Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning must learn when to gamble

Milan Lucic celebrates the Bruins’ first goal near goalie Mathieu Garon, Matt Carle (25) and B.J. Crombeen. The winner comes when Steven Stamkos’ wide shot turns into a two-on-one.

Associated Press

Milan Lucic celebrates the Bruins’ first goal near goalie Mathieu Garon, Matt Carle (25) and B.J. Crombeen. The winner comes when Steven Stamkos’ wide shot turns into a two-on-one.

PITTSBURGH — There are two things Steven Stamkos has to do with his game-turning mistake Saturday against the Bruins:

Forget it — "You have to let it go," he said — and remember it.

How else, the Lightning center said, will he become a better player?

"That's another learning step," Stamkos, 23, said. "You go through adversity, that's when you learn the most about yourself. That's when you learn what to do the next time around."

That is where Tampa Bay is as a team as well.

Losers of four straight and five of six, coach Guy Boucher said the biggest problem facing it right now is game management, understanding when to take risks with the puck and when to be cautious.

Get that under control, he said, and the chances of winning increase.

"It's just the gambling we have to stop," Boucher said. "That's what's been hurting us. It's a mentality that's part of this group. We have to be more mature. We gamble in moments when we should be patient.

"Patient doesn't mean you stay back and do nothing. Patient means you are very aggressive in what you do but you manage the game. Right now, we don't manage the game. We play so well, but all of a sudden, we sabotage ourselves by forcing the play."

What happened to Stamkos in the 3-2 loss to Boston is a prime example.

Tied 2-2 late in the third period, Tampa Bay was 37 seconds from killing off a four-minute penalty. But with the team three-on-two in the offensive zone, Stamkos' shot missed the net and the puck rimmed around the boards.

With defenseman Eric Brewer part of the rush, the Bruins were able to mount a two-on-one that led to Brad Marchand's winning goal with 2:16 remaining.

"We wasted it like the gambler who wastes it on the last shot of the day," Boucher said of the chance for at least a point for a regulation tie. "He's done great all day. He's got tons of money and decides to put it on one number on the craps table."

And consider this: 43 of the 66 goals the Lightning has allowed have come in the first or last five minutes of a period, prime time to gain or lose momentum.

The cure? Better goaltending, for sure.

But bigger picture, "It starts with analyzing, watching video, a little teaching," defenseman Sami Salo said. "It starts with doing the right things in practice and working hard and trying to take that into games."

The Lightning practiced hard Sunday ahead of tonight's game with the Penguins at the Consol Energy Center, with pushups required for losers of defensive-zone drills.

There also was plenty of video of Saturday's game-losing play.

"We watched that last clip, and we all learned our lesson a little bit there," said Stamkos, who has a league-best 15 goals.

"You have to be aware of how much time is left on the clock, what the situation of the game is. There are certain areas of the game, you have to mature and realize exactly what's going on, and you learn the hard way. As long as you learn your lesson, then you're going to be a better player."

Something he won't soon forget.

POULIOT OUT: There was no word on the severity of Ben Pouliot's upper-body injury or how long he will be out, but the left wing will not play against the Penguins. Forward Ondrej Palat, with 11 goals and 44 points in 49 games, was called up from AHL Syracuse. Pouliot was hurt in the first period Saturday when mashed into the end boards by Boston's Dennis Seidenberg.

More injuries: Left wing Ryan Malone, out 11 games with a lower-body injury, practiced Sunday but still is not ready to play. Salo, who missed two games with a lower-body injury, will play against Pittsburgh.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@tampabay.com.

Lightning must learn when to gamble 03/03/13 [Last modified: Sunday, March 3, 2013 11:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays journal: Erasmo Ramirez ready to start a day after closing game

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — RHP Erasmo Ramirez was on the mound to finish Sunday's 15-inning marathon win over the Twins and will start tonight's game against the Rangers.

    The Rays’ Erasmo Ramirez throws 12 pitches in the 15th inning against the Twins to earn the save then says after the game that he’s ready to make his scheduled start against the Rangers: “My arm feels good.”
  2. Rays exhausted but happy after 15-inning win over Twins (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Before the Rays eventually won Sunday's 6½-hour, 15-inning marathon against the Twins 8-6, they did plenty to lose it. And we need to get that out of the way first.

    The Rays’ Evan Longoria enjoys a laugh after scoring, barely, to tie it in the ninth on Steven Souza Jr.’s two-out single.
  3. Tom Jones' Two Cents: ABC's Indy 500 coverage is stellar again

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Takuma Sato left, celebrates after winning the Indianapolis 500 as Helio Castroneves is a little late passing him. ABC’s coverage of the race is stellar throughout, with plenty of extras but no fake drama.
  4. Takuma Sato surprise winner of wreck-filled Indy 500

    Auto racing

    INDIANAPOLIS — Takuma Sato, a journeyman driver, became the first Japanese winner of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday when he held off three-time champion Helio Castroneves in a 230-mph wheel-rubbing duel to the finish.

    Scott Dixon’s car goes over the top of Jay Howard, soaring so high that Helio Castroneves drove under it while it was airborne. Stunningly, there were no serious injuries.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    The Rays won because they got two innings of good relief from each of the two pitchers who contributed to them losing Saturday's game, Danny Farquhar (who again struck out Miguel Sano) and Tommy Hunter, who both posted zeroes.