Stamkos tears into Lightning after poor start to season
Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is calling for some major improvements from his squad just three games into the 2019-20 campaign.
The Bolts, who are Stanley Cup favorites again this season, fell to 1-1-1 on Sunday after a humiliating overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in which Tampa failed to record a single shot on goal in the second period. It was the Lightning's second defeat in as many nights, and Stamkos has seen enough.
"We just continue to be the freewheeling team that thinks we can just come into games and win because we're skilled," Stamkos told Diana C. Nearhos of the Tampa Bay Times. "We keep falling back into the same old 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."
Stamkos' comments refer to last year's playoffs, where the Lightning were swept by the Blue Jackets in the first round. Columbus ultimately derailed Tampa's Presidents' Trophy-winning campaign with a physically dominant showing.
The sweep was the most disappointing defeat in a long list of recent playoff shortcomings for the franchise, and the Lightning are under significant pressure this season to finally get over the playoff hump after returning virtually the same roster from a year ago.
"Everyone is sick of talking about it and not doing it," Stamkos said. "Let's go do it."
Stamkos has scored two goals in three games while averaging over 20 minutes per night to start the season.