The Tampa Bay Lightning didn’t show up until the third period on Saturday night against the Vegas Golden Knights, and it cost them a point in a 3-2 overtime loss.
Generating just nine shots through the first two periods, the Lightning trailed Vegas 2-0 before rallying to tie the game 2-2 before losing in a shootout.
The Golden Knights smothered the Lightning, giving little space to move and limiting the chances on goaltender Robin Lehner.
In the third period, the Lightning dominated play outshooting Vegas 17-1 to tie the game 2-2 on goals by Ross Colton and Corey Perry.
Ross Colton, after the game, said the Lightning were focused on the cute pass instead of attacking the net, which led to generating just nine shots in the first two periods. “I think we were passing up shots a lot throughout the first two periods. We had some chances in the slot where we were trying to make the cute pass or do one too many things. In the third period, I thought we had a shot-first mentality. We were peppering them. We can’t wait until the third period when we’re down by two goals to start doing that. We’ve got to do that right from the hop.”
Against a good team like Vegas, It’s hard to get behind early and expect to get the win. We have rarely seen the Lightning come and generate so few shots in the first periods. You cannot afford to play two periods like that against a good team like Vegas expect to win.
Pat Maroon thought they came out slow, which led to the slow start. “We were playing slow hockey. The forwards weren’t coming back, supporting the defense in the neutral zone. And when we do that, we start holding on to the puck in the neutral zone. Guys are stretching; guys aren’t coming back and supporting, playing fast. I thought we shot ourselves in the foot by doing that.”
This season, the Lightning finish 1-0-1 against the Golden Knights, taking three out of a possible four points.
The Lightning will play the San Jose Sharks in the final game before the All-Star break on Tuesday.
The Lightning are currently 29-10-6, three points behind Florida in the Atlantic Division.
After the All-Star break, the NHL had scheduled the Olympic break, but due to so many games being postponed due to COVID outbreaks, the league will use that time to make up the postponed games.
Tampa will have just three games after the All-Star break until February 23rd. The Lightning will make up postponed games against New Jersey, Arizona, and Colorado.