Lightning arrive in LA after getting manhandled in the desert

Teams around the league are quickly learning that trips through California and Arizona aren’t much fun these days and they certainly aren’t easy.

Over the weekend, the Tampa Bay Lightning became the latest victims of the grueling swing, dropping a 6-3 contest to the Coyotes. Now, they arrive in SoCal, ready for games this week vs. the Kings (Tuesday) and Ducks (Friday). But, as if that’s not bad enough, they’ll also head up to San Jose for a bout with the Sharks on Thursday. That’s right, three games in four nights against the Golden State’s trio of bruisers.

After losing Steven Stamkos to a serious injury less than a week ago, getting pushed around by the Coyotes only seemed to heighten the frustration inside Tampa Bay’s locker room.

Here’s what they were saying after the game in Phoenix…

- Head Coach Jon Cooper: “It’s tough. You go down 2-0 and now you’re climbing the mountain. I thought we played pretty well. Smitty (Phoenix Goaltender Mike Smith) made the saves he had to and it’s just every time we thought we were seizing a little bit of momentum…. We were down 2-0, then we were down five-on-three. They scored to make it 3-0, we rebound make to it 3-1, then they score in the next shift, that’s unacceptable.”

- Goaltender Ben Bishop on getting hit by a puck: “It takes a second to get your bearings. You would have liked a whistle there but I guess not… It doesn’t feel good getting hit. It’s a 90 mile-an-hour slapshot inside the face.”

- Bishop on the goals he gave up: “First one was just a knuckle ball. Second one, unfortunate bounce, those happen throughout the year. Then they get a five-on-three and capitalize. I would have liked a whistle… Said it might have been a high stick, too. And then we kind of turned it on there in the second and it was just one of those nights. They’re not always going to be good nights and tonight wasn’t good.”

- Forward Martin St. Louis on the reason for the loss: “I think it’s a combination of maybe they’re not pressing as much when you’re up three or four goals, you tend to sit back a little bit… It’s a big difference playing a tie game, or up a goal or down four, so when you’re down four it’s a lot easier to play than when you’re up a goal or tied. I think it was probably a combination of that.”

- St. Louis with more on the game in Phoenix: “I guess we’re not going to go perfect for 82. We’re going to have stinkers and [this] was one of them, but we have to address it and turn the page and really focus on the next one. Every team goes through it; they’re going to have bad games. Tonight was one of our bad games.”

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