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Shorthanded Lightning struggles to score against Capitals

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After his team’s latest defeat, the frustration was evident on the case of Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper.

The Lightning dropped a 2-1 decision to the Washington Capitals Saturday night, and their record fell to 14-13-3. The team has now lost 67 man-games to injury this year.

This time, the Bolts lost Jonathan Drouin in pregame and Ondrej Palat early in the game.

“I’m speechless this keeps happening,” Cooper said. “This isn’t October anymore. This is almost Christmas.”

The Lightning outshot Washington 35-20, but as they have for most of the season, the Lightning struggled to bury the puck. Their only goal came from Nikita Kucherov, who has scored five in the last four games.

“We have to score more than one,” Cooper said. “You can’t expect your goaltender to do it every night.”

It was the ninth loss of the season for Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop, but the 18th time he has held an opponent to two goals or fewer. Bishop and Braden Holtby of Washington entered the game as the top two in the NHL in goals-against average.

Tampa Bay is at Columbus Monday night to play against former coach John Tortorella.

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

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