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Tampa Bay Lightning embarrassed by a bad Phoenix Coyotes team

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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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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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