Chris Terry scored for the Canadiens, who have lost three in a row. Price had 26 saves.

Tampa Bay is home tonight against Toronto.

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Bucs lose again, see their playoff hopes fade to a whisper

Not long ago, the Tampa Bay Bucs seemed headed for the playoffs in one of those magical turn-around seasons.

Now, they’ve turned back around, and it will take the right combination of results for them even to get into the post-season.

The Bucs dropped a 31-24 game to the New Orleans Saints that left them on the verge on missing the playoffs. Tampa Bay, which lost the NFC South division race with the loss, still have a ghost of a chance, but nothing more, next week against Carolina.

Tampa Bay did not play running back Doug Martin, who was second in the NFL in rushing, choosing instead to go with backup Jacquizz Rodgers.

Drew Brees, who threw three interceptions against Tampa Bay two weeks ago, threw none. He had 299 yards passing to lead the Saints to their victory.

“We played hard,” said Koetter. “We played hard enough, we just didn’t play good enough today. The turnovers [were critical], as it is in many games, those two turnovers led to two touchdowns and we didn’t get any the other way. When you have two turnovers like that lead to 14 quick points against a quarterback like they have, it’s just going to be tough sledding if you don’t take it away on the other end.”

Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston threw for 277 yards, but he had two costly interceptions.

“We couldn’t get as much pressure on him as we did in the first game,” said Koetter. “They ran the ball better than they did in the first game. I think we missed Will Gholston today in the run game. Even though we had two sacks, we pressured them consistently in the last game. I thought a combination of us running by him and him doing a really good job of stepping up – he stepped up through our rush and made plays after stepping up in the pocket that hurt us today.”

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Tampa Bay Lightning shut out in lopsided loss to Washington

And then, nothing.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, which had appeared to be pulling out of its swoon with back-to-back wins were clobbered Friday night in a 4-0 loss to the Washington Caps.

Tampa Bay gave up two goals in the first period, and got off only two shots, in their latest defeat. John Carlson scored the Caps’ first two goals, including the first with only 55 seconds gone in the game.

Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson later scored goals for Washington.

It was Ovechkin’s 15th goal of the season.

“Ultimately, you circle this one on the calendar as, ‘OK, this is one we’re going to have to game out,’ because we were playing three (games) in four (days), it’s a tough travel night for us, getting in at three in the morning and turn around and have to play an exceptional team like Washington,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “But what made it was worse was first shift getting scored on. That was a little bit of a deflator right there.

“They got the 2-0 lead, and the irony of the whole thing, we only gave them four shots in the last 15 minutes of that first period. So, as ugly as it looks, they did all their damage in the first four minutes and that kind of changed the game. The kicker there was when we didn’t score in that first five minutes of the second (period). We were all over them, and, we needed that next goal. Ultimately, they weathered that storm, got the third one and that was it.”

Braden Holtby stopped 23 shutouts for his 26th career shutout.

For the Bolts, Jonathan Drouin and Braydon Coburn left and did not return. Andrei Vasilevskiy was pulled in the third period and left.

“I think we’ve been doing a good job coming back, but it’s hard to do it that many times,” defenseman Anton Stralman said. “We’ve put ourselves in big holes way too many times this season and sometimes we manage to come back like last night but we just didn’t have it. That first period, that was a tough period. We didn’t execute anything in our game plan really. They score two goals; we have two shots. That kind of sums it up.”

 The Lightning plays Montreal at home on Wednesday night.

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Lightning comes from behind to beat St. Louis is solid effort

Now, that’s more like it.

The Tampa Bay Lightning still cannot be certain that its struggles are over, especially not as beaten up as they are. But for a night, the Lightning was a special team again Thursday night.

The Lightning came back from a two-goal deficit to defeat the St. Louis Blues, 5-2. Tampa Bay fell behind with two quick goals in the first period before coming back.

“It’s the National Hockey League,” said coach Jon Cooper. “To me, every win’s impressive. It’s hard to win in this league. I think the one thing that was impressive was you’re down two and you come back and get five unanswered. I was really, really proud of the way we battled back because that game could’ve gone the other way really quick. When the team is emotionally invested, we can be pretty good. It doesn’t matter who’s in there and I thought after the first period we got emotionally invested, and it was a really good effort by the guys.”

Brian Boyle got the Bolts on the board in the second period, redirecting a shot from Victor Hedman. Boyle has four goals in the last five games, and Hedman has eight assists. Michael Bournival tied the game at two with his first goal since 2015.

Alex Killorn broke the tie with his 11th goal 5:25 into the third period.

Jonathan Drouin scored the last two goals, one on an empty netter. He’s scored 10 goals on the season.

It was the first time since mid-November the Bolts have won two straight.

“Ultimately, you get judged in wins and losses, but internally when you work your way out of something, it’s how you’re working your way out,” Cooper said. “I really thought when we played St. Louis in St. Louis and we were down 4-1 and we battled back, we didn’t win that game, but you could see things were turning for us. Ever since then, I think the one game, probably the Vancouver game at home, but other than that, those guys have worked. We’ve been on the point side of most of them. Some of them we haven’t. But I just have liked the way our game has transitioned, and we’ve been getting better. It’s funny, the more guys we lose, guys keep coming in and their effort is willing us to games so it’s been nice.”

