TAMPA — Even the best teams can expect a down game, but the Lightning giving one of their flattest efforts in recent memory in Tuesday’s season opener was unusual for this group.
Tampa Bay recently has been a team ready for the biggest moments, and though its 6-2 loss to Pittsburgh was just one of 82 regular-season games, with the raising of the Stanley Cup championship banner and a capacity crowd at Amalie Arena, the stage was set for it to play its best.
Now the Lightning hope their first impression this season won’t be a lasting one.
“It’s definitely something you take notice to try to fix, because there’s been a lot of different parts of our game that as a group — players, coaches, everyone — we weren’t happy with,” assistant coach Jeff Halpern said Wednesday. “As far as our process and how we go about our business, hopefully we learn from that, and there’s a message to it as well, and you clean some things up and move forward.”
After being outworked against the Penguins, the Lightning returned to Amalie Arena 12 hours later for a quick-paced practice before flying to Detroit for tonight’s road opener. They focused on raising their compete level, chasing pucks, winning 50-50 battles and covering all 200 feet of the ice as a unit, things they lacked Tuesday.
Lightning assistant coach Derek Lalonde, back left, head coach Jon Cooper, back center, and…