I was concerned going into the late minutes of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New Jersey Devils. It was a concern grown out of the habit by way of the Bolts late regular season and continued into the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs so far.
With a skimpy one-goal lead, I feared the dreaded 3rd period lapse.
The Lightning held on and won 3-1, it doesn’t change my concern going forward with the habit. It’s putrid how the Bolts have seemingly lain down and let things go to the favor of the opposition regularly during the second half of the NHL sseason in 2017-18. I mean, shit man, Tampa Bay gave the eventual worst team in the NHL, the Buffalo Sabres, a chance to tie the matchup at the Amalie on February 27th and then win in overtime. A 1-0 game, turned into a 2-1 loss by way of complacency and a who-cares? late-game arrogance. To have that expressed in play with regularity does not bode well.
Oh, the April meeting was another careless effort but Tampa Bay won the high-scoring affair so everything I just complained about is meaningless, right? Right?? Someone’s going to think it, but it’s not like the Sabres game I cited was the only time overtime was forced by an opponent. It was happening again and again in February and March; leads conceded in the 3rd that led to overtime and the shootout. Those lapses were too common for a club that was topping the NHL for most of the season and vying for the President’s Trophy.