The Bolts play at Washington tonight.

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Lightning ends slump with convincing win over Detroit Red Wings

For a night – at least, for a night – they were the Bolts again

For a game – if only for a game – they skated like the wind and they played solid defense and they got great goaltending.

For once – if it was only for once – the Tampa Bay Lightning had a terrific penalty kill, and a terrific power play. And they won, 4-1 against Detroit.

The Lightning, of course, has to prove that their play will hold up for the long haul. But it starts with one, and at least the Lightning got that in its win over the Detroit Red Wings.

“It’s just one game,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “So, we needed to start off this little rut of home games, and we had to play with desperation. I thought we did that. There’s a lot we can build off this, no question. Really proud of the effort the guys gave tonight. Our game, it started out west, and our game’s getting better. I know it didn’t pay off with two points against Edmonton , but as that game went on, we just kept going tonight and it was really good to see. But, ultimately, bank those points. Good job fellas.

“We got two more before the break and we got a St. Louis team that gave us a tough time up there, but we felt good about our game when we played them and (we’re) looking forward to another crack.”

The Lightning is 10-1 when taking a first-period lead and 10-3 when scoring the first goal.

The Lightning took a 1-0 lead in the first when Brian Boyle scored, then exploded in the second. Jonathan Drouin, Braydon Point and Vlad Namestikov scored for Tampa Bay.

Detroit scored its only goal when Anthony Mantha scored with 11 seconds to play.

Special teams helped the Bolts, who scored two power play goals and killed five penalties.

“We talk about the power play’s been pretty consistent all year,” Cooper said. “It’s been doing well, but it’s the penalty kill. That’s what wins you hockey games, and if our power play had gone 0-for-6, we still would’ve won this game 2-0 because penalty kill goes five-for-five and you need to be able to keep the puck out of the net. A little bit of bend don’t break in us, but I thought they did a heck of a job and probably the difference in the game.”

Ben Bishop left the game with 12:14 left in the first period. Andrei Vasilevskiy came on and stopped 22 of 23 shots.

“Hopefully this is a short-term thing (to Bishop), but Vasy comes in (and) it’s a tight game still at that point,” Cooper said. “Actually, I thought right before we scored that fourth goal, he makes a couple big time saves. So now you’re sitting here is it 3-1 or 4-0? He makes those saves, we go down and score on the 2-on-1 and that was it. You need your goalie to make that timely save. You’ve got to come up with that big save, and they’ve been doing that and hence we’re getting points out of games, so it’s big.”

 Tampa Bay is home Thursday night against St. Louis.

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Lightning loses again, this time in a shootout to Edmonton

The Tampa Bay Lighting played better Saturday night, but it still lost.

This time, the Bolts fell 3-2 in a shootout against the Edmonton Oilers.

Tampa Bay, which has now lost nine of its last 11, took a 2-1 lead in the second period on goals by Jonathan Drouin and Tyler Johnson. But the Oilers tied the game on a goal by Leon Draisaitl with 13 minutes to play in regulation. It was Drouin’s fourth goal in six games, but it was Johnson’s first since Dec. 1.

The Oilers scored twice in the shootout, once by Mark Letestu and the winner by Connor McDavid. Drouin scored for the Bolts.

Ben Bishop is now 9-11.

The Lightning is home on Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings.

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Can Tampa Bay’s football team stand up to America’s Team?

The star. You recognize the star.

You may not have understood the old flying Elvis of the Patriots, and the Browns are kind of bland up top, and who knows what that Pittsburgh symbol is. But you know the star of the Dallas Cowboys, and you know the stars who have worn it. Roger Staubach. Tony Dorsett. Bob Lilly. Michael Irvin. Emmitt Smith.

There is indeed an aura to the Cowboys, only part of it self-perpetuated. The Cowboys can be accused of a bit of arrogance when it comes to the “America’s Team” nickname, but in a couple of eras, Dallas has indeed been special. And except for being upset by the Giants last week, it would seem they’re on their way again.

Let by marvelous rookies Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott, the Cowboys have been the turnaround team of the NFL. They were horrible a year ago, but they have been rejuvinated. And now they have to play the Tampa Bay Bucs, themselves a nice comeback story.

For years, the Cowboys led the league in headlines, and they built a fabulous stadium, and they were among the leaders in merchandizing. Jerry Jones was always good for a soundbite in his latest face. But the team didn’t win. They haven’t won a Super Bowl since after the 1995 season. They’ve reached the playoffs in only eight of the last 21 seasons. Isn’t America better than that?

Still, the Cowboys have held onto much of the luster. Winning five Super Bowls will do that.

Maybe that’s why Dallas is a seven-point favorite despite the Bucs’ five-game winning streak.

Oh, there are some similarities at the top of the roster. Jameis Winston and Prescott are both impressive young quarterbacks. Elliott, behind a huge offensive line, is having the season that Doug Martin had a year ago. Both Mike Evans and Dez Bryant can take over games at receiver.

But where the Bucs seem to avoid as much of the spotlight with a go-about-their-business mantra, the Cowboys gravitate toward the brightest lights. Jones loves microphones.

Can Tampa Bay win this game? Sure, but it will take takeaways. The defense has to stand up. The offense has to strike early.

Do that, and the stars might fade.

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