Frustrating performance leaves first segment of the season in state of doubt.
Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed 3 goals on 23 shots for the loss. The goals he allowed were not necessarily soft goals, and he made one or two really dazzling ones late in the game, but it wasn't good enough to make the game competitive on a night where the offense was struggling.
3:57 NJ Henrique (2), (Severson, Cammalleri)
13:13 NJ Severson (1), (Henrique, Greene)
5:22 NJ Smith-Pelly (1), (Lappin, Quincey)
1:59 TB Johnson (2), (Point)
Just a frustrating night for the Lightning, which may have carried the balance of play throughout the game in outshooting New Jersey 33-23. But, New Jersey was opportunistic capitalizing on mistakes early to throw Tampa Bay into a hole, and without Kucherov in the lineup the Lightning didn't seem to have the offensive dynamism to crawl out. Also, if we're being honest, the Lightning played one of their all-too antiseptic games where they didn't create enough traffic and get in front of the goaltender's eyes enough to make it hard on a netminder as strong as Schneider. They were just a little too easy to play against tonight. Against a team like New Jersey, you do yourself a big disservice by not finding a greasy goal or two in those high traffic areas, and that building in particular is not one you want to fall in a hole in and then play a white gloves kind of style.
Heading into the final 2 games of this opening 10 game segment of the season, the Lightning need 2 more points, at least, to stay on playoff pace. That looked like a lock heading into the Montreal game, but it's looking a little dicey now. Hopefully Ben Bishop will have a performance tomorrow that will be the slump snapper. The Lightning need it.
Brayden Point had a beautiful helper and 3 shots in 16:50. His assist was so good he got Tyler Johnson off the side of the milk carton. I just hope he gets to collect the reward for finding a missing person like that.