Tampa Bay’s shootout woes continued to show Friday night in its loss on the road to the New Jersey Devils. Tampa outplayed the Devils, who are now 2-for-20 in shootouts since the beginning of last season. Goaltender Keith Kinkaid, an undrafted Union College alum, picked up his first NHL win as the Lightning couldn’t crack the Kinkaid code to take the game.
It was the seventh game the Bolts have seen go to extra minutes this season, while they’ve managed to escape penalty shots twice with overtime winners, shootouts have not been their cup of tea. They’ve lackcked consistency as they’ve continually failed to find the back of the net, and sometimes the entire net, in route to a measly 1-4 record in the shootout.
Who should face the music and take blame for the poor outcomes thus far? Should it be the Bolts’ backstoppers, lackadaisical lamp lighters for the Lightning or simply the silky mitts of their opponents?
It’s tough to place blame on the goaltender for anything in a hockey game, and this situation is no different. Ben Bishop has stopped 5-of-8 shots through three shootouts, and the tallies he let in were not exactly cake-work either. Evgeni Nabokov’s two appearances are not appealing whatsoever. They resulted in losses to the Buffalo Sabres and the most recent at New Jersey. He didn’t manage to stop either of the two shots he faced against the Sabres and let up one goal in three shots at New Jersey – the other two shots didn’t even make it on net.
The Lightning’s lamp lighters have lulled to a quiet 2-for-13. Of those 13 attempts, two failed to make it on net. Steven Stamkos is 0-for-3 and Ryan Callahan and Nikita Kucherov have the only two tallies as they are both 1-for-3.
The shooters that the tenders have faced have not been a walk in the park either with names such as Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Tyler Ennis, Tomas Tatar and Patrik Elias appearing on the opposing shootout lineups.
3-2 SOL to Ottawa
It was just the second game of the 2014-15 season, so we can argue that the cobwebs had not been entirely shaken out and there might have been a little dust on the blades remaining from the off-season. After pulling out a victory over the Panthers in overtime in the first game of the new campaign, the Lightning found themselves in a duel with the Senators. Kyle Turris and Mika Zibnejad tallied marvelous markers for Ottawa, while Nikita Kucherov was the only Bolt to find the back of the net.
4-3 Shootout Win over Detroit
Detroit has always had snipers on their team, but that night their snipers turned into snoozers. Bishop saved all three of the Red Wings tries without hesitation, and may have been ready for a nap afterward. Matthew Carle failed to find the net but it did not matter because Ryan Callahan had put the Bolts in the lead with his first attempt.
3-2 SOL at Chicago
Chicago, Chicago, Chicago. Kaner, Kaner, Kaner. Patrick Kane is known for eluding goaltenders gear in the shootouts and Ben Bishop became another statistic of his madness. Kane was the only shooter to make way between the pipes and the goalie attire to find the netting – you’re just going to have to take a look for yourself…
2-1 SOL at Buffalo
Explaining is unnecessary when this video is floating around for the world to relive.
3-2 SOL at New Jersey
The Bolts needed to pull this one out to start their climb toward the top of the tunnel. Nabokov faced three shots, one got passed him, one dinged the post and another missed the net entirely.
Who’s at Fault?
Narrowing down the misfortune to one mishap is probably not going to fly, especially when it’s a combination of factors that have led to that misfortune. When it comes down to a shootout, the Bolts’ goaltenders have not been up to par and the lamp lighters have gone cold. Competition in the crease at the other end of the ice has been pretty fierce as well. One thing is for sure, they have faced a few opponents with some silky mitted shootout moves.
Jarrod Heil attends the University of Central Florida where he is studying journalism and writing & rhetoric. Also, he’s a staff writer for the college’s student-run newspaper which is affiliated with Gannett Company, Inc.