Defensive Breakdowns and Sharks Bite Lightning

By on February 16, 2016

 Ryan Callahan (24) in the second period tonight vs. San Jose. (photo Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports)

Ryan Callahan (24) in the second period tonight vs. San Jose. (photo Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports)

Tampa, Fla.– The good news in the first period tonight the Lightning went up 1-0.  Ryan Killorn feathered a nice pass to Ryan Callahan who was ahead in the slot.  Callahan made a nice, soft handed move on Sharks goalie Martin Jones. Defenseman Andre Sustr earned the second assist. A one goal lead early in the game that would carry into the second period.  Not for long though…

At 1:43 of the second a softie through the five hole of Ben Bishop on the ninth San Jose shot brought the “Oil Can” to a collective groan. Joel Ward wound up between the blue line and left circle, no screen, Bishop looking right at it.  Well maybe a little screen. Ward scored his 16th goal of the season.

Joe Pavelski standing unimpeded in the slot just less than five minutes later, took a pass from behind the goal by Joe Thornton.  Candy, baby… Ben Bishop is easily beaten.  2-0 No. Cal gang and the “Oil Can” was saddened once again. Jon Cooper talked after the game about the defensive breakdowns. “We are just cheating the game a little bit right now,  is basically what we are doing.  All the things on the defensive side of the puck we have done the past couple 2 1/2 years…the old adage its not how many you score, its how many you keep out, we are not there at all right now.”

The Lightning went with seven defensemen tonight as 2012 1st round pick Slater Koekkoek was in the lineup.  We have been talking on the show about looking forward to seeing Koekkoek in the lineup.  At the end of the two Koekkoek had 6:07 of ice time with a shot on goal.  Matt Carle had one hit, one block in 10:26 of ice time.  Also a glaring minus 2 in the period to put Carle in double digit negative at minus 11 on the season to be last on the team. No goals, no assists, minus 11, wow just saying we are not even getting into the contract.

Cedric Paquette snapped a quick one from inside the right circle that beat Martin to tie the score at two.  It was only Paquette’s third of the season, but what a big one it was. The Sharks has seized all the momentum in the second through the first ten minutes.  J.T. Brown, a Lightning fan favorite, picked up the only assist with a good pass from the boards.

The Lightning worked the shot advantage back to a five shot lead at 20-15. (It was tied at eight at the end of the first twenty minutes.)

Then at 15:39, lazy defensive play as Braydon Coburn cleared out the side of the goal. Problem, the Shark player did not have the puck so be it, a two minute interference call.

The Sharks came out clicking on the power play with great puck movement and quality shots on goal.  Ben Bishop was up to the task and his blue clad teammates made a couple of key clears.  Alex Killorn followed up the kill with a good chance streaking down the left side but the shot was turned away by Martin Jones.  The Lightning out-shot the Sharks in the second 13-10 and the Lightning lead the two period total 21-18.

Early into the third, at 1:17 to be exact, Mike Nieto dekes Ben Bishop to give the Sharks the lead back.  Patrick Marleau took the puck down the left wing to gain ice on Andre Sustr and feed Nieto perfectly. Nieto was streaking ahead of Ondrej Palat who could not get to Nieto for the goal saving back-check. Joel Ward picked up his second point of the night with the secondary assist.

Bishop said after the game, “These points are important we kind of let them slip through…Probably wake up tomorrow and not be in the playoffs.”

As played continued in the third there was a sense of edgy discomfort as the Sharks methodically kept the Lightning at bay only giving them five shots in a little over fourteen minutes.

And then at 14:10 Valtteri Filppula gets out worked in the corner to Ben Bishop’s left and commits a tripping penalty.  A precious two minutes the Lightning kill with the best chance coming off the stick of the Sharks’ Tomas Hertl. Bishop came up big to stop Hertl on the short side to keep it a 3-2 game.  Hertl already had an assist on the second San Jose goal.

Then at 18:17 the Allstate goal, Melker Karlsson with Joe Thornton picking up his 38th assist.  4-2 would be our final.

Ryan Callahan said, “We need to play with more urgency… we have to pick it up a bit here. It wasn’t good enough tonight.  Defensively is where it starts…we gotta get back to that.”

The Lightning finish the home stand on Thursday vs. the Winnipeg Jets.

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