Sometimes you can’t truly appreciate what a player means to their team until they are out. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, the last five periods of play have shown how much Victor Hedman has meant to their team.
After leaving the game against the Philadelphia Flyers Monday night with a lower body injury, the Lightning would go on to surrender five goals the following period before losing 7-3.
Tuesday night it was more of the same, as Tampa Bay fell to divisional rival Boston Bruins 4-3. The Bruins capitalized on the Lightning miscues to drop them to their second consecutive loss.
Lightning Defense Struggles Without Victor Hedman
On a delayed penalty, the Bruins were able to keep the puck in and get Carl Soderberg the puck on the left halfway. While Soderberg has the puck, Brad Marchand is able to sneak in behind the Lightning defenders and get himself in perfect one-time position. A great pass from Soderberg sets Marchand up with an uncontested goal.
Goal 2 – David Pastrnak
Not to take anything away from Pastrnak, who made a beautiful power move around Matt Carle, Carle got caught flat-footed and wasn’t able to get a stick or his body on Pastrnak. While it was the only goal he allowed like this, it wasn’t the only time Carle got beat like that.
Goal 3 – Milan Lucic
This goal was a little more bad luck, as Ben Bishop made the original save but was unable to control the rebound that bounced off of Anton Stralman and into the net. But this opportunity was created due to 1.) Nikita Nesterov not being aggressive enough on David Krejci at the blue line and 2.) Stralman letting Lucic get around him uncontested. Nesterov played a good game against the Bruins, this was one of his mistakes – which happened to be a costly one.
Goal 4- Pastrnak Again
This one was another beauty by Pastrnak, taking the puck and wrapping around beating Bishop (not easy to do) to the far post. Andrej Sustr was tying Krejci up in front of the net, leaving Pastrnak uncontested to when he went to wrap the puck around. Carle was caught up ice after challenging defenseman Torey Krug off of the face off, and didn’t notice Pastrnak go around him.
All in all it was a horrible night for the Lightning defensive group, especially when Carle and Pastrnak were on the ice together. The Lightning have a day off before facing the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night. You can probably expect defensive zone play will be a point of emphasis during any team meetings/practices.
Anthony covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Hockey Writers. He is also currently a Featured Columnist for Last Word on Sports, and has held editorial positions on multiple Fansided websites and the now defunct The Farm Club.