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Burns: 3 Things we learned from a second preseason loss to Carolina

Lightning beat writer Bryan Burns recaps the Bolts' 6-1 loss to the Hurricanes on Wednesday

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

The preseason is off to a rocky start for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

After a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in Tuesday's preseason opener, the Lightning traveled to Raleigh Wednesday for a rematch with the Canes and fell 6-1, dropping to 0-2-0.

The Bolts were outscored 10-2 over the home-and-home series with Carolina.

Tampa Bay will try to pick up its first preseason win Friday when it travels to Nashville.

How can they do it?

For starters, by cleaning up some of the issues detailed below.

1. WHERE ARE ALL THE GOALS?
Last season, the Lightning were the highest scoring team in the NHL, netting 290 goals. In fact, you have to go all the way back to 2009-10 when the Washington Capitals scored 313 goals to find a team that's put up more goals in a season than the Lightning did last year.

The Bolts set franchise records for home goals (145), road goals (145) and total goals in 2017-18.

But through two preseason games, Tampa Bay has lit the lamp just twice, one time in each game.

Obviously, no time to panic, not even close. It's preseason.

Still, it's a bit unnerving to watch a team so adept at putting the puck in the back of the net with regularity struggle to do so.

In Tuesday's loss, the Lightning couldn't pin their goal drought on a hot opposing goalie or unlucky bounces. The grade-A scoring chances just weren't there.

In Carolina, the Bolts produced more quality opportunities. They registered 27 shots after putting up only 17 a night earlier. The end result was still the same, however.

"I think today was a lot of puck luck," forward Cory Conacher said. "Rebounds weren't going where we wanted them to go. Just little bounces, off a guy's skate or a bounce over our stick. I thought we had a lot of quality chances. I think we deserved a better fate."

At any moment, you expect this team to explode and put up a large number on the scoreboard.

Just hope it comes sooner rather than later.

2. SPECIAL TEAMS A CONCERN
Both the power play and the penalty kill faltered for Tampa Bay in the home-and-home series against Carolina.

After giving up two power-play goals in Tuesday's preseason opener, the Lightning allowed three on Wednesday, the Hurricanes finishing at 50 percent on the power play going 3-for-6.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay was 0-for-5 with the man-advantage.

The Lightning lost the special teams war in both games versus Carolina.

It's no coincidence they lost both games as well.

Again, though, no time to panic. There's time to correct the issues that have contributed to those special teams errors.

But the Bolts will want to clean up those miscues by the start of the regular season if they hope to get off to as good a start this season as they did last season.

"You don't want to give up those goals, but it's a learning process," forward Yanni Gourde said. "I think it will be a little bit of time of adjustment. We want to pressure up the ice, and we just have to figure out our D-zone coverage right now and be on the same page. I think if we do that, we'll be fine."

3. WALCOTT SHAKEN UP
Midway through the third period, Tampa Bay's Daniel Walcott was rammed hard into the boards by Carolina's Trevor Carrick and fell face first to the ice.

Walcott laid still while the rest of the players on the ice stood by closely, showing obvious concern for Walcott's health. After remaining down for a half-minute while being attended to by a Lightning trainer, Walcott finally rose to his skates and headed immediately to the locker room under his own power.

Unfortunately, as he skated, he held his arm/shoulder gingerly and appeared to be in a lot of pain.

He didn't return to the game and no update on his injury was given.

"It's scary," Conacher said. "He's a tough guy, so you know when he goes down, its not a good thing. He's one of those character guys that does everything for a team. He had a good game going into that injury. He's been having a good camp. He wants to prove himself as a forward. That was the first time as a forward this year. He's shown a heck of a game so far. It's just unfortunate. Hopefully he can recover fast. He's a guy that works hard and will get back as soon as he can. Wish him the best."

Walcott finished the night with three shots and five hits, second most on the Bolts.

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