Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brian Boyle is brutally honest about the team’s performance following their third-straight loss in Columbus.
The Tampa Bay Lightning did what many Lightning fans had hoped would not come to pass. The Lightning dropped their third-straight game on Tuesday night at the Nationwide Arena as they took on the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second time this season.
While there are many people out there who would immediately jump at the opportunity to throw the goaltender under the bus for the team’s loss, there are actually many unpleasant factors that played into the team’s second loss of the season to the Blue Jackets.
One of the most glaring issues was the Lightning’s lack of offensive pressure. The Lightning were outshot in all but the final period of play for a three-period total of 38-27. While this may not seem like the worst possible scenario, allow us to point out that 14 of those shots came in the third period.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning have seen plenty of success since losing Lightning captain Steven Stamkos to a lateral tear in his right meniscus, but a good portion of this success has come either on the Power Play or in the final period of play.
While being able to capitalize on the Power Play and being able to rally in the third period are all very important traits for a team to have, but at the same time, the team cannot solely depend on these talents to carry them through to the postseason. If the Lightning wants to start winning games again, it will have to be in five-on-five situations.
In most situations, a player will usually do what they can to defend their team or their teammates in a time of unrest like this one, but this isn’t always what a team needs to get back on the right track. Sometimes, a team needs a cold, hard slap of reality to get the team back in the game.
One Lightning player did not mince words after tonight’s loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Lightning forward Brian Boyle. Boyle was clear the team hasn’t been playing up to par as of late.
"“I’d love to play against us right now. It’s easy.” Boyle told Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times."
While he was critical of the team’s overall performance, there were two players Boyle was incredibly supportive of throughout all of this, Lightning goaltenders Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy. Boyle goes on to say what great teammates they’ve been since the Lightning hit their unfortunate skid.
"“They’re great teammates because they haven’t ripped into us yet for how we’re treating them,” Boyle told Joe Smith."
While Bishop and Vasilevskiy have been very understanding up to this point, there is one person who should be bearing down on the team, Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper. Hopefully, the Lightning will head into the training room tomorrow, take a look at the video, and then work on the places they’ve come up short.
If the Tampa Bay Lightning wants to get back on the right track and start winning games again as they have over the course of the first part of the season, they are going to have to get back some of the grit they started out the season with.
If there is anything the Lightning haven’t been as of late, it’s aggressive. In addition to breaking up plays and keeping the puck out of the zone, the Lightning defense needs to be making big hits and getting into the heads of their opponents. At the same time, the offense needs to be more aggressive with the puck and take more chances in the offensive zone.
The Lightning used to have a real problem with overpassing the puck. Unfortunately, this is a bad habit the team has been falling back into as of late. We know old habits die hard, but seasons can fizzle out rather quickly if a team can’t get their heads in the game.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have the day off today, but they will be back to work on Thursday night as they head to the Scottrade Center to take on the St. Louis Blues. The Blues are on a hot streak, having picked up the win in their last two encounters. It will definitely be interesting to see how things play out on the ice.