This is the way it’s going for the Tampa Bay Lightning: Badly.
This is the way it’s going: The Bolts finally get a game with three goals … and goaltender Ben Bishop gives up four.
This is the way it’s going: The Lightning finally gets a breakaway in the third period of Thursday night’s game…and Tyler Johnson passes the puck backward instead of taking a shot.
This is the way it’s going: Tampa Bay defenseman Anton Stralman is hit from behind by Boston’s Brad Marchand, and no penalty is called. The Bruins promptly score twice in the last two minutes of the second period.
In other words, it was business as usual in the Bolts’ 4-3 loss to the Boston Bruins, another in a series of games the team has designated as important. Yet, as usual, the Lightning stubbed their toes and failed to make up any ground.
It would be mystifying if only it had not happened so often.
“Fifty games in?” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “I guess it’s not too mystifying anymore. It’s happened too often. How many times do you have to say ‘consistency.’ It’s tough.
“Why do they change the way they play? You pat them on the back and say ‘good first period’ and they go out there and play not so good.”
The Bolts are now 22-23-6 on the season. They are six points out of the final wild-card spot.
Goaltender Ben Bishop fell to 11-12-3 with the loss. He faced 35 shots, but four of them got past him.
After taking a 1-0 lead and playing a solid first period, the Bolts gave up two goals in two minutes – the second with .09 seconds to play – to fall behind.
Alex Killorn’s second goal tied it, but Boston scored two to close out the game. The Bolts had only 13 shots in the second and third period and only 21 for the game.
“We have to have more consistency,” said Killorn. “It’s kind of disappointing. We show a little fight at the end of the third period, but it wasn’t enough.”
The Lightning plays Ottawa on Thursday night in an effort to keep up with a league that is moving farther away from the team.