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Burns: 3 Things from a wild loss to Winnipeg

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts 6-4 loss to the Winnipeg Jets

by Bryan Burns /

The Tampa Bay Lightning played 40 good minutes against the Winnipeg Jets Tuesday night at AMALIE Arena according to defenseman Anton Stralma in a 6-4 loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

Unfortunately, NHL games are 60 minutes long.

The Lightning were outscored 3-1 in a lethargic second period to fall behind 4-1 after 40 minutes and didn't have quite enough juice to recover in a 6-4 home loss to the Jets. Nikita Kucherov scored two power-play goals, his first goals in a month, in the second half of the final period to get the Lightning within a goal, but the Bolts' rally fell just short.

Tampa Bay suffered its first regulation loss on the current home stand.

Where did Tuesday's game turn for the Lightning? We'll examine closer in 3 Things from Winnipeg.

Video: Stralman on poor effort in Bolts' loss


The game was effectively lost for the Lightning in the second period, when Winnipeg scored three-consecutive goals to take control of the game.

Tampa Bay played well in the first period and was unfortunate to be down 1-0 after 20 minutes. When Matthew Peca scored his first career NHL goal 3:43 into the second period, momentum was squarely on the Lightning's side.

That momentum was erased 47 seconds later when Nikolaj Ehlers converted on a penalty shot and was gone for good 49 seconds following Ehlers' goal on Jacob Trouba's second goal of the season.

For whatever reason, the Bolts' game actually tailed off after Peca's score.

"We should have felt out that goal a little more and found our game, but we didn't," Stralman said. "We just kept going in that same spiral we were in in the second period, and we turned pucks over and we were just not on. It hurts us."

Winnipeg went up 4-1 with a little more than five minutes left in the second, Dustin Byfuglien sending an innocuous-looking shot from the right point toward goal that eluded Andrei Vasilevskiy (28 saves).

"It was men against boys after the first period," Bolts head coach Jon Cooper said. "Actually, it wasn't the penalty shot. I thought we just deflated after our goal, which was a little bit surprising. We had great jump in the first period. Unfortunately, we don't score on those early power plays, but we had phenomenal chances. Give their goalie credit, made a bunch of big saves. We're down one, but not a big deal at all. I know we've been down a lot at home early. We were tonight, but we didn't deserve to be. Clearly coach Maurice's speech was a lot better after the first period than mine because his team came out to play and we didn't. It was too bad."

 Video: Cooper on poor 2nd period performance vs. WPG


The Lightning had seven giveaways in each of the first two periods.

A lot of times, the Bolts don't have seven giveaways over an entire game.

Too many poor decisions with the puck gave Winnipeg numerous Grade-A chances, and the Jets were able to capitalize.

"It was everything," Stralman said when asked if the loss could be pinned on turnovers. "Not working hard enough, turnovers, we just kind of let them roll us over."

There were certainly a lot of holes in the Lightning's game on Tuesday, but the numerous turnovers were glaring, particularly the quantity of them.

 Video: WPG@TBL: Peca snaps puck top shelf for first NHL goal


Not all was lost in the 6-4 defeat for Tampa Bay.

Ryan Callahan returned to the lineup after missing the previous 15 games with a lower-body injury. Callahan provided some help on the penalty kill, which has struggled in his absence, and dished out five hits in 11:20 time on ice.

Callahan, however, said his game is still rounding into form.

"I felt like I missed 15 games," Callahan said. "For myself, I'll chalk it up as the first one back. I've got to be better than I was tonight. So hopefully we'll get that one out of the way and move forward."

Adam Erne made his NHL debut after being recalled from AHL Syracuse on January 1. Erne provided another physical presence up front for the Lightning, logging four hits and a shot in his 12:03 on the ice.

"It was a lot of special teams work, so he didn't get out there a ton in the first couple of periods, but he used his body," Cooper said. "He had a really good chance in the third period I think. Early in the third period, he used his speed. Obviously we didn't get him on the ice near as much as I'd like to get him on. He got on at the end, and I know he spent a lot more time in the offensive zone than the defensive zone. That was good to see."

And Matthew Peca, playing just his fourth NHL game, scored his first career NHL goal a game after recording his first point (an assist Dec. 31 vs. CAR).

"He was good tonight," Cooper said. "He was, again, somebody that is making the most of his call-up, and every game he plays, it's making it a lot tougher to send him down when, eventually, we get guys back."


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