A 6-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes capped a five-game losing streak for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Head coach Jon Cooper benched star players Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point during the previous loss to the Buffalo Sabres, suggesting the team was not playing up to standard. However, the Lightning have made it to the Stanley Cup final three seasons in a row, winning twice and no one outside of the organization doubts their pedigree will shine through come playoff time.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Let's start with the Tampa Bay Lightning, funny enough, a team who just went off a weekend where Jon Cooper benches Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov, and Steven Stamkos in a game against the Buffalo Sabers. And you'd think, all right, man, that's a great way for-- it's a great opportunity for them to respond, and they lose 6-0 to the Carolina Hurricanes, in which Jesperi Kotkaniemi-- remember him-- gets five points.
On a scale of 1 to 5, how worried are you with the Tampa Bay Lightning? Sam, how worried are you? We'll start with you, then we'll go to Avry, then Omar.
SAM CHANG: One?
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Oof. No one's worried. No one's worried.
SAM CHANG: Tampa Bay Lightning being the Tampa Bay Lightning. I literally saw the tweet about how they're the first team this season to have, like, zero shots on goal in one period. I was like, who cares? Who cares? They don't care about the regular season. They know they're going to the playoffs.
They're just like, why are-- why are we wasting our energy on the regular season?
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Pretty good answer. Avry, do you share that same sentiment?
AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: If I could go lower than one, I would. If I could go, like, negative five, I would.
Because, again, it's the Tampa Bay Lightning.
AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: I don't care about losing 6-0 right now. I don't care about that. We know they're ready for the playoffs. They're still going to have Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point. They're still going to have that majority of that core. This is a team that they come to the playoffs every year.
They may have lost some games, they might be broken, but they are going to be either in the final four or the Cup Final, or they'll win the whole thing. Remember, in the [? bubble ?] of 2020, Steven Stamkos, he was made of peanut brittle. What did he do?
AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: Scored the goal-- scored the goal in Game 1 against Dallas. Excuse me? He was being held up by duct tape, and he scored in the Cup Final.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Duct tape.
AVRY LEWIS-MCDOUGALL: He had one game in the postseason. Like, I'm not scared of the Lightning. They'll find a way somehow to still be in the final four or in the Cup Final once again.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Omar, we might as well just sing "Hakuna Matata."
OMAR: Yeah, honestly. Like, if-- the only thing that would make me go a little bit higher was the status of Hedman because I think he left the game with injury. But, like, I think the report now is that he won't, like, miss extended time. So it's like, yeah. Like, Tampa's-- Tampa is-- the way people talk about Tampa is how you used to talk about Pittsburgh.
You know, there'll always be years of like, oh, this might be the year where Pittsburgh, like, misses the playoffs or whatever, and then, like, Crosby or Malkin, like, go off, and then, like, OK, they are back in the final or something. So, like-- like, Tampa has done more than enough to get the benefit of the doubt in any regard when it comes to on-ice performance, so, like, this weekend is nothing, sure.
Like, they'll shake it off. They'll take the messages from Cooper and stuff. They're-- they're a winning organization through and through, so no, there's no-- zero concern here.