The Tampa Bay Lightning dropped to 1-1-1 on the early season with Sunday’s overtime loss the Carolina Hurricanes and captain Steven Stamkos isn’t happy with his team's effort to date.
“We just continue to be the freewheeling team that thinks we can just come into games and win because we’re skilled,” Stamkos said after Sunday's 4-3 defeat, per the Tampa Bay Times. “We keep falling back into the same old bad habits that we’ve been doing, that cost us the season we had last year.
“Unless we change things, it’s going to be a really, really, really long year.”
The Lightning, who are the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners, suffered a first-round exit in the playoffs last spring with a four-game sweep against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Tampa Bay won their opening game over the Florida Panthers 5-2, but lost to Florida 4-3 on Saturday. They were up 3-1 on the Hurricanes after the first period on Sunday, but were held without a shot in the second period as the Hurricanes rallied back.
In total, the Lightning were outshot 44-13 on the night, with Curtis McElhinney turning aside 40 shots in his first game with the team.
“Our goaltender was outstanding,” Stamkos said, “and I feel bad for him that he had that effort and we had the effort we had.”
The Lightning will play their Atlantic Division rival Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.