At some point, we have to wonder if the Tampa Bay Lightning aren’t underachieving. Maybe they’re just not very good, at least in 2016-17?
Friday presented a possible bit of evidence; the Lightning lost one of those games you have to win, dropping a 4-2 loss to the struggling Vancouver Canucks. Bolts coach Jon Cooper said the sort of things many were likely thinking.
“Just a self-inflicted loss is what it is,” Cooper said, according to Bryan Burns of the team site. ” … In the end, it’s a tough game not to get points out of, that’s for sure.”
There have been far too many of those for the Lightning lately, as they fall to 15-14-2 in a competitive Eastern Conference. The Lightning are now 2-6-1 in their last nine games, with optimism becoming tougher and tougher to come by.
Then again, the Canucks are in a spot where they might hand opponents some unexpected losses. This win began a four-game homestand for Vancouver, with a date against John Tortorella and the red-hot Blue Jackets on Sunday. Overall, they play nine of their next 11 games at home.
Maybe the Canucks will make this loss look a better in retrospect, but right now, it looks pretty bad. Besides, moral victories mean very little to a Tampa Bay team that needs every point it can get.