Another opportunity came for the Lightning to turn the end of their season around. And another opportunity left as the Bolts fell at home to Carolina in the first half of a home-and-home. The second half will take place tomorrow night in Raleigh. Yet another comeback bid fell short as the Bolts cut a 4-1 third period deficit to 4-3, but again weren’t able to go the distance.
Simon Gagne made his presence felt with 2 goals, but Erik Cole had two goals of his own, and those ended up being the deciding ones. The Lightning were against vastly out-shot and out-chanced. Dwayne Roloson stopped 35 or the 39 shots he faced, while Cam Ward was only forced to make 18 of 21.
This is becoming more and more frustrating as the season winds down. The team seems to have no sense of urgency or pride down the stretch, and that is a growing problem. This isn’t the attitude or the momentum you want to be carrying into the postseason. The excuses are beginning to run out for a team who has now lost 9 of its last 10 games.
Injuries can’t be used as an excuse anymore. Gagne has returned, and Steve Downie suited up tonight. Ryan Malone has been out so long that it shouldn’t still be making this much of a difference. Players need to step up. There isn’t even one part of the lineup to blame because it has been a collectively lackluster effort the last month or so.
The good thing is tomorrow is another day, and it brings another opportunity for the Bolts to turn things around. We’ll see if they finally take advantage of this one.
1st: Erik Cole
2nd: Simon Gagne
3rd: Eric Staal
Highlight courtesy of NHL.com