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Penalties, defensive lapses lead to Lightning dropping preseason opener

Trevor Grout | The Scrum Sports

Coming off a surprisingly short postseason run, the Tampa Bay Lightning looked to start the 2019-20 preseason on the right foot after nearly a week of training camp. Entering Tuesday’s preseason opener against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Lightning featured a lineup mixed with both veterans and prospects. On the other side Carolina countered with a prospect-heavy group. Despite the disparity of experience between the rosters in tonight’s game, penalties and defensive lapses proved to be the Lightning’s undoing.

A trio of Hurricanes chipped in three goals while Anton Forsberg and James Reimer combined for 15 saves as Carolina topped the Lightning 3-0 at Amalie Arena. At the other end of the rink Scott Wedgewood stopped 34 of 37 shots. His effort kept the game from getting out of hand for the Lightning.

The Canes wasted little time getting on the scoreboard.

Just 1:19 into the opening frame, Max McCormick knocked home a rebound to make it 1-0. The goal set the tone for the first period, one in which Carolina dominated the flow of play early on. Eventually the Lightning found their legs later in the period, highlighted by Steven Stamkos hitting a post and Mitchell Stephens getting denied on a partial breakaway.

In the second period, Tampa started to show signs of life when Anthony Cirelli put on a puck handling clinic where Reimer made the save. Despite that strong quality opportunity, the Bolts generated few high-caliber scoring chances. Carolina continued to own a distinct advantage in shots on goal and high-danger opportunities throughout the night.

The Lightning’s parade to the penalty box eventually cost them in the third period.

Throughout the night, the Lightning’s penalty killers put on a strong effort successfully killing off five of six Carolina power plays. Unfortunately for them, the one power play goal they allowed proved to be costly. At the 5:53 mark of the third, Lucas Wallmark took a pass from Brock McGinn off a rush and beat Wedgewood to make it 2-0 Hurricanes. The goal seemed to deflate the Lightning. Eventually, they allowed Carolina to tack on one more goal at the 9:55 mark thanks to a defensive miscue.

Despite the final outcome there were a few positives to take from this game.

Lightning head coach Jon Cooper stated in his postgame interview that he thought how comfortable defenseman Cal Foote looked. In addition, Cooper praised the play of Stephens. Fighting for a roster spot, Stephens saw four minutes of penalty killing time, the most of any Lightning forward tonight. Another player fighting for a roster spot who played with a lot of energy was Danick Martel. Martel mentioned after the game that he knows he has to play that role of high-energy player in order to keep his spot with the Lightning.

In the second period Alex Killorn, left the game due to what appeared to be an injury. Cooper mentioned they held him out for precautionary reasons. He did not give a specific update on Killorn’s status after the game. Before he left, his line with Cirelli and Stamkos was the line of the night.

Our Three Stars of the Game

1st star: Lucas Wallmark: His power play goal in the third period made it a 2-0 game.

2nd star: Max McCormick: Scored first goal of the game 1:19 into the opening period, eventually standing as the game-winner.

3rd star: Scott Wedgewood: Stopped 34 out of 37 shots keeping the Lightning in the game despite the number of shots allowed.

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