Preview: League-leading Lightning look to get things started against home vs. Blue Jackets
TV: FOX Sports Sun
TIME: Pregame coverage begins at 7 p.m.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking to start a new streak when they return home to play host to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
The Lightning was their 16-game point streak snapped Saturday with a 5-2 defeat at San Jose, their first regulation loss in 5 1/2 weeks.
Tampa Bay, which has a league-leading 66 points with a 32-8-2 record, had won seven straight games and was 15-0-1 since a Nov. 27 loss at Anaheim.
“I felt we deserved a little better fate, we hit the post three times,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper told reporters after the loss. “Tonight was just not our night. For 16 or 17 games it was our night. Give them credit, they skated well. Hitting three posts, when you’re on a streak, those probably go in. Tonight they didn’t. This is still a great group of guys to coach.”
“Obviously, over the course of the season, you’re going to lose games,” Lightning forward Tyler Johnson told the Tampa Bay Times. “We’ve been playing extremely well and we’ve had some good luck on our side in some situations. Now it’s just time to learn from this, move on and start another one.”
Added defenseman Ryan McDonagh: “In the grand scheme of things, did we think we were going to win every game the rest of the way? Probably not. We like where our team is headed for sure, we’ve proven that against some good teams, we can find ways to win. It didn’t happen here tonight, but we should feel confident going forward.”
The Blue Jackets are doing just fine themselves, going 8-2-1 in their past 11 games — including a 4-3 overtime victory Saturday against the host Florida Panthers.
Columbus (24-14-3, 51 points) has relied heavily on its top line of Artemi Panarin, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Cam Atkinson, but got some much-needed scoring depth Saturday. Brandon Dubinsky, Josh Anderson and Anthony Duclair tallied in regulation and defenseman Seth Jones netted the overtime winner on the first shift.
“It can’t be three guys and a couple of defensemen, because that’s going to dry up,” Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella told the Columbus Dispatch. “That’s going to get checked. They’re going to try to neutralize that stuff, so we need to get other guys going.”
To that end, Tortorella broke up his top line during parts of the past two games.
“I think it gives (Wennberg) a couple of people that he’s able to get the puck to,” Tortorella told the Dispatch. “There is a little bit of chemistry with (Duclair) and (Panarin). Especially on the road, I think it gives the (home) team a question mark as far as, ‘Who do check?’ The past two nights, I’ve liked the look of those two lines.”