The Tampa Bay Lightning have done a poor job of killing penalties this season, much to the chagrin of the coaches in charge of it.
“We showed them too much respect,” assistant coach Rick Bowness told the St. Petersburg Times after allowing three PP goals to Pittsburgh on Saturday. “We weren’t aggressive enough, just letting them stand there and make plays.
“We didn’t communicate enough and, quite honestly, we just didn’t compete hard enough.”
Tampa Bay’s penalty kill has fallen on hard times after starting a perfect 3-for-3 in a season-opening loss to Boston. The Bolts have allowed at least one power play goal in each of their last four games, including a pair against Buffalo on Oct. 8 and the aforementioned three against Pittsburgh.
All told, the Lightning own the NHL’s fifth-worst penalty kill in terms of percentage (68.2) and have given up the most 4-on-5 goals (seven) in the league.
Bowness said the entire PK is in a state of flux, including goalie Anders Lindback. Filling in for the injured Ben Bishop on Saturday, Lindback stopped just seven of 10 power play shots, including Matt Niskanen’s unscreened slapper that proved to be the game-winner:
“You can go work and compete, but if you don’t know what the other guy is doing then you’re working your butt off and doing nothing,” Bowness explained. “It’s five guys, including your goalie working together.”
In good news for the Tampa PK, Bishop was back on the ice Tuesday morning and looks to be the starter for Tampa Bay’s game against the Kings.