And suddenly, the Tampa Bay Lightning is going in the wrong direction.
The Lightning, which entered the week on a hot streak, lost its second straight key matchup Saturday night in a 5-3 loss to the Washington Capitals. The Caps clinched the playoffs with the victory.
Tampa Bay, which has 11 games to play, is certain to finish with its worst record in four years.
Saturday night, the Bolts gave up the game’s first two goals and its last three. Along the way, T.J. Oshie had a hat trick. Oshie has played 14 games aginst Tampa Bay and has 10 goals and 19 points.
Nikita Kucherov scored twice for the Bolts. Alex Killorn scored the other goal.
“They’re a really good team,” said Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper. “You sit here and say, tie game going into the third. We were going to take our chances. That was tough. We take the penalty and we get through it and then we just stopped playing. Our defensive awareness, it was, we can’t let that happen. They’re changing, coming off the bench. To give up that chance, that’s a tough one. It’s a one goal game, but you can’t give up that fourth one. Killer.”
Cooper thought the Lightning scored enough to at least get a point.
“We got three,” Cooper said. “When you get three, you’ve got to get points. Yes, you want guys to come out of their goal droughts and stuff like that, which they did. We scored three. You can’t give up five. You can’t give up four. It’s too tough to win in this league. I’m not as concerned about the amount of goals we’re scoring. It’s what we’ve given up. They’re battling. You’ve got to feel for them because they’re laying everything on the line. As I said, if you had told me we were going to score three against Washington, I was hoping we could get some points out of it.”
Tampa Bay is home Tuesday night against Arizona.