Lightning Comeback Falls Short In 4-3 OT Loss

The Lightning played their best game in weeks Thursday night against Vegas, but a couple of bad shifts cost the Bolts a win in a 4-3 OT loss to Vegas.

The team skated well and defended well for the most part. It was just a mental lapse or two that ended up costing the Lightning two points instead of one.

It started quickly for Vegas as Hayden Fluery dove to try and break up a pass, but Teddy Blueger dragged the puck around Fleury, creating an odd-man rush. Keegan Koelar took a pass from Blueger and put the puck past Vasileviskiy, and the Golden Knights took a 1-0 lead.

Braydon Point would tie it up four minutes later on his 40th goal of the season.

It stayed 1-1 until the third when the Lightning special teams proved to be not so special.

They allowed a William Karlsson a short-handed goal two and a half minutes into the third period and three minutes later allowed a Chandler Stephenson power play goal to put Vegas up 3-1.

Third Period Melee Ignites The Lightning

Then at 12:16 of the third period, all hell broke loose, as suddenly we returned to the 80’s style of hockey. Everybody on the ice was fighting someone as Jerry Springer looked on from his suite and smiled his approval.

When the dust had settled, eleven penalties were issued, ten game misconducts and over 160 penalty minutes were assessed.

All this did was fire up the Bolts trailing 3-1 at the time.

Nikita Kucherov scored his 26th of the season with the extra attacker as the Lightning cut the lead to 3-2.

Braydon Point scored his 41st of the season to tie the game 3-3- with 27 seconds to go and send the game to overtime.

The Lightning controlled play in the first half of the OT period before Alec Martinez put the game-winner by Vasileviskiy at 3:09 of OT to give Vegas the win.

Andrei Vasilevskiy Looks Average

Andrei Vasileviskiy does not look the Vasileviskiy we have seen in the past. He is letting in a lot of shots that he would have stopped earlier this season. This has to be a concern for the Lightning with the postseason approaching.

The Lightning allowed Vegas just 18 shots on goal; nine were five-on-five chances, and the other nine came on the Vegas power play.

The Lightning defense did its part to slow down the Golden Knights offense, but goaltending is the difference on some nights. And newly acquired Jonathan Quick was the better goalie last night, making more big-time saves than Vasileviskiy.

Lightning Special Teams Play Struggling

Again, the special teams’ play was awful for the Lightning, as they could only convert just one of five power play chances.

The short-handed Karlsson goal was the 11th that the Lightning has allowed this season tying them with Vancouver and Detroit for the most in the NHL.

Although the Lightning only picked up a point in the loss, Jon Cooper liked what he saw from his team.

“We were skating, defending. We were doing everything. We had the puck a lot of the night. It’s hard for them to create offense when you’ve got the puck.

“When we were in our own zone, we were quick on it. We were winning our battles. That’s a big thing for us. When we were going through our streak, we weren’t winning any battles. We were winning them tonight.”

Except for the result, Mikhail Sergchev was happy with the way the Lightning played.

“Guys played really well for two and a half periods, maybe actually the full game. Just a couple shifts that kind of cost us, but yeah, I see a lot of improvement on our team.”

The Lightning will be back in action with two games this weekend—Saturday night against Chicago and Sunday night against Winnipeg. The puck drop is at 7 PM on both nights at Amalie Arena.

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