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NHL Insider

Lightning expect to bounce back quickly

Face Bruins after win streak ends in Philadelphia

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Their franchise-best nine-game winning streak a thing of the past, the Tampa Bay Lightning had one choice after a clunker at Wells Fargo Center on Monday.

"Get ready for Boston," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.

They don't have much time. The Lightning are on the ice again Tuesday against the Boston Bruins with first place in the Atlantic Division on the line. Their 4-2 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers won't matter when the puck drops at Amalie Arena.

The Bruins and Florida Panthers trail the Lightning by one point for first in the division. Boston and Tampa Bay have 16 games remaining; Florida has 15. The Lightning are 2-1 against the Bruins this season.

"Yeah, we laid an egg [Monday night], but it's also a little bit about the big picture here," Cooper said. "Now let's see what we have inside us. I'm not going to say here and predict what the final score is going to be [Tuesday], but let's see where our battle level is at."

It wasn't acceptable against the Flyers, who dominated up and down the ice and would have made the scoreboard look like an embarrassment for the Lightning if not for goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who made 36 saves despite facing odd-man rush after odd-man rush.

"We got outplayed, outworked, outcompeted, outclassed, out-everythinged," Cooper said.

It was a shocking turn of events for the Lightning, who were mostly simple and smart and opportunistic with great goaltending during their nine-game winning streak. They outscored the opposition 33-16, including a 4-1 win against the Bruins on Feb. 28.

Video: Gostisbehere, Flyers down Lightning, 4-2

They were down 30-6 in shots on goal at one point Monday. Yes the score was 1-1, but that was only because of Vasilevskiy.

"We didn't compete [Monday night], and when you don't compete that's what happens," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said.

Stamkos likened the game in Philadelphia to the one the Lightning played at the Calgary Flames on Jan. 5, when they were getting shots but never really competed hard enough, always a step behind, he said, in a 3-1 loss.

That was a disturbing enough loss that the Lightning held a team meeting the following day, an off-day in Edmonton. They won seven in a row after that, the first indication of them turning around what was to that point a disappointing season.

They've won 20 of 26 since that loss in Calgary. That includes Monday.

"Let's put things into [perspective] here, we just ripped off nine in a row against some pretty good teams," Stamkos said. "The beauty about this sport is we got a game [Tuesday] against a divisional opponent and we obviously have to have a bounce-back."

He's confident they'll deliver. That's what a nine-game winning streak does for a team; it brings confidence.

"I expect a bounce-back from this group," Stamkos said. "Let's not get all panicky here and worried. That was a [lousy] game, we realize that, but we have to get back to work [Tuesday]."

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