The Tampa Bay Lightning dropped a tightly contested game 4-2 to the Minnesota Wild. Both teams played well defensively, especially in front of their own net. However, it was the Wild that were just a bit better. They had a few more scoring chances and cashed in one more time than the Lightning did. Also, with all the Lightning injuries, Minnesota was just the deeper team. Despite a good effort by the Bolts it was just not enough to get a win.
Tightly Played First.
The first period was very evenly played. The pace was quick but controlled. Neither team gave up a whole lot and seemed to trade possessions. After the Wild would spend a shift in the Lightning’s zone, Tampa Bay would answer with a shift in Minnesota’s end. However it was the Wild who would capitalize first. Nick Bjugstad would send a perfectly placed shot over the shoulder of Andrei Vasilevskiy to give the Wild a 1-0 lead. Just 48 seconds later though, the Lightning would answer right back. Corey Perry would fire one over the glove of Cam Talbot to tie the game at one.
The big difference in this tightly played period was Minnesota’s second goal. A weird karem off the end wall, the puck bounced over Jan Rutta’s stick and came right to Victor Rask who put it home. Although it wasn’t the difference in the game, it forced the Lightning to chase the game, which in their current configuration, is not ideal.
Penalty filled Second
Like the first, the second period was even when it came to 5-on-5 play. In, reality the Lightning had a slight edge when it came to even strength play. However, it would be disrupted by three consecutive penalties by Zach Bogosain. The third, a delay of game for intentionally pushing off the net, was questionable. Despite this, the Lightning’s PK unit did a great job at keeping Minnesota off the board. Although they did give up some good looks, they were able to bend but not break. This would allow Alex Killorn to tie the game on a seeing eye shot later in the period. It would be the only goal in the period.
Coming up Just Short
Like the first two periods, both teams would have chances to break the tie. The Lightning carried over a 1:38 of powerplay into the third. Not only were they not able to convert, they didn’t get a whole lot of good looks either. Both teams played extremely well in front of their own nets, not allowing the other to get inside for second chance opportunities.
However, it would be Ryan Hartman who would break the tie. Karill Kaprisov would walk free from the corner to find Hartman at the far circle. Hartman would spin around and send one bar-down to give the Wild the lead. The Lightning had their chances to tie the game. Tampa Bay had a few looks on a third powerplay, including a wide open net for Alex Killorn where the puck just hopped over his stick. They also got some opportunities with the extra-attacker but were unable to find the back of the net. Marcus Foligno would put in the empty-net goal to give the Wild a 4-2 victory in a tightly played game.
Up next the Lightning will play a home-and-home series with the St. Louis Blues. The two game set will start in St. Louis on Tuesday before coming to Tampa on Thursday. After that, the Bolts will start the month of December with an 8-day northeastern road trip. They will play Boston, Philadelphia, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa before coming home on the 14th. The Lightning’s play on the road will be tested as they play 9-of-15 game in December on the road.
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