Coach Cooper: “The only thing good about tonight was probably the National Anthem.”


Unfortunately, that pretty much sums up tonight’s game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins. Ultimately, the Bolts would fall 5-0 to the Bruins.

Oct 19, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Boston Bruins center David Krejci (46) shoots the puck against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period at Tampa Bay Times Forum. The Bruins won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa’s troubles started pretty early in the first period with a goal from Bruins center David Krejci drew first blood at just 1:32 in the first period.

Not long after that, the penalties started rolling in; the first of which was a fight between Lightning right wing B.J. Crombeen and Bruins center Gregory Campbell. Each player was assessed a 5 minute major for Fighting.

By the middle of the second period, the onslaught was in full swing. With Bruins goals from defenseman Adam McQuaid, center Patrice Bergeron, and center Chris Kelly, the Bolts would enter the third period down 4-0. Just over halfway through the second period, Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper would pull goaltender Ben Bishop and put in goaltender Anders Lindback.

This is the first loss that Bishop has suffered so far this season. As the old saying goes, the first cut is the deepest.

Coach Cooper said in his post-game interview that he thinks he may have left Bishop in goal too long.

"To be honest, I left him in at goal too late.” Cooper said. “I should have probably taken him out earlier.”"

However, Cooper was very clear when he said that this loss was not on the goaltenders.

"This falls nowhere near on our goaltenders.” the Coach said. “It’s really disappointing that we didn’t come against a team that we felt coming into our building was a little bit of a statement game for us, and I guess it turned out to definitely be a statement game, just not the way we wanted it.”"

The third period started off even faster than the first, with a goal from Bruins right wing Shawn Thornton just 34 seconds into the period.

Then the penalties started again. The first of those was Lightning defenseman Eric Brewer who was called for 2 minutes for holding; his second penalty of the night.

Next would be a tie up between McQuaid and Lightning alternate captain Nate Thompson; one that it looked like Thompson was trying to avoid.

Then, at 14:24 the tensions seemed to boil over, and the penalties came rushing in. First, we got a hooking call to Krejci for 2 minutes. Before the referees could even do anything about it, we got to see Gudas vs. Iggy: Round 2. Radko Gudas and Jarome Iginla seemed to have what looked like a “spirited conversation” that resulted in fists and anger. These two fought earlier in the season when the Lightning traveled to the TD Garden on October 3rd to open up the season.

When it comes to the tale of the tape, everything except for the final score seemed pretty much even.

Shots on Goal2322
Penalty Minutes2525
Faceoffs Won3132

If anything, the one good thing that can be said is that the Bolts indeed did their fair share of hitting; however, it that same grit didn’t transfer over to the rest of their play.

"From the get go, we just didn’t have the kind of grit that we have, and it starts with me.” Lightning captain Martin St. Louis said after the game. “Tonight I didn’t have the grit and the aggressiveness I need to help them team when we’re struggling a little bit.”"

I am glad to see that we have a Captain that is unafraid to step up and say point blank when we mess up, take the blame like a man, and find a way for his team to move forward.

It would seem like Bishop has already moved past this tough loss and is looking forward to the next game.

"It’s one of those things; there are 82 games so you can’t let one game get to you.” Bishop said post-game. “That’s not the way we want to play. That’s not the way we want to play at home, especially in front of our fans that are paying to come watch us play. It’s just not acceptable.” He said. “We have a hard team coming up, against Chicago, and we’ll be ready for them.”"

It is very reassuring to me that the team can so openly take responsibility for an ugly loss like this, not let it get under their skin, and focus on the road ahead.

This is most definitely a hard loss to swallow, not just for the players, but for the fans as well.

Over the years, the Bruins have come to develop quite the rivalry with Tampa Bay, and when they come to town, every single shot, hit, block, and goal feels like the absolute end of the world. However, I will assure you that this is far from the truth.

As Bishop said in his post-game interview, there are 82 games in a season, and this is just one of them. Right now, the Lightning are currently 5-3 for the season, and with 74 more games ahead of them, there are plenty of opportunities for the Bolts to put their hands on those valuable points.

In order for the Bolts to do that, a few things are going to need to change.

The Passing Game – This needs to stop immediately. While I know that not every single shot is a viable one, nor is it the best move for each and every situation; however, the fact remains that you cannot score goals if you never take a shot. The Bolts have a very bad habit of overpassing the puck in an attempt to set up a particular player. This usually results in a really bad turnover, and the halt of a potential scoring play.

Don’t get me wrong, I would absolutely love to see Steven Stamkos win his third Rocket Richard Trophy or St. Louis to win another Art Ross Trophy, but let’s be honest; I would rather the Lightning win another Stanley Cup.

The Defense, or Lack Thereof – The Lightning have done a pretty good job so far this season of getting in front of the play, blocking shots, and aggressively pursuing the puck. What I would like to know is what happened to that tonight? The Bolts seemed very distracted, and their heads were certainly not in the game. If we have any chance of coming out on top against the Blackhawks on Thursday, they are going to have to use the 4 days off that they have to refocus and get back in the game, or Thursday may be the start of our first losing streak of the season. Something that none of us want to see.

The Unnecessary Penalties – I am all about a player taking a penalty in the name of the greater good; however, there are times when this is just not necessary. Case and point; the tripping penalty to Richard Panik in the final seconds of the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on October 12th. I really hate to harp on this some more, but let’s be real…had that penalty not occurred, the Pens would not have been on the power play, would not have had an extra attacker, and therefore, quite possibly, may have not been able to score that final goal. Unfortunately, whether the Bolts would have won that game or not will never be known.

However, getting back to the point; if the Bolts hope to come out on top against the Blackhawks, and any other team the rest of this season for that matter, the Lightning are going to have to get a better grasp on what is a necessary and an unnecessary penalty.

All in all, I think the moral of the story here is:

Yes, we played a serious bad game. Yes, there are some things that are going to need to be adjusted before the Lightning play the Blackhawks, and yes…this loss stung really, really bad; however, at the end of the day…this is not the end of the world. It may feel like it, but it’s not. We still have 74 more games left his season.

That means that there are a minimum of 74 more times that we get to Be The Thunder.

Next up, the Tampa Bay Lightning will open up the doors to the Tampa Bay Times Forum to host the defending Stanley Cup Champions Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.

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