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Sunday, May 27, 2018
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Tampa Bay Lightning

Bolts notes: Cooper calls loss ‘aberration’

TAMPA — When the 2012-2013 season started in January, the Tampa Bay Lightning had one of the best starts in the NHL with six wins in their first seven games.

The fantastic start, however, was short lived.

The Lightning went on to lose six straight and eight of the their next 10 games.

Roughly seven weeks after the start of the losing skid, coach Guy Boucher was fired with the Lightning 13-17-1 after 31 games. Boucher was replaced by Jon Cooper, who was named the franchise’s eighth head coach on March 26.

Entering Saturday’s home game against the Boston Bruins, the Lightning were 5-2 and had won five of their previous six games. Then, the Bolts hit a wall, falling 5-0 to the Bruins, which snapped Tampa Bay’s two-game winning streak and was the Lightning’s first shutout loss of the season.

As embarrassing as the loss to Boston was, Cooper doesn’t think it will trigger a setback in the team’s performance.

“I’m disappointed in tonight,” Cooper said after Saturday’s loss. “I’m not disappointed in our team. They’ve done everything we’ve asked in training camp, they’ve done everything we’ve asked so far and I’m confident to say tonight was an aberration in the way we play.”

Nor does Cooper feel this year’s team is headed for a similar meltdown.

“We are not last year’s team,” he said. “We are different. Different coaching staff, we have different players, different goaltenders. I think it’s unfair on the guys to sit here and maybe say, ‘Oh, here we go again.’ ”

Bishop remains confident

Boston slipped three goals past starting goalie Ben Bishop in the second period on Saturday, which tied the most goals allowed in a period by the Lightning this season. The five goals allowed tied a season high.

Prior to Saturday’s game, Bishop had won all five of his starts and hadn’t allowed more than two goals in a game. Bishop’s 1.57 goals-against average entering the game ranked fourth in the NHL among goalies with more than one start and he had stopped 124 of 132 shots for a .943 save percentage.

Bishop was quick to put Saturday’s loss in the past.

“It’s just one of those things,” he said. “Sometimes the teammates have a momentum shift and sometimes you’re not doing your job. It’s one of those things, though. There’s 82 games and you can’t let one game get to you.”

Nuts and Bolts

RW Marty St. Louis (922 career points) is one point shy of tying Neal Broten for 93rd on the NHL’s all-time points list. ... Saturday’s 5-0 loss was the first time the Bolts have been shut out at home since March 14, 2013, by the New York Islanders. .. .C Steven Stamkos and D Sami Salo had their four-game point streaks snapped in Saturday’s loss.

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