Thu, 09 Feb 2023

Unfazed by loss, Lightning ready to face middling Flames

Field Level Media
21 Jan 2023, 06:19 GMT+10

As disappointed as the Tampa Bay Lightning were about Thursday's loss to the Edmonton Oilers, they are not fretting heading into Saturday afternoon's road clash with the Calgary Flames.

The Lightning dropped a 5-3 game in Edmonton, which was tied 3-3 going into the third period, but what transpired is not hard to understand. After all, the Lightning came off a one-sided road victory over the Vancouver Canucks the night before, which had extra significance with captain Steven Stamkos netting his 500th career goal.

A rebound in Calgary is expected from a team that saw a five-game winning streak snapped.

"Everybody goes through these," coach Jon Cooper said. "You get into a hotel at 3:30 in the morning and a back-to-back, those are tough. But we fought to the end. It was a good game. I was just disappointed we didn't get any points out of this."

The Lightning, who will finish a five-game road trip, have won nine of their past 12 games and are looking like the team that won the Stanley Cup in both 2020 and 2021 and reached the final last season.

Their star players are certainly rolling, too. For example, Stamkos is on a seven-game point streak in which he's collected five goals and 11 points. Plus, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and top defenseman Victor Hedman are rounding into form after struggling the first part of the season.

Therefore, no reason to fret over one loss.

"It was a tie game going into the third and they got one there," Hedman said. "We had some opportunities to tie it up, but it wasn't our night."

Meanwhile, the Flames are on the hot seat. A club expected to be a Stanley Cup contender despite an offseason of turmoil has been a disappointment. The Flames have dropped two straight games in regulation, the latest a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.

"We've played 46 games now and we're still looking for a really good game," center Elias Lindholm said. "It's concerning."

The Flames have been middling, at best, both offensively and defensively all season, but that is not the biggest concern right now. They were outplayed by a wide margin in the first period of both their most recent losses, a troublesome issue for a team with as many veterans on the roster and the experienced coaching staff that it has.

If it's any consolation, they know it and expect to perform better at the drop of the puck against the Lightning.

"It was a measuring-stick game, and we didn't have it," forward Blake Coleman said. "The good news is Tampa's coming ... and I look at that game the same way, and I look for us to have a better response."

Calgary likely will make one notable roster change for the outing. Jakob Pelletier, the club's 2019 first-round draft pick, could make his NHL debut. The 21-year-old Pelletier, who was drafted 26th overall, has collected 15 goals and 34 points in 31 games in his second professional season for Calgary's AHL affiliate, the Calgary Wranglers.

--Field Level Media

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